New Moon Ritual

2013-07-10 23.23.33This Noumenia I carried out the newly written Covenant of Hekate New Moon Ritual. My previous night’s Deipnon had been an ad hoc affair, not least because I resigned from my job without currently having something else to move on to. A huge test of my faith as well as a big banishment – not planned, but necessary!

So with a huge sense of relief and the stress of eight years of undervalued corporate slogging firmly off my shoulders, I set about arranging my ritual space and planning for the New Moon Ritual. It is a very proactive and involved kind of ritual, written by a very talented bunch of individuals all bringing together their own experiences and thoughts to make a cohesive and rewarding ritual structure.

After completely stripping down my altar area, cleansing it with three different types of sacred well/spring water, scattering with rose petals and then anointing with Hekate oil, I placed fresh cloths in black and white and placed centrally my magnificent statue created by Georgi Mischev of Threskeia. Around the central image of Hekate I coiled a whole shed snake skin, placing a braided red, white and black cord in a circle and putting an iron key at the feet of the statue. I also used a new red candle for my ritual, which I had decorated with the CoH symbol (something I’ve wanted to do for ages!). There were two small black beeswax candles either side of the Hekate statue, a small statuette of Hermes to the left and one of Hestia to the right. Other items included were of course my red cord (used in all Covenant rituals), bread and wine offerings, a small bowl of anointing oil, a vase of roses, “jewelled” candle holders I picked up from a charity shop and my newly mounted Hekate coin pendant to be consecrated.

With the candles and incense (I used myrrh resin) lit, it was time to proceed with the ritual itself. After the initial grounding and centring and a preliminary offering of wine to Hekate, Hermes and Hestia it was time to go on the Pathworking part of the ritual. A member of the ritual team who had kindly recorded themselves reading through this and I had downloaded it as I find it easier to follow a guided meditation or pathworking without having to worry about talking myself through it.

I really liked this part, though I think personally I may move it to the end of the ritual rather than the beginning just because I feel that flows better for me. The imagery was very profound and the adventure was enjoyable and rewarding. Despite there being quite a lot of disturbances in my home and the street outside (noisy passers-by, cars, inconsiderate/noisy housemates) that hindered my journey, for the most part I had a beneficial experience and received my “token” symbol from Hermes on behalf of Hekate.

ivyleafI don’t mind sharing here with you that it was an ivy leaf. Something I am still musing on the possible meaning and connection of this. For me personally it is not the first time Hekate has visited me or shown me what I identify as Dionysian symbols but I have yet to distinguish if these are markers meaning I shouldn’t forget my sometimes floundering relationship with Him or if She is trying to tell me that I can get everything He can give from Her…or something else.

So after the pathworking, the ritual itself took place. I liked the flow, symbolism and power of the whole thing and found the energies built, especially with the beautifully written words used to praise and evoke the Gods. I also like the use of a bowl of chilled water, used to reflect the passing from Dark to New moon; it was refreshing and energising!

The interesting part of the ritual was the creation of three intents for the lunar month ahead, revolving around Hekate’s three realms of power: Heaven, Earth and Sea. I spent a long time thinking on this, feeling uncertain on what to create/say for these intents. In the end, I decided that the Heaven/Sky intent would be linked to something relating to the mind, intellect, reason, sciences, travel etc. For Earth it would be more to do with stability, order, material issues, fertility and the like. And for the Sea/Water aspect I would choose something pertaining to emotions, intuition, wisdom, clarity or healing.

Having spent quite a while thinking on what to choose, I ran out of time in making these intents anything “special” to look at ritually speaking; no fancy sigils, not a stone/shell/feather imbued with intent etc…instead I created little folds of paper, each marked on the front with the corresponding elemental symbol and then inside I wrote down my corresponding intent. Despite this, I still found this part of the ritual very rewarding. One of the ritual team had mentioned that “nature abhors a vacuum; so if you do any banishment during the dark moon, make sure to draw a corresponding number of things to you during this ritual of the new moon crescent” so I felt strongly of what my Earthly intent should be, given that both my partner and I are no currently unemployed. So I am interested to see how this all plays out during the current lunar cycle.

After the closing of the ritual, I decided to do something I have not really considered or done before. I took the bread, wine, 3 roses and my statements of intent to the end of the road, which is a 4-way crossroads. There, there is a small field on the corner, enclosed by trees near to a small river. In the dark, I walked to a hawthorn tree in the middle of the field, placed the offerings of bread and roses at the foot and poured the wine over them. Then I took the Earth intent, folded it up and pushed it into the earth by the tree’s roots. For the Sky/Air intent, I set fire to it and let the ashes flutter away on the night air and for the Water Intent I folded it into a small bundle and tossed it into the river to be carried away.

This aspect of the ritual was totally instantaneous and not previously planned, but felt right and good at that time.

I’d like to say a huge thank you to all the contributors who helped write this ritual and I look forward to doing it again at future New Moons as well as seeing how it develops and evolves into my own personal practice.

2013-07-10 23.22.34

The Pagan Blog Project: A is for Altar

Well it’s taken me a little longer than anticipated to get the first few posts caught up with but before any more time elapses I thought I should at least get the first one posted and then I’ll attempt to finish off the second A-post this evening, following on with the primary B-post [hopefully] the day after – if not sooner.

