Life is made up of a collection of moments that are not ours to keep…To love and let go, love and let go, love and let go – is the single most important thing we can learn in this lifetime.Rachel Brathen
The ancient Roman lunar calendar was organized by festivals with the full moon the centerpiece (or Ides) of each month. February is named for the ancient Roman festival of Februalia held February 13-15 – it was considered a time for closure, for rituals that facilitated cleansing, purification, atonement, and new beginnings. Over time the calendar evolved to our current solar calendar and full moons fall where they may. However, this month our full moon aligns nicely with the Februalia.
Anything that was used for ritual cleansing was referred to as Februa. Fire, water, incense, pine branches, sweat – all were believed to have purifying properties that allowed people to break with the past and move on unencumbered. We can take our inspiration from Februalia to take inventory of what no longer serves us – physically and emotionally. Here are some suggestions for rituals to help us let that stuff go:
- Take a long meditative walk at low tide: The full moon brings us the lowest and highest tides. Find a safe place to walk along the water’s edge as the tide is rising. Make a path with your footprints and then watch them wash away. You can find the time of a low tide near you using the Tide Charts app.
- Dry brush: Dry brushing is an Ayurveda ritual that literally sweeps away dead skin cells leaving your skin freshly buffed. Using a natural fiber brush made for the purpose, sweep the past away first from your feet to your heart, then from your hands to your heart (avoiding sensitive areas or broken skin). Then rinse off in the shower.
- Clear the air: Burning herbs and resins have been used to cleanse and purify space for a millennium. Incense, fragrant wood, anointed candles, or herb bundles can be burned to ceremoniously let go of the past and commit to intentions. Saying something like “I love and let go – releasing what has happened, as it is not happening now, and is not mine to keep.”
- Dance it out: Move your body to the music so you break a sweat to something appropriate like Dog Days are Over by Florence + the Machine.