On the night of the April full moon, Susanne and I spoke on skype.
‘I’ve just come back from my friend’s place,’ she said. ‘We did a full moon ritual.’
A full moon ritual, she repeated. Whereby you hold a clear quartz crystal up to the full moon, and tell it what you want from life.
‘And the moon will grant it?’
Susanne confirmed it would.
‘OK,’ I said. ‘I have a quartz crystal, as it happens. I think I’ll have a chat with the moon.’
‘Do it,’ Susanne urged, ‘but be very specific.’ That age-old warning: be careful what you wish for. Like magic lamps, moonlight and quartz crystals may come at a price. And if there is such a thing as a free lunch, it might not be exactly what you ordered.
Forewarned but undeterred, I said goodnight to Susanne, fetched my crystal from my desk (quartz crystals are said to protect against radiation, so mine lives by my computer screen) and drew aside the curtains of my single, tiny window over Battersea Park Road. As luck would have it, the moon was right there: round and huge and bright, shining down on South West London on a rare, cloudless night. Taking this as an auspicious sign, I climbed up on my bed to open the window, and pushed my hands – and the crystal – through the narrow gap and over the busy street below. The wail of police sirens, the roar of bus engines and a bass-heavy hip-hop tune from a car stopped at the traffic lights on the corner came rushing into my room, but I fixed my faze on the moon and focused. I didn’t have to think for long: I know what I want and it is very specific. There was a moment of uncertainty when I realised I knew nothing about this ritual except that it involved a crystal and the moon. But something told me the crystal should be held in both hands, and that Namaste – palms together – should come into it at some stage. So I held the crystal up to the moon until I got the angle right and the moonlight shone through and then, having established a connection, I pressed it between my palms, with arms outstretched, and I talked to the moon in my head, and I told it what I wanted. I said some good and true things, and I thought about the moonlight and my crystal and myself, and how the three of us were linked, in this moment, and about the whole universe of potential and possibility that contained all the things I wanted and which were connected to me and the crystal and the moon in exactly the same way, and I called them to me. And then I touched the crystal to my forehead and my heart, and gazed up at the moon until my eyes stung and watered, and then I bowed my head, said ‘thank you’, and shut and window and jumped off the bed, and the ritual was over.
And I would have thought no more about it, or perhaps mentioned it anecdotally, in passing, if it weren’t for the fact that a few days later a man appeared on my doorstep, and he was exactly what I’d asked for. And just to clarify: I didn’t actually ask for a man, and I didn’t ask for this man, in particular, though he has been in my life for many years. If all I wanted was a boyfriend, I’d join Tinder; I’m sure the moon has better things to do than to play matchmaker to randy Londoners. Nor is it in the habit of delivering flat pack boyfriends to your door, like some cosmic IKEA. What I asked for is much bigger than that, and it doesn’t come with instructions for putting it together: joy and fulfilment on a professional, intellectual, emotional, creative and spiritual level; kindness and love and peace, for myself and those around me. Just like my crystal, I have many facets, and I’ve gotta get the angle right, and expose them all to the metaphorical moonlight, if I am to function as a whole. I may be new to this, but I intuitively understand you shouldn’t focus on the means but on the end, and trust whichever forces are at play to provide the means they deem most appropriate, even though they might surprise you. And the end, for me, is as simple and as complicated as this: to be myself, the best and truest version of all that I can be. And then, next to me, side by side, a person who accepts me exactly as I am. Not someone to fill a gap, but to stand beside me; two wholes that happen to fit together, and drive each other forward, in a journey that’s both separate and joint. I explained all this to the moon, and it gave a nod. ‘Alright,’ it said.
