Tag Archives: Moon

A Simple Lunar Ritual for the October Full Moon

Any good ritual will have three parts to it, a beginning or Ingress (the preparation), a middle where the congregants, corporeal and otherwise, also called Congress, and the ending wherein the rite is made final and closed, called Egress. This is the pattern that I follow when constructing rituals. Here is a simple one to be performed this weekend, best if done tonight during the penumbral eclipse (for residents of North America).

For this rite you will need the following:
• A ritual tool such as knife or wand
• Three pinches of sea salt in water for asperging
• Natural, botanical based incense on charcoal
• A chalice of wine, beer, liquor, or natural fruit juice
• A paton of bread, cakes, or cookies (gluten-free counts! • But no processed prepackaged junk!)
• A piece of paper for a petition spell, or optionally a length of twine or string for knot magic
• An altar decorated with Lunar symbolism or how you like it

Ingress:
Purify space by asperging and censing
Cast the Circle
Conjure the Quarters

Congress:
Prayer to Selene for any Spell
Spellcraft
Communion

Egress:
Thanksgiving
Open Quarters
Close Circle

Mix the salt and water, say:

“Creature of the Marriage of Earth and Water, bless and purify this space.”

Place a scoop of incense on the glowing hot coal:

“Creature of the Marriage of Fire and Air, bless and protect this space.”

Taking ritual tool in hand, walk clockwise in a circle three times around the area while chanting:

“Thrice around the Witches’ Wheel,
We tread the bounds from toe to heal,
From solid land to starry sky
To Underground where Mighty Dead lie,
With this chant inside we seal
The magic of the Witches’ Wheel.”

Then, turn to face the Eastern Quarter:

“From the East we conjure the Spirits of Hotness and Fire, to sanctify this space and join in our rites.”

To the South:

“From the South we conjure the Spirits of Wetness and
Air, to sanctify this space and join in our rites.”

To the West:

“From the West we conjure the Spirits of Coldness and Water, to sanctify this space and join in our rites.”

To the North:

“From the North we conjure the Spirits of Dryness and Earth, to sanctify this space and join in our rites.”

Standing in the Center:

“The Four Quarters of the World United, the Circumference becomes the Center, and the Center the Circumference.”

Then, looking towards the physical Moon if possible, or holding Her form in your imagination, recite the ancient Prayer to Selene:

Prayer to Selene for any spell (PGM IV 2785-2890)

Come to me, o beloved mistress, three-faced Selene;
kindly hear my sacred chants;
Night’s ornament, Youthful One, Light Bringer to mortals,
O child of morn who rides upon fierce bulls,
Queen who drives your chariot on equal course with Helios,
You dance with the triple forms of the triple Graces
As you revel with the stars.
You are justice and the threads of Fate:
Klotho and Lachesis and Atropos
Three-headed, you are Tisiphone, Megaira, Alekto, many-formed,
who arm your hands with dreaded, murky lamps,
who shake locks of fearful serpents on your brow,
whose mouths sound the roar of bulls,
whose womb Is decked with the scales of creeping things,
With pois’nous rows of serpents down your back,
Bound down with horrifying chains
Night-crier, bull-faced, loving solitude,
Bull-headed, you have eyes of bulls, the voice of dogs;
you hide your forms in shanks of lions,
Your ankle is wolf-shaped,
fierce dogs are dear to you, wherefore they call you Hekate,
Many-named, Mene, cleaving air just like Dart-shooter Artemis, Persephone,
Shooter of deer, night shining, triple-sounding,
Triple-headed, triple-voiced Selene
Triple-pointed, triple-faced, triple-necked, And goddess of the triple ways,
who hold Untiring flaming fire in triple baskets,
you who oft frequent the triple way
And rule the triple decades, unto me who is calling you
be gracious and with kindness give heed,
you who protect the spacious world at night,
before whom daimons quake in fear
And gods immortal tremble, goddess who Exalt men,
you of many names, who bear fair offspring, bull-eyed, horned,
mother of gods and men, and nature, mother of all things,
For you frequent Olympos, and traverse the broad, boundless chasm.
Beginning and end are you, and you alone rule all.
For all things are from you, and in you, Eternal One,
do all things come to their end.

