Side Effects

Today is the Full Moon. Since last October, I’ve been very conscientious about observing the cycles of the moon and sun and honoring them in some way. Sometimes I observe them alone, other times I work with a friend who made the same commitment to observe all the sacred days.

The lovely thing about this sort of tuning in is it gives me an opportunity to notice the ways my spiritual and energetic practice affect my life. I’ve known for a long time that the dark of the moon or New Moon is an ideal time to turn inward and set intentions and goals, so that we can access the building flow of energy as the moon moves toward fullness. And I see the Full Moon as a time to look back on what I’ve created or received, to express gratitude for those things, and to consider what I might give away as the moon begins to wane.

This full moon I’m thinking about the unexpected side effects of manifestation work–both good and bad. Whether you practice visualizations and affirmations, prayer, spell casting, ceremony, or some other method of calling your needs and desires into reality, you never know what kinds of unintended consequences might come about.

I believe your chances of getting what you ask for are pretty high; but in my life, the desired changes never quite happen the way I expect.

This shouldn’t be surprising. After all, I usually ask for something because I don’t have it. And if I don’t have something I want or need, there’s usually a reason. Which means something about my self or my circumstances will have to shift in order for my want or need to be realized. We all know the process of change is often difficult and chaotic. Sometimes it’s painful. Sometimes it’s devastating.

An example from my own life: in New Moon ceremony I set the intention to cultivate greater self confidence. Three days later I attended a Crystal Journey circle, and got what amounted to a lecture from the stone I was working with. (More on this later.)

The day after the haranguing, I got in a horrible fight with someone I love. A fight that made it necessary for me to a) trust my feelings and b) actually stand up for myself. The fight was traumatic, but it led to some much-needed insight into my interactions with others.

And the next week I summoned the gumption to call a local healing arts center to find out about renting space so I could begin establishing my Reiki practice more publicly. I ended up meeting with the center about the possibility of forming a business relationship with them. (More about this later too). I might have thought this was unrelated to the issue I was focused on, except that energy work is one thing that I know I’m good at. I already have confidence in this area–it makes sense that expanding my practice would be part of the process of having confidence overall.

When we say a prayer, cast a spell, make a request during ceremony, we should be aware that we’ll probably be shaken up, and the consequences of our energetic efforts will be unpredictable. We can’t know all the ways our actions will affect the universe. The way everything is connected is like a spider web–you can’t touch one strand without setting the whole thing vibrating.

It’s a good reason to think twice before setting things in motion through energetic channels.

I think it’s a similar idea to the one expressed in “The Rule of Three”, which states (roughly speaking) that whatever you send out into the ether will return to you threefold. I don’t know how many modern pagans believe in a literal, exact triple return. To me the gist of the Rule of Three is that the outcomes of our actions are complex and can cause more changes in the world than we could ever predict. Yes, we are likely to get what we ask for . . . but we will always get more than that, and we might not like some of what we get. Of course, we might also get even more miraculous blessings than we could have thought to ask for. The universe is much more creative than any individual could ever be.

I do believe our intentions will make a difference in our results. I believe spirit/god(dess)/whatever you call the powers-that-be can help us if we ask. First and foremost, spirit can give us insight into right action. We are given the gift of intuition, and if we listen to our inner knowing we will make better decisions. I believe we can also ask the divine to help our spiritual practice and/or energy work serve the highest good.

So did I get what I asked for at the New Moon? Yes and no. I wasn’t magically gifted with healthy self-esteem. What I got was a set of tools with which to build my own confidence. I got an awareness of a need to be more centered, regardless of what is happening around me. I got insight into my relationships. And I got insight into new paths for my healing work. All things worth celebrating on this Full Moon.


4 thoughts on “Side Effects

  1. I have found over the years to be very precise with my asking, and even then it can get out of hand, the impact of what you get can be so big sometimes that you realise you got what you need not what you want. Sometimes it arrives in a very subtle tapestry that finally falls into place, these are the ones I like the most.
    I also like to add in to my requests, “if it is for my best interests, in my lifes path” I also add that when asking for other people……I know, but I can only handle gentle thses days.
    I loved your post, nice to hear other peoples point of view on something that is not out there in a big way, well not here anyway.

  2. There’s a scene in EVAN ALMIGHTY, where the wife of the man whos is a modern-day Noah, is having a conversation with the bus boy (who is actually God) at a restaurant. She explains to him that she has been praying for strength but God hasn’t delivered. That she’s been praying for patience, but again…God hasn’t delivered. To which the bus boy (a.k.a. God) says, “Do you think God gives you strength or does He provide you opportunities to be strong. Do you think he just gives you patience, or does he give you opportunities to build your resolve and in-turn your patience?” (or something like that)

    It’s exactly what you’re saying and SUCH an important lesson we must learn. We’re not always given exactly what we want–more often than not we aren’t, but we are given lots of opportunities to get better at the things we struggle with as we seek those wants.(/WHOA! Rookie’s getting deep). Okay, lovely. This was a great post. Glad to see that you did/didn’t get some of what you were searching for.


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