During the full moon in my small border town in Arizona, my mom and I would pack into her car, drive up towards the mountains, and hike to a boulder she called Full Moon Rock. We'd set out jars and create moon water, drink wine, eat snacks and watch the moon cast an evening shadow over our quiet two-person picnic.
My mom and I were following centuries of tradition by devoting time and energy towards capturing the powers of the full moon. This week, I'll be practicing rituals focused on the solar eclipse, along with astrologer Sarolta DeFaltay and author Jaya Saxena.
My mom says there a chance an eclipse can grant powers, wisdom, and positive energy. The purpose of eclipse water is to bottle up all that energy and be able to use it for months after the event has passed.
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But if eclipse water isn't your cup of tea, astrologer Sarolta DeFaltay has a different take.
"The time between the lunar and solar eclipse is a portal," says DeFaltay, who has studied astrology all her life. "People use this energy as a symbol for what they want to change in their life."
DeFaltay says that the eclipse represents a culmination of energy, and Leo energy is about leadership, creativity, and becoming the most empowered leader in your arena. For this eclipse, she recommends that people focus on what they want to release — like bad habits and negative thinking — in order to focus their energy.
There are dozens of different rituals someone can perform, such as taking a ritual bath, but DeFaltay says the most important aspect of any given ritual is that it's personal to the one performing it.
"During the eclipse, people will sit in meditation or light a candle or write about what they want to manifest and what they're looking to release," DeFaltay says. She says you should set your intention, think about what you want to create, and "send it out into the universe."
There are different specific rituals you can follow, but for the most part, DeFaltay recommends just utilizing the eclipse to set an intention and work towards goal clarity.
Jaya Saxena, co-author of the Basic Witches: How To Summon Success, Banish Drama, And Raise Hell With Your Coven, agrees. But instead of meditation and candles, she uses crystals.
While she isn't part of the Wiccan or Pagan religions, Saxena says the history and culture of witchcraft really resonated with her and her co-writer, Jess Zimmerman. More than actively practicing witchcraft, they were interested in a tradition that prides itself upon being led by unruly women.
The book is about tapping into that line of unruly women, figuring out what you want, and practicing a bit of self care — "but not in the 'I'm just going to do face masks' kind of way."
While writing the book, Saxena started adopting traditions on her own, including crystal charging — a ritual she intends to practice during the eclipse.
"People consider eclipses time of just great energy," she says. "Even if you're a totally rational person and you know exactly what's happening in terms of how the planets are moving, it's still really unsettling to see the sky turn black in the middle of the day."
Saxena will be charging her crystals during the eclipse. Crystals are often used to focus someone's thoughts and energy on a particular outcome, idea or goal. You can charge them by holding them and thinking of that exact idea during periods of intense sunlight or moonlight. The crystals absorb that energy and are a constant physical reminder.
"I take [my crystals] out to my balcony, I hold them and think of something I want them to have," Saxena says. "So you put those thoughts and wishes on the crystal, you put it outside during the eclipse and the idea is that it will hold that energy."
Saxena likes crystals because she likes the way they look and the idea that each crystal has a specific property. She is unconvinced that crystals have supernatural power, but likes the idea that you can use a crystal as a sort of talisman to associate with something you want in life, and focusing that energy during a ritual might make it more cemented for people.
"You have a physical reminder of what you want," Saxena says. "I have like six."
For her, the eclipse is more than an opportunity to energize crystals.
"You don't get to see something like this often in your life," Saxena says. "It makes me think a lot about [Carl] Sagan and the pale blue dot. We're so small and subject to so many things around us."