The world is such an amazing place.
I’m sitting in my room in Rishikesh, India looking out the window at the Ganges river, and writing to you on my little iPad.
On this day before the new moon I’m thinking about new beginnings, darkness, and devotion.
Most of us are familiar with the power of the full moon: We’ve felt the tug of the bright moon pulling us from our sleep, or heard stories of how emergency rooms are extra busy on full moon nights. There is more energy available when the moon is full, and just like the tides are pulled by the moon, our body responds to the moon with an extra jolt of creativity and craziness, for good or for worse. When we mindfully use this energy the full moon is about manifestation, fullness, and expansion.
The power of the new moon is more hidden, but no less important. During the full moon the sun and moon are opposite each other in the sky; during the new moon the sun and moon and conjunct, or together in the sky. Every 28 1/2 days at this time there is no moon visible in the sky for three days. Then we can see a tiny cresent of the moon rising in the east around sunrise or setting in the west around sunset.
The new moon is a time to plant new idea, seeds, and visions. The time between the new moon and the full moon is a time of growing energy, so if you set your intent for something you want to manifest or change in your life you’ll be supported as the moon waxes.
So what new beginning do you want to seed today?
Do you have something you’ve wanted to change in your life, or something you have wanted to start? Do you have a secret wish you are ready to share with the Universe? Are you finally ready to let an old habit go?
Name your desires out loud. During this potent time of planting seeds, get clear about what you want. Ask the Universe, God, Goddess, Creator for guidance and support. Share your dearest wishes from your heart, straight to the heart of the Divine. Share an offering in gratitude: pour a little water on the earth, put flowers under a tree, or put a few forkfuls of your meal on a plate and leave it out for the spirits. Any tiny gift will do. Prayer and asking for your wishes is best embraced by immense gratitude and honoring all that you already have.
During my time in India we are visiting many sites and temples. If you would like me to say an extra prayer for you in this sacred place go to my Facebook author page and look for the post with a picture of the Ganges river… and write your prayers and requests there. I’ll speak your name and ask for blessings for you and your loved ones… And this is an extra special time in India as well! It is Shivaratri, one of the biggest festivals in India celebrating Shiva, a manifestation of the Divine. And there are three other holidays at this time: our familiar Valentines Day (this year be your own valentine, sweetheart…time for more self-love!) and Ash Wednesday, which begins Lent. And Friday is Chinese New Year; this year we are moving from Rooster to the Year of the Dog, which seems like a good thing to me. Let’s bring more puppy playful loyal dog energy to our days, and less ego and posturing.
Once you ask for what you want, it is important to sit in stillness and embrace darkness.
Darkness is your friend.
When we plant a seed it goes into the darkness of the earth. In our light-centered society we often try to avoid the darkness. But the dark is where the magic happens. In the still void of creation, in the womb of the Mother Earth, all life is birthed. Give yourself a gift: during this dark moon time spend more time in the silence of darkness. In my apartment in New York I have dark out curtains and I used electrical tape to cover every light source so I can sleep in pure darkness. I also turn off my computer and phone at night (I have a “Zen and Now” clock for an alarm). Darkness helps us to integrate and reset, to start again.
Turn your lights off at night and notice where there are still little pinpoints of brightness: the clock on your stove. The light on your heater or air conditioner. That glowing green or blue or red electronic button. Either unplug or use electrical or duct tape to cover any lightn. Your body will rest more deeply if there is no visible light source. And you will be able to get to sleep much more quickly if you do not turn on a light when you go to the bathroom. Learn to trust yourself in the dark, and know that darkness is one of your best friends in soothing, healing, and integrating the brightness of our days.
I love meditating in the early morning darkness, or when I wake up in the middle of the night. This is actually our natural rhythm: to sleep for a bit, wake up in what is called the God Time to read or meditate or pray, and then to sleep again. My friend Clark Strand goes for a walk in the dark in the wee hours of the morning. You can read more about the wisdom of the dark in his book, Waking up to the Dark: Ancient Wisdom for a Sleepless Age, which is one of my top ten favorite books.
Place your devotion carefully.
Each new moon is a beautiful time to learn to embrace the darkness, and also to get clear about where you are putting your devotion. Have you misplaced your devotion to confusion or worst case scenarios? Or have you given your devotion to a relationship or job or way of being that is no longer serving you?
Your devotion is sacred. It is your heart offering, your soul’s praise of what nourishes it. This new moon may you devote yourself to honoring one of the four elements: air, fire, water, or earth, and how that element sustains you.
The devotion here is India is so inspirational, and for me a homecoming. In the United States it is easy to get hooked to being devoted to shopping, television, and Facebook. Our society is geared around worshipping consumerism and status. But these things leave us unfulfilled, and often feeling like something is wrong with us for feeling empty or that we never have enough. Take a lesson from this ancient culture and turn your devotion to the trees or rivers or sacred places around you. You’ll find when your devotion is to the things that sustain you (what you eat, the sun, the water, the air…) you will feel abundant and grateful. You will remember that you are part of something vast that is working in your favor. You will remember that you are loved by the skies and the earth and the sun, and that you, like every other living creature, has a place in this world.