Before you start rolling your eyes, before you dismiss me as some crazy new age fool, I will ask you to suspend your judgement for a moment longer, and bear with me while I try to explain: I have spent the last two years working in a yoga studio. Immersed in a world where talking about chakras and referring clients to a medicine man who does egg readings is as routine as checking the inbox for email enquiries (which, incidentally, were often headed “Sat Nam” and, on one occasion, signed “Namaste in advance”). A place where you might, at any given moment, be stuck with acupuncture needles simply because you mentioned you have a headache; where you are just as likely to be complimented on your aura as on your earrings. My colleagues and I hugged each other with alarming frequency, and people floated in for kundalini class all in white and with crystals stuck to their foreheads, and we didn’t laugh at them. I have managed to maintain a professional tone when replying to an email about obtaining a guru (though my instinctive response – I am not ashamed to say – would have been ‘How about you get a life?’), and kept a straight face through a 60 minute guidance session with a lovely lady who talks to the archangels, during which Gabriel himself advised me on my spiritual development and personal life. I won’t lie to you: it wasn’t always easy; there were times when I really struggled with all of this. I am a strange mixture of cynical and gullible, fluctuating between the two extremes but mostly settling somewhere along the way.
But, in a funny way, it’s the extremes that keep me balanced. If I weren’t reduced to hysterical laughter by a grown man banging on a tiny percussion instrument and instructing a class of forty to “receive the beautiful music”, I would be too far gone. Equally, if I let my sarcasm loose whenever something rattled its cage, I would have missed out on a lot of wonderful, unexpected experiences, and would be pretty bad at my job, to boot. So I remain sceptical, but I’m open to everything. And I unequivocally believe that positive thinking works. And what’s a moon ritual, when you strip it down to its essence, if not positive thinking? It goes by many different names, answers to assorted deities or forces and takes on a range of forms, but positive thinking is everywhere: from the most mystical of ancient philosophies all the way to 21st century pop culture; from the sacred texts of Hinduism to The Secret and its grandfather, The Celestine Prophecy; and from the yogic sankalpa to wiccan rituals to the prayers of Christianity to New Year Resolutions to birthday cake wishes. It all comes down to the same thing: setting an intention, focusing on what you want, and calling it to you. So yes, when someone tells me I can wave a crystal at the moon and ask for what I want, sure, I’ll do it. Because I know it’s not really about the ritual or the crystal or the moon; it’s about me putting my soul into the things I want and opening the way for them to find me. And if that makes me a crazy new age fool, then so be it. I’m a crazy new age fool who’s manifested a whole load of cool stuff. Including a free lunch, which I’m now going to sit down and enjoy, regardless of the ingredients.
It’s been a month since the last full moon, and in that time I quit my job, left my flat in London, and moved to Athens for the summer. I remembered who I am, all of what I am, and I have been that person every day since. I am writing; I am staying up half the night to write. All these things are in line with what I asked for from the moon, and though the process was set in motion before the ritual, I don’t believe the way it’s all happening is coincidental. If you only believe in straight up cause and effect, you’re not leaving any room for anything magical to happen. Like being true to yourself. Like writing. Like a man on your doorstep. And the man is no coincidence either; this man I manifested, who believes in manifestation, and who’s also manifested me on his doorstep many times before. Who has stood beside me and will stand beside me again; who has waved me off on my journey, knowing that I’ll come back when I’m ready. I asked for what I wanted, and this is what I got, and I’ve gotta trust the moon knows what it’s doing, no matter how it chooses to go about it, because essentially it’s just me, opening doors to a universe of infinite possibilities. Which is why I repeated the ritual the other night, with the full moon of May, on my mum’s balcony in Athens. I stood there with my crystal, in my bare feet, and I greeted the moon like an old friend and the words came a lot easier this time because I know now that we have an understanding. And as I repeated the things I wanted, it occurred to me, as fact, that they were true. So I said it to the moon, All these things are true. And the moon nodded.
This essay is an excerpt from my book This Reluctant Yogi: everyday adventures in the yoga world. Available to buy on Amazon, in paperback and on Kindle. Free on Kindle Unlimited.