Winter is a time of reflection, a time to sort through things that are holding us back so that when spring comes, the seeds we plant will have fertile soil in which to grow.
The dark moon is a time of reflection as well, many pagans do not work on the dark moon for various strange and silly reasons, but many pagans see the beneficial power in the destructive force of the dark moon. The dark moon is often held sacred to dark gods, like Hekate, Kali, Set, Sekhmet, Saturn, Kronos, and other deities who wear down, tear away, cut the grain and destroy.
Every month, at the dark moon, I hold a ritual to Hekate, Her Deipnon, where I take all my previous offerings and place them at the crossroads or the bottom of the garden for Her and Her phantom troupe to devour, it is also a time to clean up everything and throw things away.
Since it is the day before the solstice, and also Winter, I have been doing this clean up for the last two weeks. I have thrown things away, gathered offerings and I’ve removed all the physical muck from my environment. Now I need to work on the spiritual muck.
The dark moon is a time to sacrifice an outworn part of ourselves to the flame, this is a very cathartic experience. It is a ritual of sacrifice, it is a ritual of destruction.
It is a very simple ritual.
All one needs is a cauldron or burning dish of some kind, and a piece of paper, with what you wish to let go of written upon it. It can be sacrificed up to the gods, to the earth, or to the dark moon energies.
One cannot expect to just change overnight, it will take time, hard work, and reconditioning, which the power of the new moon, and the waxing moon helps to provide. One must also be careful in deciding what one wishes to sacrifice to the flame, sometimes you will not be ready, and what may come, may be a very hard whittling away of yourself.
The ritual is the catalyst, you have done a physical sweeping of the environment, and now a formal ritual needs to be held to mark the change, and then comes the even harder task of working on yourself.
Some people may wish to burn photographs, some may wish to write letters to people who have hurt them, and feed them to the flame once it is written. Some may wish to sacrifice a negative habit, a thought pattern that is outworn, some may wish to let go of an old relationship with a lover, a friend, a family member who has passed on, some may wish to let go of a job, a house, etc. Whatever it is that you are feeding to the flame, it is going to be hard. Sometimes, nothing will happen, because you refused to do the work, and sometimes, things will begin changing and happening to give you the opportunity to change.
I have begun to change already in small ways, I am starting to hum and sing while I bake and clean, I am becoming accustomed to being by myself for lengthy periods of time, I am becoming happier, more positive, less negative. I’m still that cynical sarcastic redhead that you all know and love, but I am beginning to like myself more.
Here is one of my chants, this one specific to Baba Yaga…
Iron-toothed crone of the pestle
Dark Goddess of challenges and Rebirth
Wild-haired lady of the corn
Sweep away all the pain that dwells
Crush and transform my soul
I travel in your mortar to planes higher than before
Black herbs of the tripe crone, cloak me
As the poison banishes that which no longer serves
Baba Yaga Crushes me and burns me in her furnace
And transformed, I am stronger
as these herbs turn to ash and scent the air
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