The full moon is about completion. It is like a pregnant woman about to give birth. The energy is high and in some cases giddy.
There are a lot of people who revel in the energy of the full moon. They can take it in and use it to the best of their ability.
I am not one of those people. During the full moon, I am tired, crabby, and stressed. I feel overloaded by the energy. I’ve done a number of full moon rituals, the energy is incredibly empowering but for me it is also very overwhelming. It doesn’t matter how I ground, what techniques are used, around the full moon I find myself trying to hide from everything.
Every month for a day or two I feel bombarded by the energy and the magic of the moon. It disrupts my ability to concentrate and meditate. Ironically I sleep better during the full moon which as a long time insomniac is a blessing.
Since I find this time of the month overpowering, I do things to offset the overload of energy. One of the best things is to just be alone. It helps me cope with my emotions and the anxiety of the days. Now I work in a busy office with faculty, student workers, and students in and out of my office all day long. I’m not getting any peace and quiet at my day job.
This means at night I have to find a way to send out the overload of energy and bring calm and balance to my mind and spirit. This month I’m focusing on gifts as next month I need to have holiday gifts done by the first week of December.
Crocheting is my craft of choice. I love the idea of taking yarn and creating something useful from it. I also love being able to put intent into each of my projects. As I’m making the items for other people, I keep in mind how they will use the item and how I want it to make them feel.
This year I’m making makeup pads, wash cloths and little bags to put the makeup pads into for washing. As I make each one, I think about how it is meant for cleansing their face, how it will help them wash away a mask they put on for society and hopefully get back to their true self.
By focusing on the purpose of the item, I imbue the energy needed to help them with that task. I also imbue it with respect, caring, and joy because I enjoy my student workers and their bright energy. I want them to feel the joy of the gift I’m giving them.
While I’m sitting crocheting, I channel the excess energy from the moon into my work. It puts the positive and loving energy into the item I’m making and helps me cope with the excess of energy that can overwhelm me.
Art by Pascal Campion
My Women’s Sacred Circle has begun a new year with a different plan, and it was a great opportunity for me to jump back in after a busy summer. They split it into two monthly meetings. One is to be similar to what we had been doing, which was like a book club, where we will be reading Caroline Myss’ “Sacred Contracts” (last year it focused on Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estés’ “Women Who Run With The Wolves” which is a favorite of mine) and keeping a journal for the work we do in that book. The other meeting will be a moon circle on the night of the full moon, where we will do ritual together and discuss the symbolism of that month’s moon. Last month it was the Hunter’s Moon. :) We will also be keeping a moon journal for this meeting.
So I’m keeping two new paper journals, and reading a book, and attending these two gatherings. Next month I’m facilitating the moon circle and presenting knowledge about December’s Cold Moon. My eldest daughter (age 16) is going to the moon circles with me, and she signed up to facilitate one of the months, as well. I was very pleased that she not only came with me, but wanted to participate fully, like the adults, with a commitment for future meetings. I let her pick one of a particular set of blank journals I have, and so our journals sort of match. :) (I also have generic mother-daughter journals with both of my daughters, which we pass back & forth. I’m into journaling! :D)
I may play with the moon journal a bit, and not only track the waxing and waning energies in my life, but also add a more intuitive, poetic bit of writing. Maybe drawings, too. Perhaps even some dream journaling. Moon energy seems to call for such creativity and etherealness. I never do this, but I felt the urge to use a pencil in that journal, so I have been doing so, and thinking about the impermanence and fragility of dreamy moon-silver… secret shinings in the dark that come and go. In that spirit, I write these lunar meditations in grey graphite. :)
I remember nights of my youth, talking to the moon on my roof, and pulling my bed over to the window, so I could sleep in a moonpool. I named my future husband “Moonlight” in my poetry. I preferred (and still do) silver over gold. And yet, I never thought of myself as having a thing for the Moon. Well, I do now! It joins the thing I have for the Sun, which grew in me as an adult.
So I look forward to getting to know the women of the circle better, and perhaps sharing friends with my daughter. I also look forward to sharing feminine energies and etherealities with them, as well as diving deep on my own into moon lore, moon energy, dreams, and creativity, which have all been calling me like a bell lately.
