Why I stopped going to church and said YES to the Moon

I grew up in a small southern town and, even though I was baptized Catholic (because that’s what my Mother was), we ended up joining the Presbyterian Church (because my Father’s family was that, back in his home country of Lebanon).

Like any “good” family, we were heavily involved in the church. I sang in the choir, we went to Sunday school and youth group. I was even a camp counselor at Camp Hopewell, a Presbyterian Summer Camp in Oxford, Mississippi.

I never felt connected to THAT God, though. My Mother would talk about how she had such a tight relationship with Jesus and I remember thinking that he seemed like a good man but more like a historical figure than a “friend” or someone I was supposed to pray to.

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I read the Bible front to back a few times, trying to wrap my mind around how I was supposed to live my life based on this book written by men. When I was 14 and had my first Spiritual awakening, I felt even more disconnected from the Biblical laws.

But the guilt was too much; so I kept pretending to believe in something that I didn’t.  

In college, I told my mom that I wasn’t going to go to church anymore; she cried and said how disappointed she was in my sister and I. 

I felt so ashamed that I couldn’t abide by Biblical laws and was disappointing my Mother.  It didn’t seem to matter to her that, I was in college, getting good grades, a triple major, not doing drugs. She really seemed to want me to feel like Jesus Christ would “save” me from something.

From ages 17-22, I didn’t have a tether. I’d begun practicing yoga, had read The Power of Now, and was into Quantum Physics- but it was all very surface level.

It felt like I was doing research on the Pyramids; I could write a paper about it but until I actually went to Egypt, none of it FELT real.

Then I got my Yoga Teacher certification and my teachers focused not just on the Asana limb of yoga, but the others. I learned about the Yamas and the Niyamas. I learned about devotion to the God that was inside of me. And as I moved my body while I learned these things, I FELT it.

Yoga turned into my new “religion” but this time, I resonated DEEPLY with what I was reading and practicing.  After a year of teaching, I began to see the same things I’d seen when I was a camp counselor and saw how my peers were “angels” on Sundays but seemed to live a totally different life on the Friday and Saturday nights.  

It felt like the same thing in the yoga community. I began to teach alongside leaders in the yoga community. I was invited to parties, I was “in” and I saw how they would pick and choose the parts of Yoga they wanted.

I don’t judge them but I just felt disconnected from it all yet again and I didn’t want to be entrenched in that community. So I began to look for another tether.

My yoga practice had slowed WAY down because of a piriformis injury and a subsequent coccyx injury and I simply had to stop my practice.

That’s when I began to go even more within myself. My yoga/asana practice had connected me to my muscles and my bones but I was craving a connection to my femininity that I didn’t find in the Yoga community.

I wanted to go deeper and when I found Miranda Gray’s website about menstruation and harnessing the power of bleeding, I was hooked. I began to really get in tune with my own cycle. I had already been practicing herbalism for several years and as I got to know my cycle more, I realized that I could really self-medicate with Mother Nature’s medicine, in a way I hadn’t before.

By connecting to the mystery that surrounded my feminine body, I was able to understand what caused my PMS, my painful periods, and my general disconnection from my womb. When I began practicing Moon Rituals, I felt like I’d found my purpose, my Mother, my medicine. I saw the HUGE shifts that took place within myself on a hormonal, mental, and spiritual level. I couldn’t wait to share it with the women in my life.

So, in the fall of 2014, I led my first Women’s New Moon Ceremony in my living room.

Since I’d been teaching yoga for almost 2 years, I felt really comfortable holding space and it was so natural for me to share this Moon wisdom with these women.

In Dec of 2014 I spent a couple of months working a few hours a week as a virtual assistant for a woman (Achintya of Goddess Rising!) and her business was about connecting women to their inner Goddesses. At the same time, I was connected with Shona Keeli, another woman with a mystery school that connected women to their cycle.

Seeing these women making a living doing this, and finding more from Miranda Gray’s writings and book, Red Moon, really made me see that I could create my own path of education, teaching, and financial freedom. 

My first business idea, rather than just focus on the monthly New Moon Ceremonies I led, was a product-based business (more on that later).  But soon after launching, I realized that there was more of a need for education, not products. The women didn’t understand what “moon cycle” even meant.

Back in 2014, the Moon wasn’t trending yet and there weren’t that many Witchy instagram memes… I’d entered new territory at the perfect time.

After deciding to put my attention on teaching women about their inner moon cycle and how it’s innately connected to the outer moon, I decided to focus on New Moon Ceremonies, in Austin, Texas. I quickly made a name for myself. No one else was doing it at the time. So the ceremonies each month were packed with anywhere from 20-30 women. It was powerful, month after month.

I sold out of all spots month after month and then added in Full Moon Ceremonies!

This is how I made my money (along with teaching yoga part time) from 2016-2018.  

About 500 women in the Austin area would show up at the circles, cycling in and out through the years; they were truly life-changing events and shaped much of my work today. I am forever grateful for that core group of women (you know who you are) who helped me find my voice as a women’s leader.

I’d finally found my purpose. The women always wanted to go deeper and that’s how I created my first online course in the Lunar Nourishment Mystery School. At this point, over 250 women have graduated from this experiential journey to dive deep into their menstrual cycle. This, along with my Lunar Nourishment monthly Moon Ceremonies (all online now), have fueled my business and my passion in ways I never thought possible. 

I now lead quarterly gatherings in Austin, Texas and I’m honored to be hosting my BIGGEST ONE YET on September 26th, along with my friend Cristina of Rooted Method. My sister, Marlena will be playing ceremony songs to put us in the mood.

We’ll be in the heart of downtown Austin at Native Hostel and I’m honored to guide 100 women in breath-work and self-connection.

My biggest dream is that women everywhere, release all guilt or shame around not living their parents’ lives so they can fully step into the role they were always meant to play; 

Strong
powerful
intuitive
witchy
sensitive
resilient women who will change the world by caring for themselves.

I hope you’ll join us for this special event.

Oh, and we’ll have limited edition yoga mats from Seeds Then Roots and some tasty drinks from Curcuma + more! 

2018-2019LydiaComment