New Moon Ritual
::: New Moon Ritual :::
How long can you hold your breath for? Get ready for the deep dive into the watery realms that Cancer New Moon evokes in us. New moons are a time for new beginnings (especially this cancer new moon...more on that later.) Why? Because darkness is the fertile void from which all life sprang forth, from which light and life will emerge again. And it is also the place that all of life is fated to return to when the end comes. The void is both womb/tomb. In this way New moons not just beginnings but also endings.
Often we are encouraged to set new moon intentions, but before we move on to intention setting it can be immensely beneficial and wise to fully release, let go and let die whatever has been holding us back, not serving, weighing us down or is now dead. Let die to let live! Just like a plant that flourishes with new growth after being cut back and trimmed appropriately, we too can benefit from a discerning energetic trim/hair cut to ensure that healthy growth happens in the direction that would benefit us the most.
This Cancer new Moon is all about that PRIMORDIAL VOID. Crab is one of the oldest creatures still alive from prehistoric times, and the Cancerian Crab nature embodies the womb like waters where all life was born. The watery dark womb/tomb. So This is prime time for Intention setting.
Setting an intention is a ritual that puts us on track for our desired goals.
I want to share with you what I've learned about ritual through my own practices, trials and tribulations. We're gonna break down what ritual is and how to create one so you can understand the basics to make your own. Because, lets be honest, we all know that organized religion killed all the meaning in ritual by De-personalizing it. It's all about YOU Baby. You are your own guru, high priestess, healer, saint, super hero, legend, author.
AND I know most of you already have incredible rituals that you practice, daily, monthly, yearly, maybe even hourly and I would love to hear about them at the end of this post! We all benefit from each other's shared learning.
So let's break this down!
First of all, there is a lot of confusion around ritual vs ceremony. A ritual is different from a ceremony in that rituals are the nuts and bolts that make up a ceremony. I'm not going to go further into ceremony in this post, but I will in a later one! Back to rituals. Rituals are composed of SYMBOLIC ACTIONS that we have given specific meaning to that will help us transform, change, heal ,grow SPECIFIC ASPECTS of our lives. A ritual has an intended goal and specific actions, but the inner process of transformation when we enter ritual is never known. How it will unfold is where the healing potential of ritual plays out.
The more open to letting divine intervention, Spirit, The Great Goddess, the universal life flow enter into our ritual and guide us the better. However, that being said, it is CRUCIAL to have SAFETY in ritual as well. When we start using words like transform, heal and grow we are talking about big shifts, we are talking about soul birth. And just like human birth, A LOT can go wrong between the beginning of labor and the actual moment of delivery. RITUAL IS A BIRTH CANAL FOR THE SOUL that we must enter into with a very clear understanding of our goal and unwavering focus on the intention to safely arrive on the other end. If we don't know where we are going or why we can easily get caught up in the labor pains, all wrapped around ourselves with no oxygen supply and end up doing more harm than good. I will be writing a lot more about this in the future. But for now, this serves as a good start.
This is not to say that a ritual is supposed to be perfect. That is actually the OPPOSITE of what I am saying. What we need to know is where we need to be very clear and concrete and where we need to get out of our own way and let go/let flow.
Like building a house we know that the foundation, floors and walls must be solid so nothing falls apart, but when it comes to the interior decorating itis all about our emotional experience and there is plenty of room for creativity. If we built a house the other way around and decided to be free form when we make walls whatever height we felt like, or create a foundation that was colorful but not sturdy, we would be setting ourselves up for a disaster. The house would fall apart and collapse on us the minute the wind blows, resulting in major scrapes, cuts and broken appendages to say the least. HAVING A RITUAL COLLAPSE ON US CAN RESULT IN A SOUL INJURY. Not something we want to have happen to the part of us that is supposedly everlasting and eternal. Body's gonna disintegrate anyway, but soul...thats another story and we may just be living the resulting injuries over many more lifetimes, depending on your beliefs.
So, creating a ritual is like building a house. A RITUAL IS A TEMPORARY HOME FOR A GROWING SOUL. Like the caterpillars cocoon, it is a safe place to transform from one state of being to another. But before we even begin building, we have to first look at the site we are building on. Are we working with a clean slate? Is there an old house that needs to be bulldozed and disposed of first? Are there remnants of other people, trash or pollution that needs tending to? This is step one and one that we forget easily. I even forgot it while I was writing this post! Clear away old energies. Identify what you don't want and ask for it to leave.
