By Abigail Bender and Samantha Rutt
A celebration for the new moon phase starting on March 21st, which represents new beginnings for all of those who practice and believe in spirituality, will be held through a New Moon Circle. Breathe, center of spiritual and emotional healing, hosts a variety of classes centered around spiritual and emotional healing.
Moon rituals are one of the oldest practices, exercised by many ancient civilizations around the world. Ancient Egyptians, Babylonians, Mesoamericans, Indians and Chinese recognized a connection to the moon in their spiritual practices. With Long Island’s population of white Americans currently exploring spirituality it is important to recognize the culture these rituals grew from and how it has impacted modern practice.
“It’s nice to be able to offer workshops that can really be well suited for everybody,” Jenna Turner, owner of Breathe, said, “[The workshops] can be accessible to anyone as far as you like. For me, just as a practitioner, I’m happy that we have that, we have something at the beginner level for people to be able to educate themselves.”
Long Islanders are discovering the effects of attending New Moon Circles, Turner says. These events are rising in popularity as more people seek to connect with the natural world and harness its energies for personal growth.
In a survey conducted by the Long Island Press in 2019, two-thirds of respondents said they believe in spiritual practices like meditation, nearly half (47%) of respondents said they believe in energy healing. The same survey found 71% said they had participated in some form of holistic health practice, such as yoga, meditation, or acupuncture.
“I haven’t tried all of the classes yet,” Alexia Almeide, a Long Island resident and Breathe employee, said. “I really want to try the Reiki classes and the Moon Circles.”
New Moon Circles are gatherings that take place during the new moon, the phase when the moon is not visible in the sky. Some of the ancient civilizations viewed the moon as a God or Goddess, in ancient China, the ritual was to worship the Moon Goddess Chang who would then be rewarded with good fortune, health and fertility. Mesoamerican culture viewed the moon as Goddess Ixchel, ancient Babylonians worshiped the moon as a God called Nanna or Sin. Modern beliefs and practices have emerged from all of these ancient religions and spiritual traditions.
In a new moon circle, participants come together to meditate, share their thoughts and feelings, and set intentions for the coming lunar cycle.
“You’re sitting amongst all the crystals and all that good energy, and the practitioner will usually sage the space and sage the clients when they arrive,” Turner said. “Creating a new environment from any residual energy that might already be in the space. [The practitioner] will read a guided meditation to get you into a very relaxed state, then she’ll play singing bowls, so that you’re able to realign and retune your energy centers, to a more natural state of where they should be resonating.”
People who attended these events report feeling a sense of community, support, and empowerment. They appreciate the opportunity to connect with others who share their spiritual interests and to explore their own personal growth in a safe and nurturing environment.
“Spirituality events are a way to give like-minded individuals the ability to connect and find community,” Maddie Foley, a spiritual practitioner from Mt. Sinai said. “There’s no one right way to be spiritual and I think it provides a lot of comfort to people.”
New moon circles can be beneficial for those who are looking to manifest positive change in their lives, overcome obstacles, or work through difficult emotions, Turner said. The collective energy of the group can amplify intentions and help individuals to tap into their own inner wisdom and intuition.
“I’m at the point where I’m trying to define spirituality for myself,” Hayley Spadaro, a Long Island resident, said. “I’m at the point where I’m trying to just let it flow through me.”
For those interested in attending a new moon circle on Long Island, there are a variety of options available. Many spiritual and wellness centers offer regular circles, and there are also independent practitioners who organize gatherings in local parks or other public spaces.
“Spirituality is how I make sense of the world around me,” Foley said. “It helps me keep a positive attitude and stay grounded when things are chaotic.”