Moon Magic in Malibu

Shedding My Old Self on a Full Moon Retreat

I received a text about two months ago: an invitation to a one night ‘Full Moon Retreat’ in May. Yoga, meditation, juice cleanse, and ‘magic’ were advertised.

The word magic gets thrown around pretty loosely these days. It can be used to describe everything from fairytale curses to rigged top hats, maybe even the last pint of ice cream you ate. So, anything advertising ‘magic’ as a key component to its schedule could understandably be met with skepticism.

I knew, however, that it wasn’t an exaggeration. I knew there would be magic at that retreat.

You know those people who bring a lightness into your life? They don’t walk so much as they casually glide over the earth. They look straight into your spirit when you make eye contact. It’s as if they stepped out of another realm into yours, and in their presence all of your basic stresses and woes just sort of melt away. The epitome of that magic person is Kimber Tiernan, and when she invited me to a 24 hour cleanse in a yurt under the full moon in Malibu I thought about it for all of 3 seconds before I claimed my spot.

I’m in a phase of life where, not only am I acknowledging that real magic exists, I’m saying YES to the people/places/things who want to show it to me. I’m stopping to talk to flowers on Ventura Blvd. I’m visualizing human auras. I’m creating my damn destiny, one day at a time.

Kimber, however, is a unicorn of sorts. She is a shooting star with a human casing; an angel sent to heal the world; a kind of modern-day female Gandalf. When I tell you I am not exaggerating, I mean it with my entire heart. She has brought me back in touch with my inner child, healed my anxiety from 3 time zones away, and sent me dancing through the cosmos in a shared vision. She has brought my spirit and my grounded human self into balance with a few words. She has changed my life, and the lives of all who know her.

I sent Kimber the money for the retreat and forgot about it for weeks. I wanted my partner, Shane, to come but we had just moved to LA and money was tight. When the week arrived, I genuinely felt like my boyfriend could benefit from the retreat more than I could at that moment. So, with a giving spirit, I asked to give up my spot for Shane. Kimber insisted that we both come. Her and her cohort, Serene, arranged juices and broths and carpools for Shane at no extra cost. Everyone swooped in with extra sleeping bags, blankets, and yoga mats (he ended up sleeping in a hammock under the stars, full of joy and gratitude). Already my heart was tingling. It never ceases to amaze me how these things work out sometimes. Before the retreat even began I was given further incentive to pay that generosity forward.

The day arrived and I felt quiet inside. We drove with friends up the winding Tuna Canyon Road and met our group of 10 or so for a hike overlooking the ocean. A perfect breeze balanced over the glittering sun. It was the kind of view that stops your breath for a moment: all the shades of blue water, waves foaming at the Santa Monica shores a few miles south, and lush green hills dotted with heroic white whipplei flower stalks that glowed like giant torches in the brush.

At the edge of the hill, Kimber led a short standing yoga series meant to open our hearts, then showed us how to gently self-massage our lymph nodes to help bolster our 24 hour cleanse. Her voice was as kind and calm as ever as she informed us of the month’s astrological shifts and led a sitting meditation. The aim of the retreat was to shed the old self and ‘step into our true selves’, with the help of the full moon and the north node in Leo. We walked mindfully through a swirling hilltop labyrinth and stood in the breeze, taking in the view before descending.

Photo By Kimber Tiernan

For over a year now, Kimber has been giving me the tools to unlock my deepest compassion and sync up with my highest self. On top of that hill above Tuna Canyon Rd, I felt her work through all of the souls standing next to me and was utterly moved. She raises us all to such great heights.

Our base camp was Zuma Sanctuary off the Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu — a half mile plus a few stairwells from a secluded public beach. A sprawling tree strung with patio lights shaded the main deck at the camp where a grill and little kitchen were set up. Serene’s fresh pressed juices awaited us in mason jars with handmade labels. The inside of my shared yurt was so colorful and inviting. We had formal introductions at the patio tables; among us were dancers, yogis, musicians, comedians, actors, and writers. Some shared intentions for the retreat. The peaceful, safe vibe of the camp remained that way throughout — an extension of the beautiful nature scape and the retreat’s lovely leaders. We sipped our juices and journaled and got to know each other a bit. Scattered across the wooden tables were various tarot decks and astrological books. I pored through a book of birthdays and pondered my Jan. 28 tendencies… “Be wary of being too bossy” — dead on as usual.

