Amavasya, known as the night of the New Moon in the western world, is almost upon us. Following two weeks after Purnima (the full moon), Amavasya, represents the masculine energy, or Shiva, while Purnima relates to the feminine energy, known as Shakti. The 'no moon' day represents the monthly call to empty out entirely, and to allow ourelves to be consumed by the void, the emptiness that reveals itself as the Moon shrouds herself in in the dark of the night. This is a time for releasing the attachments and the holdings that are not in alignment with the Truth of this life, and that arise from Avidya, from ignorance of our true nature as pure consciousness, as Shiva himself.
In Vedic lore, Shiva is known as the destroyer. Although his presence can be misunderstood as a fearsome energy, what he removes is only that which does not serve the unveiling of the Self: evil, fear, illusion and ignorance. When we can welcome in with trust and surrender, this cosmic request to relinquish the traps of the egoic mind, and settle deeply into the primordial Heart, we become one with the rhythms of the universe and knowers of That which pervades the all of the universe itself.
In this light, we at RASA believe it is so important to return into deep contact, and even communion, with the moon cycles. Which is why we are so excited to soon begin offering bi-weekly New Moon and Full Moon online, private women's gatherings. Be sure to sign up to our e-newsletter to be the first to find out when registration opens for this potentially life-changing community experience.
5 SADHANAS TO PRACTICE ON & BEFORE THE NEW MOON:
In the early evening, during the 3 days leading up to the new moon and on the new moon night itself, begin to connect to Shiva's energy of releasing and then welcoming in new creations and manifestations...
1. Take a Womanly Reprieve
Because this is a time for shedding, it is commonly know in Ayurveda & Tantra that it is most auspicious for a woman to menstruate on the new moon. If this is not currently occuring for you, begin to cultivate a regular lunar sadhana (spiritual practice), as described here and in our recent blog post on sadhanas for the full moon. Come into deeper relationship with the moon and her tides of ripening and receding, and within a few months, you will be amazed at the results you will discover in your overall health and well-being.
Your main sadhana at this time should be to rest, and in that spaciousness, allow the richness of your blood to return to the earth. Consider gathering with some of your close female friends or family members at this time, to share space and simple rituals that feel alive for you. Even if your friends are not menstruating at this time, just being in the presence of women who are will gradually realign their own cycle with the natural rhythms. You can even ask your spouse and family members to take over most of the household responsibilities for 1-3 days during this time; a beautiful request for them to recognize and honor the power of the feminine embodiment.
2. Clear Out the Old
Take the few days leading up to the new moon to clear out your home of unnecesary and cumbersome objects. Pull out the dust bin, the garbage and donation bags, and as made-popular-by-Netflix Marie Kondo would advise, get rid of anything that doesn't 'spark joy.'
Although extremely practical, decluttering can be a very powerful spiritual practice, creating a space that is pulsing with Sattvic (pure) energy and thereby enabling Sattva to permeate our bodies and minds as well. In a world full of burdensome mind-clutter, and while more and more of us spend the majority of our time at home, this is something we so desperately need as a collective. And it can start with a simple sweep of a broom.
Fasting for a specific period of time can be an incredible catalyst for releasing unnecessary holdings, such as physical and emotional toxicity, excess weight, patterned mental habits, and disease.
At this time of the year, for most people, Ayurveda would recommend not to engage in extreme fasts, such as a water, juice or dry fast. This is Vata season after all, and the cold, dry, spaciousness and lightness of this time can result in depletion and mental instability if one's diet becomes too light and cold.
We would recommend a Kitchari cleanse instead, a mono-diet of a traditional and delicious mung beans, rice and vegetable stew. You can prepare this dish in the mornings, and eat it warm for breakfast, lunch and dinner during the 3 days leading up to the new moon.
And here at RASA Ayurveda, we offer organic Kitchari Kits, fully equipping you with all the ingredients you will need to embark on your own at-home Ayurvedic cleanse and giving you the space to rest, release and restore; so that you can simply heal.
Support your cleanse even further with your own DIY, at-home cleansing regime: our CLEANSE & CLARIFY KIT.
You can simplify even further, if you are new to Ayurveda or to cleansing in general, by beginning to make a habit of drinking out of a copper vessel every day, like our hand-made, 100% Copper Water Bottles or Copper Cups, that we source directly from trusted artisans in India.
Leave water to soak in your copper vessel overnight and then drink the entirety of the water first thing in the morning, on an empty stomach. Copper has been revered for so long in India for its cleansing properties, as it is anti-microbial, anti-viral, and anti-bacterial. You may even see copper hand rails and doorknbs in some western hospitals as our medical system begins to catch on more and more to the validiy of this traditional knowledge.
4. Set a Sankalpa (sacred intention)
Shivaratri offers us the gift of fertile and empty soil, in which we can plant the seeds that we intend to sow throughout the coming waxing, or growing of the moon. In ancient times, when humans and communities lived in deeper alignment with nature, this is when seed-planting would occur. Plant your own literal and metaphorical seeds on this night and ask that they be brought into fullness in tandem with the growing belly of the moon. Focus on the meaningful intentions that come from the heart, rather than the personal mind.
5. Chant the Shiva Mantra
Practice the recitation of the mantra to Shiva: Om Namah Shivaya. Chant the mantra out loud or internally 108 times. The potency of Shiva's grace is held within the sounding of each syllable, infusing your space and body with His energy of clearance and creation. You can use one of our Sandalwood or Rudraksha Malas to aid in your Japa meditation, blessed in the sacred Ganges River in RIshikesh by our Tiffany, herself! And our non-toxic, hand-rolled incense is a beautiful addition to any sadhana.
Let us know in the comments below, how you celebrate the new moon!
And please do share this article via social media and with the women in your life. This truly supports the work we do here at RASA to enrich the lives of as many as we can through the magic of Ayurveda!