So to get the ball rolling I just thought I’d ‘showcase’ some of my altars and shrines past and present and talk about them  a little. In the years since I started on my Path I’ve had a number of different altars, some general and some specific. Mostly these days I have at least two specific deity related and one general (though currently I have four deity related).

Dionysos has been the mainstay throughout recent years. From humble beginnings on a simple wooden shelf, to more elaborate set-ups to help me connect further with His energies and to give me a place to go to for regular worship, offerings and devotion. In the current set-up I have two statues, one of which was sold as a garden ornament that I painted. There’s also a framed printed by the awesomely talented Jeff Cullen, the Fool card from the Mythic Tarot (which depicts the youthful Dionysos-Zagreus). I have a couple of candles, a fake bunch of grapes, a piece of amethyst, my bull’s head pendant (which I wear during worship and ritual) and I’ve wreathed the whole thing with a faux ivy garland which I think really looks the part!

My first small altar/shrine to Dionysos.

Dionysos today!

Next we have Hekate who in the last few years has been a HUGE presence which just seems to keep growing in size and potency. Again from humble beginnings, my altars and shrines to Hekate have grown exponentially. My most recent incarnation features some of my most treasured Hekate-related finds aand purchases most notable of which is my skull effigy which has such presence. Some of the objects change position from month to month but can include my jar candle, my Hekate journal, some of my other statues, my handmade Hekate’s Wheel plaque, my wand, chalice, athame, incense burner and key pendant . This is the largest and most central of my altars and is the one I use most often.

One of the earlier incarnations of my altar to Hekate.

Altar to Hekate to celebrate the Rite of Her Sacred Fires 2011

Most recent set-up featuring my Hekatean skull effigy.

I have a small altar-shrine to Pan which hasn’t really changed all that much in the time that I have had it. A few little tweaks here and there but the overall look and composition hasn’t changed and I like it. Going before it I can find my focus taken in completely and it’s almost like I’m transported to a dense woodland or an isolated mountain pass where I can quiet my mind and tackle my fears in the presence of Lord Pan.  Features are my statues of Pan, a set of panpipes, a large pine cone, a small bunch of faux grapes, a leaf shaped offering dish and a vase to put in cut foliage.

My altar to Pan of the Wild Woods.

Before I moved house mid-last year I used to have an altar to Aphrodite. Since moving this hadn’t got reassembled due to space issues. A few weeks back though I decided it needed a place in the new home and although it is smaller and simpler than in the past, I now have a place to go to give thanks for Aphrodite’s Blessing on my life.  I place a lot of rose quartz on the altar and I anoint the candles in myrtle oil. My central statue is another special find on the internet which I love for its unique portrayal of the Foam-Born Lady.

My humble shrine to Aphrodite.

I also have an altar to the Twelve Gods which features my set of Olympian statuettes on a double shelf (I’m in the process of looking for a single item to place next to each statue; I have a peacock feather next to Hera, a piece of wheat next to Demeter, a miniature boat next to Poseidon – things like that). Beneath the shelf I have a chiminea candle holder to represent Hestia and a vase for flowers and a bowl for libations. I’ve been trying to get into the habit of making the lower portion ‘themed’ for a specific God each month in keeping with the monthly libations I [try] to adhere to.

Altar to the Twelve Gods

Ancestor Shrine for Samhain 2011

My Ancestor Shrine

This evening I have just finished setting up a shrine to my ancestors for this year’s Samhain/Halloween. The last few days the change has certainly been in the air with the winds picking up, the leaves rapidly turning and tumbling down, a distinct chill in the air and a perception of the veils thinning.

After a number of years looking, I have FINALLY found the perfect tree to decorate for the season – so much so that I have decided it’s going to be up all year round and decorated accordingly to reflect the seasons.

My shrine, a transformed bookshelf, now contains many pictures of my ancestors from my late Granddad and Uncle Jay, through to older ancestors such as Great Grandad William Hughen and Great Great Grandma Mary Elizabeth Watkins together with a selection of led candles which I can leave on, bathing the pics in a soothing, warm glow – without the fire risk!

On the top of the shrine, beneath the tree, I have 3 mini pumpkins, some plastic skulls, a jack-o-lantern tealight holder, skull candle-holders with black/silver cobweb tapers, my ancestor candle and a witch doll (with scary flashing eyes).

My ancestors.

Under the tree.

The tree itself contains small, laminated pictures of some of my ancestors which I’ve decorated simply with some silver/red/gold decals and some small adhesive jewels. There’s a couple of skeletons, spiders, pumpkin and skull lights, and some autumn leaves that I got from a craft shop.

I’m really pleased with how this has turned out and will leave it up and decorated in this way until about a week before the Winter Solstice, and then I’ll decorate it again accordingly. Looks just as good in full light as it does in the dark with all the lights/candles lit.

Glowing with soothing, warmth and light.

‘With the gift of remembrance.
I remember all of you.
You are dead but never forgotten,
and you live on within me,
and within those who are yet to come.’