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Rites and Rituals

Reaching the Moon through the Forest

moonforrest

The night has settled in. The birds are quiet, welcoming a brief respite from the rigors of Spring’s demand, as I enter the forest. The cool air feels heavy and damp upon my skin. I can taste the richness as the carpet of deep green breathes and fills the dark. Slowly, I make my way to a small clearing where the old cedars and firs tower above me, disappearing into star light. It feels more still here. Their sentient presence dominates this part of the forest, the open ground beneath them a testament of patient, enduring strength. I set down my knapsack and place the few items I’ve carried on the flat stone facing north. This month’s full moon, I know, seemingly passes directly over this copse of trees. The openings between the tree tops and the stars are small but on a clear night the full moon is still able to reach the forest floor with her light. After I find the moon’s path, I ignite a charcoal on the stone and burn an offering of sweetgrass and sage. I close my eyes as the scent of my offering triggers a ritually conditioned response, touching memories born within such moments as this. I stand still, letting my thoughts pour over all the different names that have been given to this full moon. The Growing Moon, the Egg Moon, the Sprouting Grass Moon and the Full Pink Moon, different perspectives from different realities and experiences, all of them seeking to reach a similar connection. I think about which name resonates with me, naturally, indifferent to my influence. My mind begins to quiet, as I cycle through my incomplete thoughts and ground them to contented conclusions. Who else has stood here before me, beneath these very trees, gazing at the moon and wondering? Does the forest remember? Just as the trees absorb, from above and below, the energies around them, might they draw in something more? I wonder what other information may lie within the stories of their rings. That makes me smile, and allows me to step into a magickal space. My ears now fill with the music of the river’s rush and I imagine the vast amounts of energy she carries from the mountain to the sea. I listen to the sounds of all who move inside the night, who thrive within the darkest shadows. I am so still and I feel, for these few sacred moments, accepted as a part of the forest. It is time to open my eyes and reach for my blade. I make a fist around the oaken hilt with my right hand, my left hand open to honor the Goddess. I seek solid ground for my feet. Facing the north, I mimic the form of the great trees around me,) (, with my arms and my legs, and I breathe. Three times do I breathe into the below and pull the energies up into my spirit. Three times do I breathe into the above and draw the energies down into myself. Then three times I breathe into my center to connect the above and below within my being. “Deep within the Earth I call”, I state into the dark, dropping to my knees and tracing a pentagram with my blade into the earth. I reach inward, waiting for the connection, then I stand. “Convergence of power and my will form,” I command, directing my blade out in front of me, beginning to trace a pentagram into the dark. I trace it three times saying,”Star of crystal, star of elements, star of life born. To coalesce, to manifest, to stand before,” Then starting with my blade focused at the top point of the star and pulling down to the left bottom point, I begin, ”In spirit (top), by truth (bottom left), by wisdom (middle right), with love (middle left), with strength (bottom right), and in magick of which I am sure (back to the top point).Energy of the Goddess, of the God and of the Core, into the star of life you flow once more. Around all points times three is true, the sphere is born in a band of blue”, I charge, drawing a circle around the star. Still facing the north and turning clock-wise I begin, “With Earth the band grows, by Air the band breathes, by Fire the band burns, with Water the band flows.”Around all the band circles, protects and grows, (repeat), around all the band circles protects and glows. And as it is willed, so mote it be,” I finish. At this point, I cleanse with earth and water, then purify with fire and air, before sealing the Circle. To seal the Circle I reach above and say,” with the Goddess and by the God above”, then reaching down, continue,”with the Goddess and by the God below, the circle is sealed by in the blue sphere I know. I stand within, I open my mind, with the love of the Goddess, truth shall I find. I stand within; I share and bind, with the strength of the God in the realm aside time. The Circle is cast, a sphere of blue, as strong as the will of me and the will of you”, I finish while taking the hand of the person to my left, if I am in a group, and having each successive person repeat the words, taking the hand to their left until the Circle is joined.

I wanted to share this cast for I feel it to be both poetic and powerful in its ability to combine the mind and the heart in creating a scared space. It is not only visual but equally physical, which I believe aids with the importance of pulling all of my being and senses into the moment. I have purposely omitted some of my own hand gestures and body movements because I think beyond this foundation, should lay the individual’s unique expression and connection. I am honored however to further share my own interpretation with any who might be interested.

To close or take down the Circle, I begin by releasing the seal. “With the Goddess and by the God above, with the Goddess and by the God below”, “the seal is opened to spiral down, returning to the band which I shall take around.”  I continue, starting in the north and turning counter clock-wise and say,” return to the Water with which you have flowed, return to the Fire by which you have burned, return to the Air by which you have breathed, return to the Earth from which you have grown and to the star of life from which you have shone” Then with my blade focused at the star’s top point and pulling down to the right to un-trace the pentagram I say, “ I release the star, the energies freed, may they teach, may they heal, may they open eyes to see. The Circle is open, but unbroken, merry meet, merry part and merry meet again. Blessed be.”