Manifestation: what it is — and what it isn’t

One of the vision boards I made for the new moon in Cancer in July! It has a lot of the things I love, namely, New England and sweets.

The other day, my friends and I were flipping through the book “The Secret” by Rhonda Byrne. As we skimmed the pages, our eyes got wider and wider.

If you’re unfamiliar with the book or with the law of attraction that it preaches, basically what it says is you get back what you put out. If you think positive thoughts, then you’ll attract positive things, but if you think negative thoughts then bad things will happen to you.

There is absolutely some truth to that. For example, if I start to obsess about the possibility of my partner leaving me, to the point where I freak out about it on a regular basis and yell at him routinely in an accusatory way even if there’s no evidence of wrongdoing, then he’s definitely more likely to leave me.

And that works both ways. On days when I know I have to get a lot of stuff done, I’ll sit down that morning and write down in my journal what has to happen that day as clearly as possible. And somehow, when I do that in a specific and pointed way, it gets done and I “manifest” what I want (my friend Ryan would call that making a to-do list).

But where I begin to have an issue with “The Secret” is where it says this:

“Everything that surrounds you right now in your life, including the things you’re complaining about, you’ve attracted. Now, I know at first blush that’s going to be something you hate to hear. You’re going to immediately say, ‘I didn’t attract the car accident. I didn’t attract this particular client who gives me a hard time. I didn’t particularly attract the debt.’ And I’m here to be a little bit in your face and to say, yes, you did attract it. This is one of the hardest concepts to get, but once you’ve accepted it, it’s life transforming.

Often when people first hear this part of the Secret they recall events in history where masses of lives were lost, and they find it incomprehensible that so many people could have attracted themselves to the event. By the law of attraction, they had to be on the same frequency as the event. It doesn’t necessarily mean they thought of that exact event, but the frequency of their thoughts matched the frequency of the event. If people believe they can be in the wrong place at the wrong time, and they have no control over outside circumstances, those thoughts of fear, separation and powerlessness, if persistent, can attract them to being in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

So at best, applying “The Secret” here helps you take a good, hard look at yourself, but at worst, it basically justifies things like poverty, hunger, slavery and even genocide by saying that the victims of these things had it coming because of their mindsets. Which is obviously disgusting and even evil, not to mention absolute horse shit. Think about the high school kids in Parkland who either survived or died when their school got shot up.

Or the six-year-olds in Newtown, many of whom probably couldn’t have ever comprehended a person with a gun would walk into their school and kill them or their classmates. I certainly don’t think six-year-olds manifested getting killed by a deranged gunman, and neither did their parents. It’s like saying your worst fears will come true just because they pop into your head.

Ahmaud Arbery did not manifest being shot by the white supremacists who followed and killed him while he was jogging, and Breonna Taylor had no role in manifesting her own murder at the hands of police in her own home.

Jessica Lanyadoo, one of my favorite astrologers, actually addressed the “gaslighting” that can come from talk about manifestation and intention setting on the Sept. 15 episode of her show, “Ghost of a Podcast.”

Lanyadoo said that although it’s a spiritual truth that everything we do and engage with is a reflection of what we resonate with, that’s not the only universal truth.

“There’s a lot of truths that coexist with each other. That’s what I believe to be true,” Lanyadoo said on the podcast. “And so, when we talk about misogyny and racism and white supremacy, when we talk about systemic conditions that have impacted a multitude of people but not just in this moment, over the course of generations, when we talk about transphobia, homophobia, or you know, the ways in which class functions or capitalism functions in the world, we have to acknowledge that these things are also real and true — that we’re not all starting from the same set of privilege and assets.”

It’s complicated, Lanyadoo said.

“When I talk about something like manifestation, I want to acknowledge that I’m talking about one thing, but it’s not the only thing, and we never want to use these types of concepts as a way to spiritually bypass the systemic problems that we have in this world, and the realities that many people face that you may or may not be facing.”

So yes, it’s multifaceted. And with all that said, here’s what I believe.

What my lanai typically looks like around the new moon. This was my setup for the new moon in Taurus in April. Lots of flowers!!