We walked to the beach to find a glittering pink sunset. On pieces of paper we had all written one or two things we intended to release that day. We took turns burning the papers and tossing them in a bowl, appealing to the Hindu deities Lakshmi and Ganesha for a clearer path of abundance. Just as the last person took their turn over the bowl, an unexpected wave washed up and literally took the burned papers into the ocean. The fat, pink moon rose over the beach. My heart tingled. I squeezed the sand under my toes.

Photo By Ashley Kellam, featuring my soul sister, Daphne Driscoll

Dinner was warm, delicately spiced vegetable broth in a large mason jar, the comfort level of a feather blanket on a rainy day with no plans. I had prepared for the retreat cleanse by cutting sugar, caffeine, and gluten, so my delicate flavor senses took in the broth with full, wide-eyed effect. I made a mental note to take more trips involving better food. I had mostly overlooked the food component of the retreat and was now so awed by its glowing results.

In the light of the moon we layered up and set out our mats and blankets. Kimber led a meaningful song and a slow yin yoga practice to some beautiful music. In mountain pose we reached up and held the moon in our hands. In savasana we lay under blankets and completely let go. I was deeply connected to something inside, and the world felt far away.

It wasn’t until I came back to my body that I realized I had left.

Kimber was moving around us with a tuning bowl. The sound was all around me and part of me. I was seeing the tree branches above me with my eyes closed some how, then I arrived back in my earthly self and was surprised by my cold fingers and nose. I couldn’t tell you how much time had passed. Perhaps 5 minutes. Perhaps 4 hours.

Photo By Ashley Kellam

After yoga, Serene handed out warm maca almond milk. Shane and I sleepily exchanged out-of-body-experience stories and readied ourselves for the sleep of the century. I journaled for a few minutes then fell to slumber in a vortex of healing energy. My mind cleared and my heart buzzed. I felt the whole camp surrender, toasty with gratitude and inner peace.

I awoke around 7 and went straight back to the beach to finish the ritual of shedding my old self. The air was already warm, the water cold but inviting. I ‘felt’ a dialogue with the ocean swells, as if we were talking to each other. The ocean said something that made me laugh and cry all at once. I said goodbye to my old self and swam further in, letting the seaweed brush my shins and the sand fall away from my feet. I couldn’t have imagined a more beautiful place to be.

The morning brought more juice, meditation, and mindfulness. I shared moments of such beauty and spiritual magnitude with this smiling group. I connected so deeply with Shane in utmost appreciation and clarity of purpose. Kimber’s magic took us there. Serene’s fresh concoctions brought new life to our previously over-stimulated bodies. Above all it was simply freeing to pluck ourselves out of politics, daily routine, and conscious struggle and just breathe under the moon and sun with a group of like minded spirits. I feel the inner work continuing two days later. I am a new (albeit sunburnt) me, and I sense a new awareness of my relationships and a new approach to my dreams. At home Shane and I have already begun to put gratitude into better practice, and we’ve attempted a veggie miso broth to rival Serene’s (it’s not quite there yet).

It’s hard to put into words what Kimber does. ‘Magic’ may not be the apt term but her work is so ineffable and inexplicable by everyday reason that ‘magic’ really makes the most efficient sense. If you are interested in her work please visit her Crystalline Harmonics website for all things uniquely Kimber. She runs retreats, teaches classes, and takes appointments for healing sessions regularly. For all the power she possesses she could naturally be intimidating, but she is innately warm and comforting, safe and above judgment of any kind — like a goddess who is also a contented working mom, or a wise, peaceful guru with an ease of conversation. Her influence continues to bring magic into my life in unexpected ways.

This is my attempt to say thank you to Kimber, Serene, and everyone involved for such a beautiful Moon Magic Retreat. I hope it’s the first of many. :)

El Matador Beach: Photo By Ashley Kellam
Serene’s Handiwork: Photo By Nicole Carnevale, Label Artwork By Amanda Pille