On this late summer evening, the full moon is in the air sign of Aquarius, opposite the sun in the fire sign of Leo, offering the elemental interplay of fire and air. These elements are ideal for rituals of purification: fire flames up and out, burning to ashes what obstructs. Air refreshes, blowing away what is old and stagnant.
Purification rituals are especially potent during the waning weeks, which begin with the Full Moon. Now is the time to banish bad habits. The sun is culminating in Leo, suggesting you might especially want to banish any worn-out deluded notions of yourself–those mental attitudes that prevent you from living out of the authentic core of your magnificent being. Think of your magnificence as a flame, passionate, mysterious, forever changing its shape, as it dances and plays with the surrounding world. The moon at the 29th or culminating degree of Aquarius draws us into the collective field we share with the rest of humanity. What needs to be banished here? What most troubles this field? What stops the flow of love and kindness among humans?
Here are the steps to this special Aquarius full moon ritual.
1. Gather tools and create sacred space.
Sometime before sundown, gather a small candle, a large plate to put underneath it, several small pieces of paper, and a pen. Bring them to a quiet place where you can protect yourself from distractions and interruptions (or a wind that might whip or extinguish your candle). Ideal would be a spot that allows you a good view of the eastern horizon, where the moon will rise after the sun sets.
As this is a ritual celebrating the elements of fire and air, you may wish to bring some sage or a stick of incense to place on your altar. Reciting a prayer or sacred phrase from your particular tradition will help to calm your spirit and increase the divine energy. Watching the breath – inhaling in, exhaling out – will further deepen your sacred space.
2. Raise the energy.
In this gently focused state, wait for the first sign of the moon (you can check the web for moonrise in your area). When you spot her brilliant light at the horizon, attune your heart to her presence, and light your candle. Then tune into those reverent ones scattered around the world who, like you, are also lighting a candle to celebrate the full moon.
How many hundreds of thousands of candles, flickering on hundreds of thousands of altars must the moon be seeing tonight! With this image, join in the interplay of Leo and Aquarius: feel yourself as one creative being united with the collective energy of others, in a spirit of reverence for earth, humanity, and the starry cosmos. As you light your incense or sage, inhale the sacred energy in the atmosphere, wafting on the smoky perfume.
3. Perform the heart of the ritual.
The personal stuff (invoking Leo): Now survey your life with an eye to what is obstructing your true self from flaming out in all its radical brilliance and beauty. Perhaps you are plagued with doubts about the value of your work. Maybe you are filled with unreasonable fears, or persistent feelings of anxiety. It could be that you have held onto anger over an unfair situation, or a person who has slighted you.
Typically it’s our negative thought patterns that block us from accomplishing what we most desire: we procrastinate on fulfilling what we sense is our soul’s purpose, ignore our friendships, or, swamped by the minutia of life, forget the deeper side of life. Choose one or more of the traits you want to banish, then write them down on a piece of paper. Folding it up in the palm of your right hand, place your left hand over it and say “Begone in the fire! Begone in the air!” Then burn your piece of paper in the candle flame (making sure that your holder catches the pieces of burnt ash).
The collective stuff (invoking Aquarius): Now survey the world with an eye to those problems that cause suffering in the world. Of all the difficulties that riddle the human condition, what are the ones that stir you most deeply? Unfortunately there are plenty to choose from these days!
Choose what you feel most strongly about, write it on a piece of paper, fold it up in the palm of your right hand, then place your left hand over it. Taking the energy that you have freed up from your personal “banishing” ritual, vow to consecrate it to healing this particular issue. Then burn your piece of paper in the candle flame (making sure again that your holder catches the pieces of burnt ash), saying “Begone in the fire! Begone in the air!”
4. Close the circle.
Bringing your hands together in a gesture of prayer, close your ritual with a prayer of thanks. Ask that your full moon “banishings” be in accord with the Divine Plan. Then extend your blessings to yourself, your close friends and loved ones, and the rest of the world. Extinguish your candle. And bow to the moon!