Spellcraft:
This is largely up to the individual. I recommend prefer writing out a petition and burning or burying it. Or you can try knot magic, evoking your wishes in your imagination and binding them to reality by tying 3, 6, or 9 knots in it.

Communion:

Take up your ritual tool and the chalice, say:

“This, the Blood of the Moon, I sanctify in order that it may vivify and bless our bodies and spirits.”

Do the same with the paton:

“This, the Flesh of the Sun, I sanctify in order that it may nourish and bless us.”

Sprinkle a little wine out onto the cakes.

The wine and cakes are passed around the circle, each person taking a drink and a bite and sincerely offering the communion to the next person with the words “May you never hunger, May you never thirst.”

At this point the circle may be kept open and a dance or game may be performed. But, it is best to close it and thank the spirits in attendance.

Simply return to the Northern Quarter and, walking counterclockwise, return to each quarter and say:

“Spirits of (this direction) we give thanksgiving to your presence and power, go now and let there be everlasting peace between us.”

Then, continue to walk counterclockwise around the circle three times. As you walk imagine the magic of the circle dissolving back into reality.

Take the remnants of the communion cakes and wine, go outside and look towards the Moon. Dig a shallow hole and pour the remnants in it as a cthonic offering.

This rite is done. So Mote It Be.

Advertisements

Celebrations of the Vernal Equinox

By J.A. Doyle, the Wizard of Grand

In 2013, the Vernal Equinox will take place on March 20th

The word “Equinox” comes from the Latin words meaning “equal-night.” On two days a year, in the Spring and in the Autumn, we experience near-equal times of day and night. The Spring Equinox is the astrological New Year, when the Sun enters the sign of Ares. In astrology, the sign of Aries the Ram is ruled by the Red Planet, called Mars by the Romans and Ares by the Greeks. The month of March was named so by the Romans in honor of Mars, and they held great festivals for Mars during this time. In Ancient Mesopotamia, the Babylonians celebrated their New Year at the New Moon after the Spring Equinox in celebration of the Epic of Creation and the triumph of the God Marduk over the Dragon-Goddess Tiamat. The Israelites adopted the Babylonian calender and also celebrated the Spring Equinox as their New Year, eventually holding “Pesach,” or Passover, in honor of the Exodus of the Jews from Egyptian slavery.

Tiamat and Marduk

The Germanic Eostre, Goddess of Dawn and Spring

During the 2nd-Century, the early Christian Church rendered “Pesach” into the Greek “Pascha” and celebrated the Resurrection of Christ during this time. As Christianity spread into Northern Europe, they found the Germanic Pagans celebrating the “Eostarmonath”, first attested to by the 8th-Century monk, Bede the Venerable. Bede claims that the Pagans had honored the Spring and dawn goddess Eostar during this month, and that this practice had died out by his lifetime but the people still call the “Paschal season” by the old name. So, we see now how “Passover” became “Easter.”

The festival of Easter retained many older Pagan symbols and traditions. Legends of Slain and Resurrected Gods or Heroes were widespread in Antiquity, and many of their rituals were celebrated around the Spring Equinox. Even today, Easter is determined by a Lunar reckoning, being observed at the Sunday after the Full Moon that falls after the Spring Equinox. The March Hare, or “Easter Bunny,” was associated with copious fertility and the Spring Equinox in Antiquity, also thought to be a hermaphrodite by some ancient writers. Easter ceremonies also often include great fires (the zodiacal sign of Ares is elementally associated with Fire), and scapegoating rituals meant to cleanse the community of sin. Sometimes the two are combined, such as in the burning of an effigy of Judas Iscariot, practiced by many Mediterranean and South American communities. 

