Connect With Nature
When we come to an understanding about how the changes in our lives occur in cycles, like those in nature, it helps to weather life's storms. Resisting them is as effective as resisting the weather and seasonal changes! This is not to say we are helpless and blown aimlessly around by the winds of change, but we do have a choice as to how we respond.
One way to help deepen this understanding and nourish ourselves during challenging times is to reconnect with nature.
Our modern lives are moving at a rapidly accelerating pace which exacerbates stress levels and makes it difficult for us to tune in to natural rhythms. Furthermore, technology, despite it's amazing gifts has also distanced us in many ways from nature and our natural cycles.
The following ritual it's a way to help you and/or your family reconnect with the Earth, pay closer attention to cycles and to help you navigate your current life transition with natural grace.
Part One - New Moon to Full Moon
1. Begin on a new moon (traditionally a powerful time for starting something new) by sitting down with your family addressing whatever transition you are currently going through. Talk about the cycles of nature and how the earth is always changing, but always supporting us. Propose that you would like to take this next period of time (choose whether you want to do two weeks four weeks or six weeks, or you can play it by ear.) to consciously connect with the Earth in a playful and creative way. Explain how you can use this experience to help let go of that which is ready to be released and set some intentions for your new life. Let everyone know there will be fun celebrations included!
2. Find or create a special bag for each family member (could be as simple as a brown paper bag decorated with nature pictures). Talk about your intention to go out into nature every single day (even if only for five minutes on some days) to connect in a deeper way to the Earth and why this is a good idea. Be sure to include a list of the gifts from the Earth for which you are grateful.
3. Designate special places (bedside tables are good) that will serve as altars for the nature treasures to live for the duration.
4. Every day until the full moon, add items (at least one - preferably several and bonus points if you find ones that represent each of the five senses*) into the bag. If pressed for time, just pick up something from your yard or wherever you happen to be.
5. On the day at the Full Moon (even better if at night, under the moon!), have everyone select three favorite items to leave on the altar and bring the bags with the rest of the treasures to a special place (perhaps a favorite tree). Arrange your objects in a creative way (eg. spiral/ fairy house/ sculpture/words, etc.), and offer your gift of beauty to the Earth.
6. If this is the ending point of your ritual, you might want to have a little full moon party with special treats. Invite friends, tell stories, sing songs and/or dance. Talk about what your experience of the past two weeks and any insights you might have had. The Full Moon is thought of as a powerful time where insights regarding New Moon intentions can be revealed. Be open to that possibility unfolding gradually, even if no major answers appear at that moment.
7. At bed time, have everyone take their favorite item of the three that are left, and put it under their pillow or near their bed. (Optional - ask for a nature dream and/or offer a prayer of gratitude to the Earth.) Save this object as a reminder of the ritual at least until the New Moon.
8. If you are not going on to part 2 or have already done it, follow step one of Part 2 just for that day and bring the third object to give to someone in your extended family or community with the story behind it.
Part Two - Full moon to Dark and New Moon
1. Every day for the next two weeks, take one of the three items that were saved and bring it out into nature. Find one new item and leave the old one in its place as an exchange of gifts.
2. On the day -or preferably night! - of the dark moon (day before new moon), take one of the three items and bring it outside to bury it (under snow or leaves is fine if the ground is hard). Before you bury it, think of something you want to let go of (eg clinging to some aspect of your past, or a fear about the future) and bury it too. Think of the new intention you want to seed on tomorrow’s New Moon.
3. If this is the ending point of your ritual, you might want to have a little dark moon party. Lurking in the dark with flashlights is always popular - especially if safe to do outside! Don't turn on the lights at home all night, have a candlelight dinner with favorite foods. Tell stories involving shadows (eg. Peter Pan). Go outside and look at the stars and BREATHE in the night air if possible. ***
Part Three - Second New Moon to Second Full Moon
Repeat Part One.
* Caution younger children to never put anything in their mouths without checking with caregiver first and beware of potential pesticides. If there is nothing safely edible available, take a squash outside and remove seeds (be sure to squish gooey stuff! ) or cut open an apple in the middle, note the star pattern in the middle and save those seeds.
** if in a wild place (especially if in the dark),BE SAFE! Beware of poison plants, snakes, predators and lost kids. Be prepared with cell phone, map, water, snacks, layers, first aid kit, sun screen or flashlight. Tell someone where you are going.
***(optional: Welcome the Four Directions).
1. Face East and welcome the air, wind, rising sun, spring and new beginnings.
2. Face South and welcome summer, fire and love.
3. Face West and welcome the setting sun, autumn, water and the harvest.
4. Face North and welcome the Earth, winter, stillness and gratitude for Earth’s gifts.