P.S. Speaking of creativity, I’ve also begun singing with the Chancel Choir. It has been around 20 years since I sang with a choir! It feels so good to be making music with people, again! I’ve missed it so much! But I was surprised by how out-of-shape my voice is. Seriously, it has never been hard to sing, before. So I’m practicing at home every day, and doing warm-ups. At least my sight-reading skill was still intact! We’re currently working on a gorgeous song cycle written by the minister of a neighboring UU church (lyrics) and her partner (composer), called “Songs of the Earth” which we will be singing at an interfaith concert series at the Mormon Temple Square. It’s making me want to work with a composer to make Pagan songs, like a sabbat cycle, or myth cycle, or anything, really. I’m rekindling my musical flame, and it feels good!
I hear her in the trees
The Crone is knocking
I feel her in my knees
The Crone is knocking,
She whispers to me in the night
The Crone is knocking
She's messing with my sight
The Crone is knocking
I try to shut her out
The Crone is knocking
She sets me to ache all about
The Crone is knocking
I tell her to go away
The Crone is knocking
She can come back another day
Forty-seven....only forty-seven. Yet I feel as though the crone in me is trying to come out. I have started to make changes in my life that will quiet her calls...well, should quiet her.
I can feel the energy changing around me. I can feel my joints hurting on and off, and if it's raining or damp, they really show me how old I'm getting. I tell myself that this shouldn't be happening for another ten years or so. But I believe it's partly my fault. I have stopped doing the "little things" for myself over he years. Worry and concern over jobs, finances, children, moving, fitting in, not caring if I fit in, and mostly..."am I doing the right thing?"
Well, I now have the job part working better, and the finances are coming along. That gave me just enough momentum to get started on my exercising....even if it is two days a week on the bike, it was more than what I was doing before now. I have noticed small changes and that is causing me to dig deeper.
My yard has been calling to me, so I have started to work in it more. It's a fairly large yard and after finishing my stonehenge, I have decided to work other parts of my yard to be more in line with what is in my soul. It's a long process, but the differences make me feel even more grounded here in this place.
I have learned to sit still and watch my yard and the nature that exists there. I watch the movements of the animals that come into my yard and see how they feel at home here. The young buck that walks through my back yard, stopping at a flower garden that I have been working on up by my firepit. He lingers, smelling the plants and the bird feeder, the solarlights, and just seeing how relaxed he was in my yard was a blessing.
My children love it here, they are relaxed as well. They are settled. No longer are we running out the door to go somewhere to do something, anything, just to get out into nature. Nature is all around us here.
Fitting in, I don't need to fit in. If I fit in with my immediate family, then that is all the fitting in I need to do. And yet, as I have come to this conclusion, I have noticed that others seem more comfortable around me.
The wise crone is subtly guiding me into my elder years already.
I sit here and watch as a lone honey bee works the clover buds in my yard. I'm honored to see its presence. Being so far away from most people and farms, I wonder where the hive is. I am glad to see the one, because where there is one, there are more. And my family knows I love my honey!
Lately the energy of the ebbing and flowing of the moon's energy has been affecting me. The last few full moons I have been having a migraine. With the pain during the day more so than at night. I know she is trying to tell me something more, I just haven't been able to hear what it is.
So I will let this crone guide me but I will not allow her to become me....just yet.
I wish you all a blessed and peaceful day.
I recently received some particularly hurtful and insulting comments from a family member concerning Paganism. These comments came as a great surprise to me, and also served as a wake-up call. Being a Space Witch isn’t all moonshine and glitter, unfortunately.
In the midst of my studies and quickening social and family life, it has been a refuge to gather with the women at the monthly circle. Their energy is gentle and genuine, and they speak my language. In the isolation I found myself in for the past few years, I hadn’t realized that – besides the loneliness of my world being greatly reduced to my own household and family – I had lost having anyone to talk to who knows anything of magic and spirituality. For the first time, I was alone in those waters.
Well, I was kind of alone in them in my youth, but in a less lonely way, since I was in a more magical thinking type of society (though less spiritual than they’d like to think) than the society I’m in now. So the waters were broader back then, when I explored alone – I never felt alone.