Netherlanders watching the Eostar-fire

Passover Meal

Eggs, in particular, have been associated with the Spring Equinox throughout history. Eggs are a symbol of new life, fertility, and the cycle of life. The Seder plate of Passover includes an egg and Early Christians would have had knowledge of, if not participation in, this. Also, because of the food-restrictions during Lent in the Middle Ages, Easter-tide was when eggs could be reintroduced to the diet. Mesopotamian and Mediterranean Christians dyed eggs red to symbolize the blood shed from Christ, and developed an egg-cracking ritual wherein the participants tap eggs together and whoever had an egg that remains intact at the end receives good luck. A popular folk tradition, particularly in North America, is the balancing of an egg on it’s tip. While may claim it can only be done on the two Equinox days, I must admit I have seen it done at other times. I prefer to think that to balance an egg on the Equinox is to only invite good luck and balance into one’s life, or at least a sense of accomplishment.

Naturally Dyed Easter Eggs

St. Patrick

A few days before the Equinox, the Feast of Saint Patrick is celebrated on March 17th. Commonly associated with the color green, shamrocks, and great feasting, St. Patrick’s Day has become a modern expression of an ancient desire to celebrate the Spring (as well as a brief break from Lenten restrictions). According to legend, St. Patrick was sent by Rome to Ireland to spread Christianity. He allegedly used the shamrock with its three-leaves to explain the nature of the Holy Trinity to the Irish Pagans. The legend of St. Patrick chasing serpents from the Emerald Isle is an allegory of his conversion of Druidic peoples. Through this association with serpents St. Patrick was, through syncretism, identified the Vodun creator spirit and father of the loa, Damballah Wedo, the white serpent. His feast is celebrated in Haiti and New Orleans on March 17th. Damballah is also said to hold the Cosmic Egg that contains all of Creation in his mouth. Serpents, in general, are also symbols of resurrection and rebirth because of their shedding. Interestingly enough, the earliest celebration of the Spring Equinox by the Babylonians focused on the slaying of a serpent-like Goddess and the creation of the World from her corpse. The connection of serpents and the arrival of Spring is an ancient conception.

Damballah Wedo’s Veve

What we see throughout history is a celebration of resurrection, new life, and fertility. Observances to mark these celebrations are made by the position of the Sun, Moon, and stars, as well as by the warming of the air and the return of green to the Earth. Humans have performed rituals throughout history in honor of the Slain and Resurrected, parallel to the increasing sunlight of early Spring. Fires are made heaping up to the skies, images representing what we wish to cast off are immolated with the promise of new growth. In celebrating the Spring Equinox, with symbols of eggs, hares, serpents, and divine figures victorious over Death, we align with the powers that these symbols hold, and reaffirm our connection to the cycles of Nature and the omnipresence of God. It is a time to allow ourselves, like Nature, to rise up towards the Light of the Sun and begin to grow anew. It is time to celebrate the Re-Creation of the World.

The Magical Calendar

“…you will need to know about the times and seasons of the witches’ year. These are the correct times when you will be able to recharge your magical batteries and draw down to yourself the new currents of elemental power to work your spells.” –Paul Huson, Mastering Witchcraft, Ch. 1 ‘Magical Times and Seasons’

Heliocentric Zodiac

The Magical Calendar is one that follows the natural progression of seasons, as influenced by the Sun, Moon, myriad Stars and the weather. It began as the obsessive observation of the Heavens by our Ancestors. There was something unique in our consciousness that caused us to wonder up at the ceaselessly rotating firmament. After observing celestial events for so long, early civilizations began to realize correlations between the Heavens and the Earth. It was this ancestral practice that led to sciences such as astronomy and meteorology, study of the stars and the weather. Even today, many “rational” people believe in or at least take interest in their zodiac sign. Even if you do or do not believe in or agree with Astrolatry, it is impossible to deny the historical influence celestial observation has had in the creating of calendars.

