Sunday 10th August was the Full Moon, and was special for two reasons. One is that it was a Supermoon, so the moon looked even bigger and brighter than usual. Another was that it has been 1 lunar month since our wedding and handfasting, which were conducted on the last Full Moon!
I had been slobbing around the house all day in scruffy jeans and T-shirt, so to get into the mood for the ritual and to show my respect for the Great Goddess, I changed into a black velvet mini-dress and black skirt.The instant I put these on, I felt so much more in the right frame of mind for the ritual – it’s amazing what changing clothes can do! This was the first time I changed for the purpose of ritual, but knowing its effect, I will now try to change into something suitable for each ritual I perform.
Today has been a very stormy, windy day, and I could see the effects on our courtyard when I went outside to perform the ritual – much of my little shrine to Inari had been blown down, including the shimenawa rope and the two vases I use to offer plants (one had smashed, sadly). Although the most important parts of the shrine (the fox statues and offering vessels) had not been damaged, it stressed to me how much better it would be to re-home the shrine somewhere a little more sheltered (like a proper hokora with a roof, for example).
Although the rain had fortunately passed, it was still very windy so the only candle I used was a lantern (which was what one of our friends had got us for our wedding as part of a handfasting basket, so it was appropriate enough!) Moreover, the strong winds through the trees, and the faint scent of fallen rain, made for an atmospheric ritual.
What’s more, the Moon was indeed extremely impressive – I could see it from my courtyard, for once, and it rose very quickly – it appeared to be rising over the trees as I watched, which was very magical indeed. I really thought I could feel the moon’s power more strongly than I ever have done during an Esbat.
I took the opportunity to give thanks to Juno, Goddess of Marriage, who I evoked on the Esbat before my wedding to ask for her blessings. I also thanked the seven deities whom we called upon to bless our union (Diana, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Venus, Saturn and Apollo) during our handfasting for making our wedding. Since I’d spent much of the day writing thank you letters to our guests, it really was a day and night of thanksgiving! I also offered some of the remaining mead we had as an offering to the deities, and incorporated my pentagram strung with our handfasting cords as an altar piece.
I also took the opportunity to consecrate some tools. First was a new wand I’d recently made. This wand is actually made from a chopstick that was part of a set a colleague had given me when I was in Japan – it’s made from very special wood from the Yakushima forest, a very spiritual place. It seemed too special to eat with, so making it into a wand instead seemed perfect. I wrapped it with a piece of green leather cord I had taken during our arts & crafts session of the May Moot with Medway Pagans, as well as some leaves and paper roses from a floral headdress of mine which had snapped, and together they make a lovely, fae-looking wand. It’s much smaller than my previous wand (which I made from a piece of sycamore sapling that was growing as a weed in the courtyard) and is a little more handy to carry around, but I’m sure I’ll find use for the former wand too.
I also consecrated two items that I’d never intended to ritualise, but which I have been using for so long since becoming Pagan that it seemed right to do so. One was my Book of Shadows. This is really just a cheap notebook from Wilko with a black cover decorated with a white skull; I really just meant to use it as a notebook and copy the rituals into a “proper” Book of Shadows later, but I’ve just been using it on its own for so long its become a Book of Shadows in its own right.
The second item was my robe. It’s a very simple dressing-gown style robe, made of thin black velvet with a fake-fur collar, that I’ve had since my days as a university student – I bought it very cheaply from a charity shop! Again, I never meant for it to become my ritual robe, but I’ve worn it so often for rituals (it keeps me warm and definitely looks the part) that it seems right to consecrate it properly.
As the nights grow darker and colder, I realise that it might be difficult to keep on holding the Full Moon Esbats outdoors. But I’m going to keep trying for as long as I can, and I really think ritual is full of so much more energy when we are surrounded by the sights, sounds and smells of Nature.