August 30, 2023 – at around 9:36 pm that Wednesday night, the supermoon started to appear in the Berkeley skies. My friends and I gathered on the balcony of our house, surrounding ourselves with blankets and pillows on the ground. The quiet chatter of small talk, the scratching of pens and paper, the lightly scented lavender candle and the crystals on the balcony brought warmth as we overlooked the perfect view of the supermoon that night.
Every month, the moon passes through a point called the perigee, when the moon is closest to Earth, and apogee, when it’s farthest from Earth. But a supermoon occurs when the moon is full and at a perigee point. To some, a supermoon is much more than just the distance between the moon and the Earth; it is also the perfect time for manifestation. Manifesting is “the act or practice of bringing something into your life through belief,” and there are many ways to practice it. Often, it involves taking the time to be vulnerable to share personal goals. Sometimes, manifesting can be as simple as the soft murmur of girls on a roof, hoping to bring good luck on their next midterm.
Some say that a full moon is a good time for manifesting because this astronomical phenomenon presents an opportunity to harness the moon’s positive energy. My friend led our group and guided us through the practice. Under the moon, she asked us to take a deep breath in through our noses and out through our mouths, then repeat this three times. She told us to imagine light energy entering the top of our heads while breathing in. As we exhale, imagine dark energy exiting. She taught us that this breath exercise is a method for becoming more connected with oneself. Our next task was to write what we were trying to manifest three times, but the catch was that we were asked to write as if those things were already happening. Instead of using the past or future tense, she told us to use the present tense. It’s crucial, she said, because manifesting asks us to treat the things we desire as if they are already true.
Where did the whole concept of manifestation come from? A common misconception that some may have about manifestation is that it is a new or contemporary concept. Some may associate it with Rhonda Byrne’s self-help book, The Secret, published in 2006, which focuses on using the Law of Attraction to “create anything you desire” through manifestation. Manifesting is similar to the Law of Attraction – the belief in putting positive energy into the world and receiving that energy through good fortune and opportunities. Byrne applied this belief to the manifestation principles of intention, visualization and gratitude.
However, this concept dates back to the 19th century and the New Thought Movement – a movement that centralized how thoughts create reality. In 1907, writer William Walker Atkinson introduced the Law of Attraction in his book Thinking Vibration or the Law of Attraction in the Thought World. Atkinson used the term “vibration” to encompass the characteristics of thinking and energy in manifestation. Atkinson’s description of the value and power of love in manifesting became one of the first introductions to how we can manifest, influencing many writers and philosophers in the 19th century.
The concept of manifestation appears in several religions, including Hinduism, Buddhism, and Christianity. However, the idea most likely emerges from Hinduism. The term manifestation comes from the Sanskrit word for manifest, “to show.” In Hinduism, it refers to the process and act of bringing something into its physical form.
But manifesting isn’t a practice reserved only for special astronomical events; it can be a part of our daily lives. Some manifestation practices involve other aids, like crystals, as an attempt to harness their powerful energies. To some, the vibrating alignment of crystals is comparable to a small living entity with a life force similar to that of a plant, animal or human.
In popular culture, crystals and manifestation seem to have taken on other meanings. On social media outlets like TikTok, some influencers use their platforms to inspire others to manifest desired outcomes in their loves lives, health or career. Even the term itself became so popular that some say it’s been taken over by Gen Z. “I’m manifesting” is a phrase that people informally and casually throw around as if saying it will make their desires materialize instantaneously.
Too often, it’s assumed that all we need to do for manifestation to work is to maintain “positive thinking.” However, experts say an overemphasis on positive thinking could lead to complacency, since it overlooks a crucial part of the manifestation process: taking initiative. And initiative is a detail that we can’t afford to forget.
While it may be easy for some to think positively or claim that they are doing so, bringing desires into physical form requires action and reciprocating that same energy. Manifestation is much more than just belief or desire; it’s equally important to be proactive. Those who attempt to manifest without taking action may conclude that manifesting simply “doesn’t work” and might even blame the concept itself.
It appears that as a society, we’re quick to identify the apparent failures of manifestation. Our tendency to fixate on failures seems more pronounced than the praise we give to our achievements. I tend to fall into that trap, too. Frequently, I find myself magnifying my failures, which only exacerbates an already difficult situation. However, I’ve learned to recognize that I cannot control every situation. We cannot change our circumstances, but we have some say over our reactions to them. This same principle applies to manifestation. We can’t simply wait and expect our dreams to materialize; we must actively pursue them and put in the effort to make them a reality.
Just like a soft chatter among friends under a supermoon goes beyond mere admiration, manifestation goes beyond just wishing for something to happen. For myself and my friends, manifestation took the form of sharing.
In a circle, we shared our writing: “I am going to get an A on my first paper” and “I am enough.” And my own: “I will not set myself on fire to keep others warm.” These phrases marked the start of our efforts to bring our manifestations to life. We were aware that although we expressed our aspirations as if they were already here, we knew that they wouldn’t magically materialize overnight. As the supermoon illuminated the distant night sky, we understood that manifesting would require follow-through. We needed to treat our manifestations as we would any other personal goal.