Second, we want to make a blueprint for our new house--these are our goals and intentions, then we want to begin building--this is when we create specific actions to enact during the ritual that have symbolic meaning that relate back to the original blueprint/intention. Then we can go ahead and move in and decorate our house so we can experience living in it--This is the part where we enter into the ritual and let our emotions and experiences come up.
But just like a house, we have to enter and exit through the front door. Just like a birth has a beginning, middle and end, so too does a ritual. Again, this is a safety measure to make sure that whatever door we've opened we are also closing behind us when we leave. You don't just leave your front door open when you leave your house in most parts of this country.
The door is a threshold.
Thresholds delineate between one room and the next, one state of being and the next. WHEN WE ENTER RITUAL WE ARE ENTERING ANOTHER STATE OF BEING, OR CONSCIOUSNESS. We enter into a time of no space and no time. We open up so that we can fall apart and come out transformed. Not having a clear intention when we enter into ritual is like getting the address wrong and ending up walking into someone else's house. And since that house is not yours, it may or may not be built safely or have safe people in it. Conversely if we forget to leave the house at the end, we can end stuck in our transformation or growth and go crazy, drowning in our own process. And finally, if we do leave safely but leave the door open, we leave ourselves exposed to experience unwanted changes and transformations that did not come from us but from some stranger or well intentioned friend walking in the open door.
So to recap What is a Ritual?
A ritual is composed of symbolic actions that we have given specific meaning to that will help us transform, change, heal, grow specific aspect of our lives.
3 Steps To Create a ritual
1. Set an intention and goal.
2. Create specific actions that relate to our intention-creating a beginning middle and an end to maintain focus, clarity and safety for a safe passage.
3. Enter into ritual through the actions we created and let go/let flow.
5 Elements of a Safe Ritual
1. Clear the space. It helps to being a ritual by clearing away the ordinary day by smudging or some action that helps you leave the day behind.
2. Invoke your Allies/guides and ask for their guidance. We can't do it alone. Calling on guides, God(s), and Goddess(es), saints, spirit animals, plant allies, ancestors, etc. gives us that extra energy boost we need to not only believe in our own transformation but to help us hold the right intention. When we connect to archetypes we connect to energy that is often thousands of years old. Archetypes are like super charged batteries in the ether that contain energy specific to their role/persona. Whenever we invoke an archetype we are adding energy to the overall charge and we are connecting to it to gain extra energy for ourselves. Whenever we say an archetype outloud, write about it or think about it we charge it up. Imagine all the people charging up Guadalupe every day, whoa! she is electric. It helps to use a metaphor to connect with the specific quality you want to invoke from your ally. Thank your allies once you have called them in. You may seal the space before you start with phrases such as "And so it is" or "Aho" etc.
3. Beginning: Intention, intention, intention. When you are ready state your intention out loud along with the goals for your ritual holding the feeling you want to experience in your heart and body. Stay focused on this the rest of the ceremony.
4. Middle: This is where you perform the actions you created that tie you back to your intention. Always begin by stating what you would like to release and let go of first. What is no longer serving you, ask that to leave or create actions that help you feel a sense of lightness or movement of these old energies or patterns. Then move into the actions that invite in what you do want moving forward. Take time here and be patient with yourself. Allow for it to be awkward and give yourself enough time to get in the flow. Pause often. Feel your body and your senses. Let your emotions and thoughts flow.
5. End: Thank your Allies for the guidance and protection. State aloud your completed intention. Then you may use words such as "The circle is closed" or "And so it is" etc. to seal your ritual.
There it is! What I've learned about ritual and how to create a safe effective experience. ONE FINAL TIP: when you complete your ritual take time to integrate by moving your body, looking around you, noticing the time of day and all the colors around you. This helps you come back into ordinary time and space safely. Journaling any insights you had afterwards can help solidify the new you.
Have fun swimming in the watery depths of Cancer New Moon! Stay safe and dive deep.
And I'd love to hear from you about some of your favorite ritual practices!