The modern Magical Calendar that many Neo-Pagans are familiar with are 8 holy days arranged around a wheel, commonly called the “Wheel of the Year”. This model is generally accepted to be the best guide to seasonal progression. The 8 days of the Wheel follow the life of the Sun and the fertility of the Land. However, if the land you live in is not similar to that of Northern Europe, this model might not be so useful. In fact, many of the holidays on the Wheel were never celebrated by the ancient pagans in the same way that they are observed today. The Church of the Middle Ages absorbed many different traditional European pagan festivals from several different native cultures. Through this absorption and later reclamation of the pagan symbolism of the Christian Liturgical year by the Occult Revival at the turn of the last century, the modern Neo-Pagan community has a standard calender many can agree upon.

General Neo-Pagan Wheel of the Year

 The Moon has also been used as a timepiece perhaps longer than the Solar calendar. The Lady’s face changes shape every day and She visits nearly each zodiac sign every month. In fact, the English words “month” and “moon” are etymologically related. Modern Witches and Pagans are familiar with tracking the phases of the Moon, most likely holding celebrations on the Full and Dark Moons. There are also the 28 Mansions of the Moon, an art originating in Near East that has been seemingly vacant from Neo-Pagan teaching, until recently.

Lunar Mansions

We see the same cosmic truth in the cyclical pattern of the Lunar “Moonth” and the Solar Year. Ascent, Zenith, Descent, Nadir. Waxing, Full, Waning, Dark. Dawn, Midday, Dusk, Midnight. Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter. Sowing, Growing, Ripening, Reaping. Sex, Youth, Age, Death. The Wheel of the Year, the Magical Calendar, the festivals of Witches, Magicians and Pagans abound are the observation and celebration of the Sun and Moon and their interplay with the Earth and Her fertility and sterility. As above, so below, no?

We heretic folk also take into account the passing of the Planets passing through the constellations of the Zodiac: Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius, and Pisces. Some of us take into account 10 Planets or more (always including the luminaries, the Sun and Moon), but there are those of us who only look to the sacred 7: Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Sol, Venus, Mercury, and Luna. They rove around the firmament free from the invisible grip the other stars are seemingly held captive by, and we can see them with our naked, but trained, eye. These are the same lights that fascinated our ancient ancestors, descending from the trees and ascending from the caves. So great was their awe of these free-traveling  stars that they called them gods.

Weekday Calendar

The Chaldean Order, that is the 7 planets arranged by the speed at which they travel through our visual sky, from fastest to slowest are the Moon, Mercury, Venus, the Sun, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn. Arranged in the pattern of the Heptagram, the 7 planets flesh out the pattern of the days of the week. So, not only does the complete Magical Calendar form the Solar Year and Lunar Month, as ruled by the relationship of the luminaries with the Earth and their passage through the zodiac, it also encompasses the 7 days of the week overseen by the 7 classical planets. Even the 24 hours of each day are divided and ruled by the planets.

Generally, the accepted calculation of the Planetary hours runs thus: at Dawn of the Day in Question, the first hour is ruled by the Planet of that Day in Question and follows the Chaldean Order after that. So on Friday, the Day of Venus, at Dawn is the Hour of Venus and is followed by the Hour of Mercury. These hours are not equal hours like we have on our clocks. Only at the Equinoxes are the Planetary Hours equal.

From the first stirrings of astrology in the Near East, to the development of the Mysteries in the Mediterranean, to the observations of the Celts and Germanic tribes, and the Holy Days of the Church, rediscovered by the Occult revival,, the reclaiming of our ancestral celebrations, these are the sacred moments that the Western Mysteries  have given us.

Now what should you do with them if you are interested? Study the meanings, the symbols, the stories, the myths. Study the science, the pattern, the ebb and flow. Spend time in the midst of the change of seasons, experience the transformation in your environment and within yourself. Build annual rituals to help tie yourself to the cycles that can be based upon pre-existing calendars or that which is sent from one’s own Genius. When one listens to the rhythm of Nature, one can begin dancing with Her.