This has been more like a small cave lake, where the spirit-fish are quiet, if present at all.
It is interesting to me that coming back out of the underworld, into the sunlight and warmth of new friends, and renewed dedication to mothering my family, and reconnecting all the connections, has brought connections to moonlight, as well.
Having spent the better part of last weekend doing intense devotional work with and to Mani, I didn't want to let too much time passed before I returned to my 'honoring Mani' series. As with my devotional 101 series, I encourage readers to email me your questions about the Norse moon God. I'll do my best to answer them. Last week, Sparrow asked me a question that i covered in my last Mani post, but I wanted to revisit it again here expanding my earlier answer, because I've been thinking about it and it was a good question:
"How can a person connect to Mani? I presume moon gazing and performing full moon rituals are good ways to get to know Him."
You will never hear me protesting regular ritual practice. I think that it can be a powerful way -- whether one engages alone or with a working group--to develop a relationship and devotional practice to the Gods and ancestors. Mani is no exception. I've certainly found that He shares different facets of His personality at different times during the moon's cycle. How He may choose to present during the full moon is different ever so slightly from the dark moon, and different again from the waxing and waning crescents, etc. etc. and there is much mystery --in the sacral sense of the word--to be experienced in each moment of the moon's passing. I've even found Him to shift depending on what astrological sign the moon happened to be in. It is almost as though the moon is His mirror, a lens through which He shares Himself with us. The same moon shines on us all but oh how full of wonder He is.
Of course, when someone asks me how to connect to a Deity, my first suggestion is always to approach it from the tactile, from the senses, from the point and purpose of visual and spacial focus: set up an altar. It really does help give shape and space to your budding devotions. It's both a place of welcome to the Gods, and a sanctuary for oneself to simply *be* in devotion (i.e.: relationship) with Them. In all the years that I"ve been honoring the various Gods and Goddesses, I've never found a better starting point than altar work.
I'd also suggest developing a prayer practice to Him. Sometimes people find it helpful to work with set prayers and prayer beads (I include a set in my devotional to Him) and this is a good baseline. But in addition to that, just talk to Him. That's what prayer is at its heart. It's no fancier than that: talk to Him. Someone asked me today what comes to mind when I hear the word 'prayer, ' because it can have awfully negative connotations to some folks. Sometimes our birth religions really do a number on our ability to connect consciously and lovingly to the Gods, to feel safe in that process. I told her the first handful of thoughts that came to my mind: prayer is talking to my ancestors; it's singing a prayer of praise to a Deity, when my heart is so full of gratitude and love for the blessings I've been given that there is nothing else to do BUT sing; it's sitting down before one of my shrines and telling that Deity what's going on with me; it's expressing my love, my thanks; it's conversation.
I know sometimes the idea of praying can be daunting but it's really no more difficult than that. Start where you start and let your practice evolve from there. Also, I 've never known Mani to demand strict and staunch protocols. I've always found Him very, very approachable and gentle. Those are the two places I would suggest beginning to "get to know" Him. There are hundreds of other ways (painting an icon of Him for instance comes right to mind) that one might connect to Him, but these two techniques are things that everyone can do (whereas not everyone can paint, for instance).
Of course, one could do worse than moon-gazing. He is so incredibly lovely when He rides the night sky gleaming gold in the inky darkness. I particularly like it when He's still winking at us through the pale blueness of the early day, sharing space and time with His sister on Her daily journey.
Thank you, Sparrow, for sending me your questions. In my next post on Mani, I'll be discussing to the best of my ability His thoughts on His wolf follower Hati and His position as a moon God (rather than a Goddess--though this isn't as unusual as one might expect). Stay tuned.
So since I will be honoring Mani this weekend, it seemed good impetus and good timing for posting part two of my Q&A for Him. I've gotten lots of questions from my readers and as with the questions I receive on devotion and polytheism, I'll be answering them weekly in the order in which I receive them (more or less. I copied them all into a file so it's really more like the order in which I slapped them into a Word doc!).
Today, Rede Seeker asks: "Can you give more insight to Mani's relationship with Unn, the Tide-Maiden? I feel their relationship as a dance - Her surge and ebb, His wax and wane. They fit together like the Yin-Yang icon."
