Friday, January 9, 2009

Had a conversation with a friend yesterday... a little bit about my spirituality and how she is trying to figure hers out, and I fear I was a bit confusing... because it all IS a bit confusing, even to me. But They (The Powers That Be) insist that I need to share this stuff so I am going to try to do a bit of writing about it. And yea, it fits in this journal because it is as much as anything why I am in Maine, having been "called" to the northlands.

However, tomorrow is the first full moon of the year and tonight is the night I sit by the fire and spend time with my Gods and so that is a bit of what I am going to write about. My friend said that she connects well with the Moon and with Fire, so maybe these words will make a bit more sense than my rambling conversation of recent days.

As the moon cycles, many folks use that waxing and waning to invoke and banish things in their lives. It is in many ways I think a mirror of the yearly cycle, just that we get 13 chances (more or less) in a year to work it.

As a side bar here, let me insert that traditional cultures do not all view the sun and the moon in the same way. When I first started my path, I related to the moon as a representative of the female principle, and the moon as male... and many pagan folk tie the traditional stories of the birth of the baby God at Yule, his coming of age with the spring and becoming a consort of the Goddess, her opulent fertility of the summer and his strength in the summer sunlight, and they watch him as he ages through the fall, to die in late autumn. However the northern tradition sees the moon as masculine (Mani) and the sun as femminine (Sunna), as the sun is the source of all growth and the moon merely shines by her light. Only goes to show, I guess, the variety of ways of experiencing the universe. Call me confused or nontraditional, but I guess at this point I am kind of blending both ways of seeing them. For when I sit by the fire and talk to the Moon each month at New and Full, it is Goddess I see reflected there.
The Moons also have a variety of traditional names from various cultures. This year I can easily see calling tomorrow's incarnation the Ice Moon, for the land outside my windows is white and frozen. In the dark part of the year, here in the northlands, Ice abounds for many months, but as this is the first full moon after what I think of as the "bottom" of the year, Ice is a good metaphor for me. Isa, the Rune, comes to mind here. This rune says there is no immediate possibility of change. According to Freya Aswynn, "it could take as long as three months before things start melting" -- and those of us who live and garden in the North will immediately know this truth.

This Full moon occurs astrologically in the sign Cancer. This is a water sign and is ruled by the moon. In astrology this sign is said to relate to emotions, intuition and imagination.

And in my workings with Frigga and her Handmaidens, this is Var's moon. Var wants truth told and promises kept.

So maybe you can begin to see a theme here... ice surrounds, stilling the Earth for a season of rest and encouraging us to take to our caves, to sit by the fire in contemplation and planning. Fire melts ice... and by the fire (whether actual or metaphoric) we all naturally seem to want to look back over the previous year and make plans for the coming seasons. (as shown by the plethora of 2008 retrospectives in print and on the airwaves). Those of us who garden are reviewing last year's successes and challenges and preparing seed orders for the coming year. Perhaps we have made New Years resolutions, or set goals for the coming year.

If not, this is a time to do so, calling on the energies of the Universe to help us manifest those worthy goals.

If you have never done such things before, you need not rouse the neighborhood nor even disturb the cat in her repose by the fire. Simply bring your rocker near to the stove -- or find a comfy chair with a table nearby on which you can set even a small candle in a deep, fireproof container (yes, I have numerous metal cauldrons for this purpose but in a pinch almost anything will do). Grab something to write with and something to write on (this CAN be your laptop, but make sure to also grab an old fashioned bit of paper and at least a dull crayon as well) and something to drink and with which to toast the Gods (I usually use apple juice, sometimes hard cider or even the pure, cold water from our well) and the set a spell... until the house quiets (or the background sounds fade into the background and your housemates become involved in their own pursuits).

I usually stand, facing the four directions in turn as I invoke the elements to create sacred space but even this is not ultimately necessary as you can stay seated and send your mind in each direction, looking out from your home at familiar surroundings in your minds eye as you work.

If you are not sure what direction "goes with" what element, or even are unclear on the directions, do not fret either... You can just go with the directions -- or the elements without connecting them... or even just skip this part if you do not connect to it straightaway.

But when doing Moon working I invoke Earth facing North (as a daughter of the earth and the north, this is my home turf so to speak... so I start here, thinking or speaking of the qualities of Earth... it is solid, it sustains us, it is quiet and safety, it is the home of the Bear and the deer... ), Air facing East (the breath of life and of inspiration, of new beginnings and change), Fire facing South (passion, heat, energy, strength) and Water facing West (cleansing, flowing, slowly changing).

And then I light the candle in the cauldron and sit by the fire and do my work. This Moon will be good for listing -- and expressing thanks -- for the growth and challenges of the past year. And for turning to the new cycle and seeing yourself carrying those threads into the future, weaving others in as well to build upon what you have accomplished. And as I write my goals for the year, I make sure they are DOable goals, breaking them down into smaller parts as needed (think of yourself as taking a little field trip into the future, sprinkling milestones and waymarkers along the way -- but not breadcrumbs... they tend to get eaten ) and when I am done I write each of the main goals on a small strip of paper and burn them in the fire, watching the bits of smoke waft upwards, seeing the all-but-invisible threads that will bring these goals into the world beginning to form.

When I am done with this, I sit a bit in contemplation, waiting for the stray unbidden thoughts that are often the way in which I recieve guidance and inspiration.

I lift my glass and toast the Gods of my Ancestors, and specifically Frigga, Odin and the Handmaiden whose moom I am celebrating (in this case, Var). I give thanks to the Directions and the elements, telling them they are free to go but may stay or return at their leisure and then I take the remaining drink to the back door and standing on the landing, I once again toast the Gods, and give them thanks for Abundance and with the words "From the Gods to the Earth to Us, from us to the Earth to the Gods" pour the remaining drink upon the Earth.

So Be It.

Blessings upon all this full moon.


Anonymous said...

My dear friend...this may well have been directed towards me since it was not too long ago that we spoke of such things. :) For some reason, I was prompted to come here for the first time in ages and read your words. This season has been so super busy that I have lost connections w/those I hold dear, including you and K. THANK YOU for taking the time these weeks ago to blog about this, and I give thanks to the powers that be as well... for bringing me here tonight. I have made some progress, and will continue to do so. Know that I love you..and will be in touch soon. ;)


and enjoy tonight as you sit in class w/T. :)

Jj Starwalker said...

I dunno if you will see this comment, A, but no, it was with a mutual friend of ours, whom you have yet to meet in person... a fellow tiller of the earth.

I figured things were still busy. T filled me in some. Class was good, I learned a lot and was reminded of much that I once knew.