One of the interesting things about a major life change is how it pushes you in directions you never expected yourself to go in. That’s probably how I wound up taking two separate baths — one comprised of apple cider vinegar and baking soda, the other of rose petals — both of which were prequels to a 40-day love ritual that involved me chanting with crystals every morning. Instead of cutting off my hair or booking a spontaneous trip to Thailand, I wound up diving head-first into the ultimate in woo-woo spiritualism: rituals involving crystals.
But let’s back up. I was first introduced to crystal expert Heather Askinoise via her jewelry company Energy Muse, which sells a wide variety of crystal-focused baubles. Up until this past January, I’d always had a fairly casual relationship with crystals. I’d keep certain ones around my apartment for clarity or protection, and at specific times in my life, I wore certain energy bracelets around my wrist for the same reasons. When people asked if I thought they worked, I always told them the same thing: “Wearing them keeps me mindful about what they’re meant to evoke, so in some backwards way, I think they do.”
So when I received a copy of Askinoise’s new book Crystal Muse, I was immediately interested. I’d been going through an intensely transitional moment in my life (I’d recently been laid off from my longtime job and was wading through the murky waters of freelance life), and anything that offered proactive ways of dealing with transition seemed interesting to me. I flipped through, and was instantly drawn to the chapter touting Askinoise’s 40-Day Love Ritual. As a hopeless romantic, finding love has always been a goal that’s on the forefront of my mind — and here was Askinoise telling me that she had some kind of magic juju to help me attract it.
With everything else going on in my life, I was drawn to the idea of finding love. I thought it would be the ultimate cure-all to everything that had been ailing me. A partner would help take the pressure off of my new life as a freelancer, and would save me on those evenings where I felt incredibly isolated and lonely. So I immediately began researching the ritual, and pulling together what I needed to achieve it.
The Love Ritual is meant to kick off the day of a new moon, with three days prior serving as prep time. I looked at my calendar, and noticed that the next new moon was starting the day after Valentine’s Day — a moment of kismet that seemed pretty much perfect. I marked my calendar, and then texted my astrologer to come along with me to go crystal shopping at two shops in the East Village — Enchantments for candles, and Crystals Garden for my stones. I needed to pick up some colored candles, a piece of rose quartz, a piece of aventurine, a rose quartz mala, and a handful of other pieces for my love altar.
The first day of prep, I had to energetically cleanse my home. This included smudging with both sage and palo santo and, well, literally cleaning my entire apartment. (For those unfamiliar, smudging is the process of cleansing the energies of your home by burning sacred herbs.) On day two, I had to energetically clean myself. This was a little more strange. I had to bathe in a mixture that included instant coffee bags, baking soda, apple cider vinegar, and sea salt. But during the bath, I was instructed to think about every bad thought I had involving past relationships, and then dip my head back in the water multiple times, baptismal style. This turned out to be much more powerful than I ever expected, and as the water drained from the bath, I felt my negativity draining along with it.
On day three of prep, I set up my altar with candles and crystals. And then came the first day of the ritual. Every morning, Askinoise wrote that I had to sit by my altar, light my candles, and recite a love mantra 108 times — one chant for every bead on my mala (a string of beads used in meditation practices). Then, I had to hold my crystals in my hand, and repeat the following mantra: “I am love, I am lovable, I am worthy.”
I’ll be honest, the first morning I did this, I felt a little silly. I’ve never considered myself a devotional person. So the idea of chanting a kind of prayer out loud, alone in my apartment, was not something I was accustomed to. But I kept at it.
During the ritual, I expected plenty of love to enter my life. I thought that I’d start attracting men left, right, and center — and I thought that this would happen almost immediately. But the ritual didn’t necessarily do that. Instead, I felt subtle shifts in my life. I found myself being kinder to myself, and more vulnerable with those who were close to me. After weeks of isolating myself because of how sad I was over the loss of my job, I finally reached out to my friends and said, “I need help,” which has never been something I’ve been comfortable doing. When people asked me how things were going, instead of saying “fine,” I answered honestly.
On my birthday, about two weeks into the ritual, I met a very sweet, handsome man at one of the coffee shops I regularly work with. We wound up only going out a few times, but that experience showed me that it was possible to meet people without the help of dating apps — something I had started to believe was impossible. Thanks to this ritual, I found myself more open to the possibilities of meeting people in the real world. It felt like the fog that had been hanging over me since December had been lifted, and I was able to see things much more clearly.
As I was going through the ritual, I was posting about my experience on Instagram, and Askinoise found my posts. On one of the photos, she commented that clients of hers who had gone through the ritual themselves found a deeper sense of self-love over anything else. At first, I scoffed this off — why do a ritual like this if it weren’t to attract Mr. Right? But as the 40 days wore on, Askinoise’s words became more and more true. I was learning to be more comfortable with myself, and being more open with myself. Instead of falling in love with someone else, I wound up falling deeper in love with myself. My astrologer had told me that I’d needed to take time for myself every day in order to feel centered, and this ritual gave me that moment on a silver platter. Spending 10 minutes a day focusing on myself and dedicating myself to love turned out to be that moment — and it worked.
So even though I didn’t find Mr. Perfect during my 40 days, I think that this ritual was a complete and utter success. I now feel that I am someone who is able to accept love into her life in a more open and vulnerable way, which wasn’t something I felt able to do before this ritual. In learning to love myself, I cleared out all the emotional gunk that was blocking me from finding a partner. Now that that path has been cleared, I’ve made space in my life for that partner to settle in when they show up.
But most importantly, I finally learned what it meant to love myself. And even though the 40 days is done, I’ve taken the most important part with me — I spend a little time every morning meditating. I no longer chant to my empty apartment. But I spent some quiet time in my mind, focusing on love. And then I open my eyes, and feel ready to take on the day.