On the night of the last full moon, and on a bit of a whim, I headed to the coast to take part in an event that has been nibbling away at my psyche for some time: namely, a Brighton New Moon Bathing and Salutations event hosted by Ruby Moon Gym to Swim and Green Tree Goodness. It was a cold (COLD) May evening and I really wasn’t sure what to expect.
An unusual gathering
I arrived early, Billy no mates. But slowly the beach started to fill with dry robe-clad women, a few men and a sense of excitement. I got talking to the woman next to me who had driven all the way from Milton Keynes in a campervan with her elderly mother to take part. Then we gathered in a circle and started our salutations, designed to help us embrace the power of the full moon and empower us to step up into our personal power, preparing our unconscious mind for transformation. The session was led by Prue from Green Tree Goodness and she made it both fun and thought-provoking all at the same time.
I expected to feel silly but not a bit of it. When you’re surrounded by the best part of 70 strangers embracing the ritual, you’d feel pretty silly as a doubter. So I stretched and reached wholeheartedly, envisioning the best possible version of myself! I particularly liked the part where we grounded our feet and then wiggled about representing the turbulent times of the month of change ahead and how we’d need to keep grounded.
Then before I knew it, it was swimming gear on, and in we went. En masse, a full charge of feminine, lunar energy into the sea. It was brilliant. A little cold yes, but stress-busting, energising, and invigorating even with heavy cloud cover obscuring the moon! Some just had a quick dip, others lingered, most of us rode the waves and laughed unapologetically before the chill factor won the day.
As I headed back along the seafront having dried off and warmed up, I glanced back at the cloudy sky, just to catch sight of a low and shimmering moon emerge very briefly from behind the cloud. No photo could really do it justice, it was just one of those rare and special moments which you don’t quickly forget.
The Ruby Moon concept
The Brighton moon bathing event’s co-host, RubyMoon Gym to Swim, is a non-profit organisation. Based in Brighton, they make ethical and sustainable swim and activewear that empowers women through Micro Finance with 100% of their profits going towards loans to women entrepreneurs in developing countries across the globe. When I caught up with founder, Jo Godden, they’d helped over 1200 women and their families to find a route out of poverty.
RubyMoon work in collaboration with Healthyseas.org, an NGO that collects ghost fishing nets from the oceans. These are then transformed into long-lasting swim and sportswear products using a process that uses 42% fewer carbon emissions when compared with similar products.
Catching up with Jo, I was curious as to how her life had evolved from working in the glamourous and international world of swimwear and lingerie to helping pioneering female entrepreneurs in developing countries. She explained,
“I moved back to the UK in 2009, during the recession, which gave me time to reflect, and research. I was horrified by what I learnt about the fashion industry I’d been part of, so I set about proving that it is possible to produce swim and activewear that brings a positive benefit to the planet rather than further degrading it. We’ve come a long way since then and we’re now working with two universities to find ways to reduce the massive 120,000-kilo tonnes of sportswear waste.
We’ve also launched a membership programme with a view to helping people get back to the mentality of saving up for clothing items that they’ll love and keep for a long time. It’s all about cherishing items rather than a disposable culture. And we’re working with a couple of impressive brand ambassadors including Katie Rood, vegan athlete and centre forward for New Zealand (and until recently for Lewes FC).
I started sea swimming last summer and the group I was swimming with progressively grew. There’s an obvious and natural synergy between our moon bathing and RubyMoon. We also use the event, to showcase local women and their businesses.”
I appreciate moon bathing and sea swimming aren’t everyone’s cup of tea – although I have to say, I’d wholeheartedly recommend it. But the overall point about slow and ethical fashion that gives back is something for everyone. Apart from releasing a desire to get back into the water, my moon bathing experience has led me to reflect on my drawer full of nylon and lycra sports gear and think about ways to be more proactive in supporting the health and wellbeing of the planet. So, next time you have a bit of a whim or an impulse to do something different, grab it, run with it and see where it takes you!
The co-host of the moon salutations event was Brighton the enigmatic Prue Greentree, founder of Greentree Goodness and yoga instructor, all-year swimmer.
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