I'll preface my response by noting upfront that everything I'm about to say is my own personal UPG, or unverified personal gnosis…except that it has been verified independently by many others who honor both Unn and Mani. We call that PCPG: peer confirmed personal gnosis. I personally detest both terms -- all religious experience is at its heart personal gnosis and the public expressions of those religions form in those spaces where the majority of peoples' experiences overlap. Still, for those who all but piss themselves when someone starts talking from the authority of experience instead of the authority of lore, I disclaim: UPG warning, folks. There. Now I shall begin.
Unn is one of the nine daughters of the Norse sea Goddess Ran. She is "about the relationship of sea to sky, and the rhythm of the tides." (1) In many ways, She is the most esoterically inclined of Ran's daughters. I have a particular affection for Unn, and She was the first of Ran's daughters that I encountered when I joined Their cultus. I love Mani dearly so it made sense to me that I would reach out to One that He loved, and many of us who honor Them do get the sense that there is a deep connection between the Two of Them. Whether it's affection, love or something else entirely we don't know. Personally I think it's all of the above and more.
This pairing certainly makes good cosmological sense. The moon governs the tides and Unn orders their rhythms. I sometimes think They work magic in the rippling eddies. All the things many of HIs devotees associate with Mani: rhythm, music, counting and numbers, the flow of time, beads upon which to count by jangling rhythms, astronomy and the passage of the constellation, calculations and abstract math, the keeping of calendars, many of us also associate with Unn. Perhaps the most prosaic way of answering your question is to say that 'They have a lot in common."
S. Lafor, one of the contributors to my Mani and Sunna devotional wrote a lovely prayer-poem for the Both of Them. I find it makes a very nice song for ritual purposes:
"Travel-warders of all journeymen
Rhythm-makers of the wild and hostile sea
Tamers of the ever-changing sky and tides
Together You create and magic weave.
In the low-tides of still waters Unn sings softly.
In the high-rolling waves at moon-rise Mani unfolds the sky.
Mani and Unn, singing sweetly
Together creating the dance of time." (2)
I think that in restoring cultus for Mani (or conversely for Ran, Aegir, and the Nine) many of us just started noticing that there seemed to be a strong affinity between Unn and Mani. The moon sings to the sea and she returns the favor. I personally believe that They are lovers and great friends as well as "colleagues" and the way this has impacted my own devotion is simple: I keep my shrine to the Nine Daughters of Ran, including Unn right next to my Mani altar and when I honor Him, I quite often will then honor Her as well (and vice versa). As with any other relationship, I don't personally like to pry farther. I stay open for devotional clues and to make sure I'm fulfilling whatever requests and desires They might have as I pay cultus. But for me it is enough right now to know that They are connected in some deeply affectionate way.
I received another series of questions from reader Sparrow who asks:
1. How can a person connect to Mani? I presume moon gazing and performing full moon rituals are good ways to get to know Him.
I think that those are certainly useful and potentially beneficial ways. I always start with altars though. i find that having a visual focus for one's devotional work, and a visual representation of the welcome you are making to this Deity in your life is very, very useful. Pray to Him, talk to Him go out and take note of what phase the moon is in, bow your head and greet Him when you first see Him rising in the night sky, pour out the occasional libation (we've found He likes marshmallow vodka or sambuca the best), bring Him sweets. Volunteer with children or with the mentally ill (He loves children and is a particular patron of those suffering from emotional or mental illness). Talk to Him. Talk to Him. Talk to Him. Adore the moon and let that adoration be your guide.
2. Is it ok for non-Heathens, and non-warriors to worship Mani?"
Absolutely. Mani's light shines down on everyone. (3)
Next week, I'll post another Q&A in my ongoing series "Honoring Mani.' If folks have questions, please post them here or send them. I'll add them to the list to be answered.
1. quoted from "Wyrdwalkers: Techniques of Northern Tradition Shamanism" by Raven Kaldera, published through Asphodel Press.
2. "A Song for Mani and Unn" by S. Lafor. Quoted from p. 32 of "Day Star and Whirling Wheel," by Galina Krasskova, published through Asphodel Press
3. The photo used here is one of the Mani prayer cards that I offer at my site. The image is by artist Grace Palmer.