04 January 2011

New Moon

It is the new moon as I write this.  I love new moons.  It feels like a blank slate where everything is possible.  Don’t get me wrong, I love the power of a full moon but it just isn’t quite the same.  There’s something about the depth of the night when they’re no moon.  It’s like there’s a stillness that goes far beyond sleep, almost as if you could walk right into another world if you could find the path.

Back when I first started practicing magick I diligently celebrated every new and full moon esbat with a formal ritual.  Nowadays I celebrate the moon a little differently.  I still love doing big formal ritual, but I generally only bother if I have some specific magickal working that I want to give a boost.  If my working is only devotional I usually don’t pull out the props.  My gods don’t care whether my candles are pure beeswax or if my athame is damascus steel.  The gods can see into our hearts and minds and as long as your intent is pure and strong, everything else is just window dressing.

I like to celebrate the New Moon with some quiet contemplation.  I generally light a tea light or two (black if I have them – I stock up during Halloween), make a nice cup of tea, and have a seat on the couch in my office.  I’ll spend some time writing in my journal and generally decompressing.  I find that writing in my journal helps me to quiet all the crazed mish-mosh in my head.  It always seems that once my thoughts are on paper and outside my head I can look at them much more objectively.

If I feel the need I’ll break out one of my tarot or oracle decks and do some divination.  I have more than a dozen different decks, stones, runes, and pendulums, but I seem to always have one or two that stand out as the right ones to use for any given question.  I generally use beautifully illustrated cards, like the Brian Froud Hear of Faery Oracle, because the images speak to me in a way that stones or runes just don’t.  Although I do have a set of divination tiles that I created that I use for special occasions (I’ll blog about them in detail later).  The cards generally help me sort through all the things that confound me and I end up with a much clearer head.

I always close my esbats by communicating with deity.  Most of the time this involves having a chat with my spirit guide.  Yes, a chat.  I don’t conjure, summon, or make offerings to my spirit guide (not that he minds the occasional offering).  If I’m doing magick he just shows up and we chat.  It’s rather like having an imaginary friend who’s much wiser than you are.  I chat with him and get the answers I need.  Sometimes, when the situation is very complicated or I feel the need, I will go and communicate directly with the Crone - that is a bit more complicated.  The Hag is not a kind and gentle Goddess; she won’t speak to me directly unless I’ve earned the right.  When I speak to her I have to journey to her realm (the underworld), pass her guards, and usually make some kind of sacrifice.  This sacrifice is usually mental, though occasionally it’s physical (like sitting in an uncomfortable position for a long time or being really cold)*.  Most often my sacrifice is to look into what I call Dorian Grey’s Mirror.  Taking a good look at one’s weakest, nastiest, most base personal traits is a lot more difficult than you think, and when that look is powered by harsh winter it can be downright painful.  Once I’ve proven my worthiness the Crone will instruct me as she sees fit.

Simple as they are, my esbats are profoundly meaningful to me.  I always take the time to thank my Lady and my guide when they’ve helped me and will often burn some incense for them, but that’s really the most formal thing I do.  Just taking the time to reflect and be still, to really think about what my spirituality means to me is all I need to do.  My Lady knows my heart and it is hers.

All that matters it that which puts you in the sight of your God.

* Note – Sacrifice to my Goddess NEVER involves other living creatures.  I do not kill or injure others in my workings.  The blood of another is not mine to give.  If blood is ever involved in my workings it’s my own.

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