We took our meditation cushions and created a semi-circle, with our two facilitators sitting right in front of us. Once we settled, they brought out a candle, lit it, and burned the end of a sage smudge stick. There was a whiff of an earthy and herbal smell, quickly engulfing our small room, and embracing us with a comforting presence. The incense was passed along and we were asked to cleanse– which meant letting the smoke surround us as we let the bad energies go. I awkwardly waved it around, trying to imitate how the others did it. I didn’t know what I was doing, but I suppose there’s no harm in trying.
After our short cleansing ritual, they handed us a piece of paper and a pen. “Today, we set our intentions,” they said. It was the new moon, and it is believed that it’s a good time to lay down goals and manifest what you want from the universe. In astrology, the moon rules emotions and is commonly associated with magic. Many believe that you can harness the moon’s energy by following its rhythm, each phase serving as a guide as you go through the days.
Under our room’s dim light, I wrote down a few things. I was desperate for healing, so I put it on my list. I also placed a stable gig and better freelancing opportunities. I couldn’t remember the others, but I know that that piece of paper is tucked at home, in my light blue journal, sitting there with most things already ticked. We didn’t share anything to one another– we quietly sat there, manifesting our lives, and hoping that things get better.
It’s been almost 3 years since, and that ritual stuck with me. I no longer do it as often as I wanted to, mostly because I let my excuses get in the way. This 2020, though, I promised myself that I will go back to my little ritual– cleansing, meditating, and journaling as the phases of the moon go by– in hopes of creating a semblance of a routine to keep my sanity in check.
Despite my conservative upbringing (that’s for another story), I felt drawn to believe in a lot of woowoo stuff. I’m fascinated by tarot, reiki, and phases of the moon. I felt like I could better express my spirituality and explore the depths of my individuality through these tools. While I don’t identify with any religion, I felt like my connection to the universe has never been stronger. I feel Him/Her (maybe it’s her, we’ll never know) through stillness, through pockets of silence after a chaotic day, through little acts of kindness expressed by others, through the ephemeral sunsets and gorgeous skylines. I still pray sometimes, but lately, it’s been all about finding that presence and being thankful, rather than reciting a list of favors and requests.
My practice is not for everyone, and to be honest, I don’t even know what I’m doing. Following phases of the moon to manifest and experimenting with unconventional practices may be working for me lately, but remember that each one of us strengthens our spirituality in different ways. Some may find it by going to church every Sunday, others would find joy by doing missionary work, while for some it’s through prayers muttered under their breath as they make their way to work. We all express ourselves differently, and it’s all about having that personal connection to what we believe in.
I don’t think of myself as a part of the woo-woo clan (as someone on the internet put it!) but I believe that these little rituals and symbols became significant because it mirrors the things that are important to us. The true meaning of anything is what you make of it and you can only make something valuable if you put weight on it. As for me, this is what works for now. I hope you would find something for you, too.