I’ve always believed in the mystical. As a child, I searched for fairies and woodland creatures, along with the help of my trusty sidekick Tex, an older (and wiser) yellow lab faithfully at my side; and swam with mermaids in the lake, the pool and, of course, even in the bathtub. As a young adult, I began to believe in auras, the idea of a powerful universe and the great mystical energy that connects all things.
More recently I have learned of some Pagan Moon Rituals that harness the power and the energy of the moon to manifest or release what is no longer serving our greater good. The moon has an impressive energy that influences the tides; and, being mostly made of water ourselves, the moon can also have a dynamic impact on us. The full moon is powerful, and in Pagan traditions, is a time for purging and cleansing of those beliefs, fears, patterns or habits that no longer serve us or our greater good. The full moon “shines light” on issues, challenges and all that which is interfering with our advancement. Creating a Full Moon Ritual is a potent way to invoke this energy. In all of my readings, the Full Moon Ritual or Ceremony involves 2 things: fire and water. Fire to consume and burn away that we no longer need to hold onto and water to cleanse and wash the old away (also to perhaps put out the fire — shout out to my Friendly Fire Inspector!) The Ritual motivates us to write a list of all that is no longer serving us. Once the list is written, it is time for the dramatic part, burning that piece of paper and watching what we want to let go of, literally go up in flames (and smoke). The water is then used to wash your hands and wash away the paper to signify a cleansing of the old. This ritual is used as a way to formalize your desire to move on and let it go. It signals to the Universe that you are committed to letting go of the old and making room for something new, and wonderful, to come your way.
The current “self-help” literature is rife with books on how to be our best self and realize our true potential. Other books show us how to let go of old patterns and ways of being or thinking to be our true, authentic and fully self-realized selves. Books like “You Are a Badass” (Jen Sincero), “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck” (Mark Manson) or my personal favorite, “The Life Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck” (Sarah Knight), tell us we need to let go of those things, people, relationships, feelings, cares, grudges, that are no longer serving us or taking up too much of our time, energy and money so that we can focus on what brings us joy. Sarah Knight talks of having only so many f*cks to give in our f*ck bank and we need to budget them and really only give a f*ck to the things (people, relationships, hobbies, events) that bring us joy. It seems so easy when reading these books. They get us inspired, eager for change, motivated to be our best version of ourselves. But how? How do you let it go?
Holding on to “stuff”, such as negative feelings, people, relationships, grudges, etc. cause us stress and anxiety, which can accumulate and create negative health impacts on our daily lives and our long-term health. According to the Mayo Clinic website (http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/in-depth/forgiveness/art-20047692?pg=2), letting go decreases stress, anxiety and depression; lowers blood pressure; improves your immune system; and strengthens your psychological well-being, self-esteem and spiritual beliefs.
But why is it so hard to let go? And how do you do it? We are creatures of habit and we fear change, letting go is change. We also are creatures of attachment, we crave attachment to people and things and the past. And how do we do it? Well in the words of Yoda, there is no how, you just do. In an article in Psychology Today, holding onto the past acts as an anchor and stops us from moving forward. We stop being present in the here and now.
The Full Moon ritual is about setting an intention to let go, writing the list (specifically what you are letting go of) and burning that list, which is both symbolic and cathartic. Some say that the faster the paper burns the more ready you are (or aren’t) to let go of what was written on the page.
Last night I wrote my list. I realized, as I was writing, that I have been holding on to a lot of fear. Fear of being hurt, fear of feeling lonely, fear of not being my true, authentic self. And I was holding on to some hurt and anger (see Ghosted for some background). These emotions no longer serve me and are only working to keep me treading water, not moving toward a better version of myself. They are not aiding me as I stumble towards serenity, so I let it go. As I lit my list, it burned slowly at first and then took off, engulfing the paper with flame in a flash! I was ready to let it go. Are you?