Just let it go. How many times has that old chesnut been flung in our direction with a well meaning lob? By the time our stomach sinks we know it is truth and our mind madly scrambles to find a way around it. There is none. If something in your life is toxic and you know it deep down in your marrow, it is time to let it go. And the dark moon is the perfect time to do it, adding Lady Luna’s gentle breath out to your own deep sigh of recognition.
When we let go we are releasing that which no longer serves us, in order to make space for something new. This is fundamental. Letting go is not all doom and gloom, nor is it just loss and tears. There is simply no room in our lives for the new and wonderful if we continue to hang on to the old and putrid. We are creating room for new and better possibilities and potential, honouring ourselves and what is best for us in the process. This is a practice that will be rewarded time and again.
This work can take place within us on the physical, emotional or mental levels and often all these planes together, as we seek to shed that which is poison to our being. And don’t we love our poisons, our necessary evils, our sweet naughty treats. They are an addiction all of their own, each luring us in with the promise held in our memory of the first time. It is when the balance gets tipped beyond moderation and starts to drain or destroy us that the choice is no longer tenable. It is time to let it go.
There is little better than the transformation that comes with release, relinquishing what we must farewell from our lives like Autumn leaves. This ritual helps you to cut the cords that flail like broken cables, draining power and currency from the new path you wish to tread.
The dark of the moon is the perfect time to drop unwanted dross from your life. If you are looking to start a detox or cease a bad habit, the waning phase of the moon is perfectly suited to this task. This is the two week period after the full moon and as she shrinks from her roundness to the tiniest sliver so too your habit can shrink from your life.
As with all ritual, preparation and intention is key. Overplanning may kill magic but effective ritual practice works best when you align with the energies of the world you inhabit and ensure you have all the ingredients you need to hand.
Although where I live we are in the deep of Winter with the solstice just around the corner, there are still many trees that have transitioning leaves. My favourite are liquid amber leaves because they are big and can take a lot of letting go detail. (For those lovely Bohemians that find themselves in the heady heights of Summer where there is nary a fallen leaf to be found, this ritual works just as well with parched paper or tissue paper.)
Take yourself to the nearest grove of trees whose leaves are changing still from green to yellow to red and then gently falling to the ground, without so much as a whimper. It is their effortless letting go that we are seeking to emulate, a release that is from one moment to the next without fanfare or drama.
Collect a hatful of these leaves and take them home, sitting them somewhere prominent until the dark moon arrives (and yes, we are well and truly in it right now)
Spend some quiet time in consideration of the habits, behaviours, people or circumstances that you no longer wish to fill your life. Journalling through this process is very helpful to clarify and focus your intention.
As you become sure of that which simply has to go, write a word or a name on an Autumn leaf in black ink. Handy tip for young players: you will need a texta not a pen as the leaves will continue to dry and get crackly. Place the enscribed leaf on your altar. Autumn leaves are unlimited so you can use as many as you need.
The ritual itself is best performed in the balsamic or darkest phase of the moon. At the dark moon take your leaves labelled with what you are about to relinquish from your good self.
Read each aloud and visualise how your life looks without it. This part is important. You need to feel it and see it and know it as it shall be. Prepare for tears and twists in your stomach or a lurching heart. Teach yourself gently once more why you have elected to expel this from your life.
Then simply crumble the leaf up in your hands and blow the dust out of your life. And so it is done. It really is that simple: this is practical magic.
Transformation by fire is also incredibly satisfying and effective. In fact sitting by my hearth with a bowl full of leaves is a regular practice. If you can burn the leaves safely, you can watch the flames creep across the surface of the leaf and literally devour your old habit. This ritual can be performed solo or with trusted friends who can bear witness to your determination to change and support you in the days and weeks that follow.
For those dark moons that fall through the warmer months where transformation by fire is not advised or possible, taking yourself to the ocean or a flowing river. Place your scribed paper on the surface of the water and watch it sink or float away, taken away from your life by the currents.
And so it is gone.
Commit to yourself now. Let nothing weigh you down and halt your progress or growth. Use the new moon that follows the dark to fill the space you have voided with a new sweet dream for your life. Your time to phoenix is here. Spread your wings and fly.