Archive for 9 April 2020

Moon Ritual Scrapbook

Two Questions to Ask

“What’s your ritual goal?” Celebrating on a beautiful evening? Performing moon magic? Attuning to the rhythms of earth’s nearest neighbor? Healing, banishing, blessing? Charging a ritual implement? Making the most of heightened sensitivity and emotion at this time? Singing a song, or writing a poem? Painting? Finally writing a difficult letter? Making love? A blend of several of these? Which ones are primary for you?

BAM Druid Gather

BAM Gathering, Full Moon, Sept. 2019

“What’s your moon?” Is it New, Full, Waxing, Waning? You can see the moon as a guide and also as a “map to manifestation”. What do each of its phases suggest to you?

With some preliminary answers to these two sets of questions, you’re already better prepared to proceed. Journal, do divinations, watch your dreams, doodle, pray, listen and watch the natural world holding your intent in your heart as ways to refine your preparation, and you’ll be rewarded with deepening insight and more possibilities that will come to you.

Moon Names

Different sources of lore will suggest a range of names and associations for each moon and month, depending on the tradition they draw from. One name for the April full moon just past is Pink Moon. Native American names can be evocative, and may help point you toward specific conditions and qualities present in your locale — if you live in North America. But Europe, Asia, Africa and Australia each have their own varied traditions and imagery that do the same thing. Images and stories give you material for your rites: they help you focus attention and emotion and imagination in the service of your ritual intent. They’re also fun!

Melody and Harmony

Just as important in a ritual as the words you choose are any musical instruments, dances, enactments, costumes, gestures. Or try an entire ritual without words. What can you do, rather than say, to perform your ritual? When I performed my Ovate self-initiation, by far the most significant components were flickering candlelight in my dark living-room, my ritual nakedness marked by charcoal runes on skin, and the silence. OBOD materials suggested a ritual. But it was the personal experience, including the details I just mentioned, that made mine memorable and transformative.

A Basic Script

Here’s a sample “barest-bones” mini-script you can elaborate with your own intent, setting, companions and creativity. Treat it as you would the grain of sand that becomes a pearl in an oyster — an irritant that can grow and take shape and become a thing of beauty. Don’t like part or all of it? That’s fine! Change it!

Full/new/dark Moon of (month name), I/we greet you here and now.

I/we bring (specific offering, intention, dedication, vow) as token(s) of my/our intent.

Bless/heal/enlighten (you, your gathered group, a project, an object, the coming day).

You could, for example, fit in non-verbal ritual elements before and after each spoken part. How will you signal your rite has begun? Bells, drums, horns, etc. each have distinctive voices to contribute. Lights, incense, candles, torches all have roles they can play. “Moon foods” — the ancient mangiare in bianco (literally, “to eat in white”) of Italy — comes to mind. White wine, pale fruit juices, bananas, nuts, pasta, pears, apples, beans, bread, other pastries, etc. can all serve — and be served at your rite! “Season to taste” in addition to being a cooking instruction is a wonderful piece of ritual advice.

A Local Lunar Calendar

Consider making a list of each moon for the current year — your own lunar calendar, with room for notes, pictures, additions, poems, etc. Note the dates of the moon phases each month, and also your local season. June in North America is sometimes called “Strawberry Moon” for the fruit coming into season then, but of course that doesn’t work in the Southern Hemisphere — it’s the middle of winter then!

Personalizing

What personal events and associations might you include in your rituals for each moon? May, for instance, is the Moon of my birth, and it’s also Beltane Moon, so any moon ritual with that moon will feel different to other moons, even if I used the “same” script each time. What’s the local weather during each moon? How might land and sky spirits be included? What other rites and celebrations happen where you live? Who do you want to invite to celebrate with you? If you’re typically “alone” for such things, what ancestors feel right to include? When will you walk/dance/play with your animal guide, guardian, etc?

birchbk

“backyard birch” bark for ritual writing

What props do you already have that can be included, or perhaps dedicated, in a rite? The quartz you picked up on a walk, the statue or bowl or cup that caught your eye in a shop or at a flea market or antique auction and now rests on a shelf? That gift from a relative or friend you’ve had for ages? A ring you’ve inherited from an aunt or grandmother?

The strips of birchbark from our backyard tree, in addition to providing great kindling, are excellent for writing during a ritual: ogham, runes, blessings, “give-aways” of things participants don’t want, commemorations (stitched/bound while still supple into a booklet). These strips can be burnt, composted, or saved as appropriate.

hazelnecklace

hazelnut necklace

Our Vermont seed-group, the Well of Segais, features the hazel among its mythic associations and symbols — the nut that feeds the Salmon of Wisdom, which some OBOD groves use to represent the Power or Guardian of the West and of Water. Ground symbols in objects and you make the ritual that much more accessible to the senses, imagination and memory. As a group gift, Mary Anna drilled hazelnuts and made up packets with thread for us each to make our own necklaces: “nine hazels of wisdom”. An appropriate and personal piece of ritual gear for a moon ritual!

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I bless you in each of your moons,
your fullness and your dark nights.
I bless you in your changing faces,
in the pearl shadow of your twilight.

In between, when I dance or dream,
both or neither, I trade places
with tree, beast, spirit of the grove,
soon or late uncovering
another doorway to your sky.

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