I do agree that when you’re happy and grateful, good things tend to happen to you. I’m not sure if that’s because you attract more good things when you’re already happy, or if your positive attitude helps you regard more things as “good.” Maybe it’s a little bit of both, but either way, it seems to work.

I kind of liken this to my own experience with getting sober in a way, too. When alcohol is out of the equation, there’s suddenly a lot more time in the day. You’re not counting down the minutes until work is over so you can crack open a bottle of wine, and you’re not sluggish, or worse, completely bedridden, the entire next day. Weekends and even your vacations are no longer centered around getting fucked up and completely mentally checking out. So when there’s more space for good things, eventually good things fill up that space.

That’s why I find meditation so helpful. Anyone who suffers from mental health issues knows that it can be easy to fall into a spiral where it seems like there’s no way out. But if you start to practice meditation, it can help change the way you see things a little bit. I’m not saying it’s going to fix everything, but for me, it definitely helps.

Now, you might be wondering, isn’t this an astrology blog? How does this relate to astrology at all? Well now we’re really getting somewhere!

The moon is an extremely powerful force in our universe, and keeping track of what phase and sign it’s in can be a useful way to focus on what you want to manifest.

I set intentions for the entire month ahead around the new moon. The new moon is when the sky is basically dark — when you can’t see the moon at all. This is the beginning of a brand new month of moon phases, and as a new beginning, it’s the perfect time for planting the seeds for whatever it is you want in the month ahead.

Where astrology comes in is I pay close attention to what sign the moon is in at the time of the new moon, what aspects that moon is making with other planets in other signs and where in my personal birth chart the new moon is happening. That’s what helps me focus my intentions.

I usually mark every new moon by lighting both a black and white candle — black to expel the old energy that’s hanging on that we don’t need anymore, and white to allow for pure new beginnings. Then I usually light a candle coinciding with the sign in question. For example, for the new moon in Leo, I had this giant “Positive Energy” candle from Whole Foods, plus my red spell candle. (I know it’s ridiculous to spend $11 on a giant candle from Whole Foods, but sometimes you just do. This blog is called “Big Taurus Energy” after all).

Then I create intentions based on the sign in question. For Leo, my intentions ranged from love and passion to the ability to express myself creatively — very Leo things.

I also like to match my clothes/makeup to the vibe of the new moon. This was obviously for the new moon in Leo, can’t you tell by the leopard print and red lipstick? Also yes I do have the moon phases tattooed on my arm lolol.

For the new moon in Virgo, the most recent new moon that we’ve had, my intention was to stay grounded and strong within myself, no matter what comes my way. For this, I used a red crystal to symbolize the root chakra, as well as plants and rice to symbolize the earthy, harvest nature of Virgo.

To manifest, it’s really important to meditate on your intentions and really, truly feel them. If something feels off, then ask yourself why. You might end up ditching an intention that doesn’t end up sitting right with you, or maybe while you’re meditating you’ll discover something new that you didn’t know you needed. It’s quite the journey.

Full moons are a bit different. They represent the buildup of the beginning of the moon phase and always mean the climax of something. There’s so much energy going around during the full moon that you don’t really have to do anything to invite energy in. If anything, you just have to know how to work with it.

The last full moon, which was in Aries, was particularly sensitive, for the reasons I discussed in my last post (mainly Chiron-related). With full moons, I would say it’s especially important to look at where the moon is in your chart, because that’s where you can expect things to get a bit shaken up. You can set intentions, but remember that unlike new moons, you’re not really starting from nothing. You have the whole first half of the new moon period to go off of. Sometimes it’s good to just light a candle, put your crystals outside to be charged, take a bath, meditate and then let the energy take care of itself!

That’s just me though. Everyone has their own way of working with the phases of the moon. But I’ve found intention setting can be a great way to set the course for the month ahead.

Happy manifesting!

Further reading:

Justice for Breonna Taylor


Run with Ahmaud

Justice for George Floyd — the Innocence Project

Bustle on full moon vs. new moon

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