I slip my flip flops off, discarding them at the concrete pad at the edge of the beach and then step into the cool evening sand. The waves crash melodically at the shoreline. I’m covered in citronella oil in anticipation of the sand flies and mosquitoes that typically encroach at dusk, but the breeze is softly blowing, keeping the bugs at bay. One by one participants arrive for our full moon ceremony as the sun makes its way over the horizon to the west. We busy ourselves with finding pieces of wood for our ceremony fire, and smaller sticks to set our intentions.
Our shamanic practitioner, Theo, arrives. He has been hosting full moon ceremonies on this beach for the past 6 years. He slips his shoes off and walks barefoot, wearing jeans and a polo shirt. He hugs his shaman’s satchel wrapped in a Peruvian mestana ceremonial cloth, under his arm.
The full moon ceremony is a time for renewal, setting intentions, manifestations and letting go. I never know who might arrive to take part. I often see people I wouldn’t have expected to show up, and we embrace with a knowing look between us. You too? We meet new people in our community and reconnect with old friends.
Theo digs a deep hole in the sand and expertly lights the fire with small pieces of wood, and then throws larger pieces on top to maintain the flame. Once he is confident in the integrity of his fire, he opens ceremony space in the shamanic tradition, by calling in the four winds, the earth and the sky.
First, we face south, calling in the Great Serpent, asking us to help us shed our past like it sheds its skin. Then we face west towards Mother Jaguar. We ask her to teach us the way of peace, and the way beyond death. Facing north we call in the Hummingbird and the ancient ones, honoring those who have come before us, and who will come after us. We turn to face east, towards the full moon as it rises over a crescent of land and begins to glisten on the ocean. Here we call in the Great Eagle, asking it to show us the mountains we only dare to dream of. Squatting down to touch the sand, we call in Mother Earth. We give our respects to the Stone People and the Plant People, to the two and four legged creatures, and to those that swim and fly. Finally, we reach our arms to the sky and call in Father Son, Grandmother Moon, and the Star Nations. We call in the Great Spirit, giving thanks for allowing us to sing the Song of Life.
When sacred space is open, we are invited to take two sticks, one in each hand. In one stick, we place everything that we want to let go of by blowing softly into it. It can be one intention, or many. In the other stick, we place whatever it is that we want to manifest. Then each stick is placed into the fire. The flames consume the sticks and the intentions they carry, sending them off into the universe to be born among the stars. Some people have written their intentions on paper and place the paper in the burning fire. We gather the energy of the fire in our hands and symbolically bring it to our sacral chakra, our heart chakra and into our third eye center, washing it up over our heads. Once we complete our intentions, we sit quietly in meditative contemplation. Oftentimes passerby’s stop and questioningly observe our ceremony. They are invited to join in. They hesitate, and then, encouraged by smiling faces, give their own intentions to the fire.
A few months ago, I set an intention of letting go of resistance. I had become conscious of how much resistance I hold towards certain aspects of my life. I find myself often fighting against the stream, instead of going with the flow. In my first stick I blew my intention of letting go of that resistance. In the other stick I placed abundance. Throughout that next month, I consciously brought my awareness to the resistance I was holding towards manifesting abundance. When I acknowledged it, it seemed to open a channel, and before I knew it, I started to notice a shift towards bringing positive abundance into my life in the form of new and rewarding work opportunities and new healthy relationships. In that following month, I observed mindfully as my full moon intention seeped its way into my reality.
By the time we finish with our intentions, darkness has settled in. We close ceremony space, and hug everyone. The fire is covered in sand and we go off on our separate ways with a sense of renewed energy as the full moon guides us into the month ahead.
Throughout history, indigenous people of the world have revered the full moon, and it means many things for many traditions and cultures. The full moon represents femininity, creativity, wisdom, intuition and cycles of life and death. It represents our fears and worries, and our dreams. It also represents our feelings, and our ability to express ourselves creativity.
The full moon is grounding and receptive Yin energy, opposed to the sun which is fiery Yang energy. The full moon represents a balance between the Yin and Yang when the sun and the moon are opposite each other. The full moon can be a challenging time for people, but for others, it can bring a sense of equilibrium and stability.
Light a candle or make your own burn bowl – If you don’t have a full moon fire ceremony to attend, you can create your own at home. Light a candle and meditate on your intentions as you gaze into the flame. If you have a large bowl in a safe space (be cautious of fire hazards with open flame!) you can burn your written intention on a piece of paper, or simply put your intentions into a match, light it and drop it into the bowl, letting it burn.
Moon Bathe – Bask in the light of the full moon. This could be sitting outdoors on a blanket, or from a window inside your home. Turn off all surrounding lights to minimize distractions and meditate. Breathe in and out the beauty of the present moment. Just be.
Yin Yoga – The full moon is grounding and filled with feminine Yin energy, so as the full moon draws near, take some time to come into balance and connect with the moon’s energy with a Yin Yoga practice. Yin is one of the more accessible forms of yoga, where you hold supported poses on your mat for 3-5 minutes. Choose a grounding “moon sequence” filled with hip and heart openers.