November’s full Moon is called the Beaver Moon and the name can be traced back to Native Americans. The Algonquin tribe and many colonial Americans called it the Beaver Moon because November was the final month to set beaver traps before the swamps froze, which would ensure a supply of warm winter furs. Others have a slightly different version, but still tied to the beaver, stating that November was the time beaver’s built their dams up before winter. It was also called the Full Frost Moon by other Native American tribes, for obvious reasons.
Another distinct feature of this and the following winter full moon’s is how high they climb into the night sky. They are nearly at the level of a summertime noontime sun. This height produces some amazing shadows on the landscape, especially with bare trees and most ground vegetation having already died down. This year’s full moon falls on November 22, 10:41 P.M. MST – for detailed information on your area, please consult this link (The Farmer’s Almanac).
What You’ll Need For This Ritual
As always, this ritual is designed for a group and is best performed outside around a generous bonfire (with the cold already upon us, the fire will be the difference maker!)
What items you’ll need to collect for this ritual (as written)
Four quarter candles – yellow (east), red (south), green (north), blue (west)
Seasonal Altar Cloth
Native American items to decorate the altar and circle area
Tobacco for offering
Pencils and paper
Cakes or other seasonal baked goods
Seasonal Beer and Ale to share
Goddess Candle (White)
Any portion of the ritual that is bracketed by <> symbols should be understood as instructional notes and not to be spoken aloud.
In this a place of magick, energy, and power, where all the mysteries slip from their folds, I do conjure a sacred space. We are free as the circle is cast, now together; between the worlds.
Calling the Quarters
Eastern winds; stout and frigid blasts of air swirling around each of us are a gentle reminder that indeed, winter is coming. The message of preparation is never more clear than when we find ourselves on the cusp of great change. The dark half of the year will come and it will go, but the messenger will remain with us for all eternity. <light yellow candle>
Southern flames; uncontrolled merging of red, yellow, orange, and blue present themselves as advocates for the power of fire. Now is the time where the precious gift of light has great value, for it offers hope when things appear bleak, cheer when sadness permeates the land, and comfort in those times of solace. <light red candle>
Western waves; the never-ending rhythmic cascading waves demonstrates the tireless power of water. Energies that seem to emerge from nowhere but extend to everywhere provide us with the pathway to success if we allow them to lead us without doubting their sources. <light blue candle>
Northern nights offer a clarity that allows for extended sight. The skies are speckled with the shining of a million stars; each offering a moment of hope, and together offering guidance and clear direction. Without a compass, we have no direction, and without direction, we have no way to move forward. <light green candle>
Great Goddess, we of humble origins and earthly simplicity seek nothing more than your continued blessings and protection, both in our lives and through our magickal work. In the great circle of life, it is you who sit at the center; guiding, teaching, and providing. We humbly ask for your presence tonight. <light Goddess candle>
Tonight we gather under the light of the full moon to cleanse and share time with one another. This year is unique as the secular holiday of Thanksgiving also falls on the same day. Even though it’s not the true Thanksgiving, we shall make an exception for tonight’s celebration as we believe that giving thanks should be a daily occurrence and not saved up for a single day annually. Tonight will also be a night of looking back into the past to express our gratitude for those who tirelessly toiled to build the foundations of the world we live in today.
Long ago, in the times before this nation and peoples, our ancestors would gather together at the end of the harvest season in celebration. They would have given thanks to the Goddess for providing them with grain, vegetables, and meat which would preserve life through the dark half of the year. Additionally, they would make certain that no family in their clan or village was without the means to survive; even if this meant spreading the available resources thinly across the community. Everyone in those days relied on each other and any weak link could weaken the entire village’s abilities to continue.
Over time the ancient ways have been long forgotten by most people and this night of thanks was moved and then tied to the actions of the first Europeans in America. The traditions from ancient tribes across Europe were watered down and repurposed into new traditions for the white settlers. Unfortunately, these colonists were vastly unprepared for life in the new world and if it wasn’t for the charity offered by Native Americans, they’d have died and the settlement likely abandoned. History tells us how tribesmen and women educated and assisted those travelers with knowledge and more importantly with food; helping them ultimately survive the frigid first winter of coastal life. Yet instead of giving thanks to the indigenous populations and creating an event to celebrate them, those settlers gave thanks to their God for everything. They even went as far as to try and make it into a Holy holiday of sorts.
Remembering & Understanding The Native Americans
This transgression has been evident for centuries, and as the holiday teetered between religion and a secular holiday, the Native Americans who literally saved the lives of those early travelers were forgotten. The history texts speak of a few higher profile Native Americans, but only because it was necessary to tell the story. The really ancient traditions were not even considered in the narrative.
Most traditional Native Americans treat Thanksgiving as a false holiday or an outright lie. They do not serve turkey dinners, pumpkin pie, or any of the other modern traditions celebrated by those around us. They instead spend the day in stoic reflection, remembering, and honoring their grandfathers and grandmothers. Many also spend time celebrating the fact that their culture’s were able to survive the centuries of hardship at the hands of those descendants of the original colonists. Many likely reflect on the past and wonder what their lives would be like today if their ancestors had done nothing to help the white settlers. Yet, most Native Americans alive today realize that ignoring someone who is in need of help isn’t the right way to live. The Great Spirit of the land did not put the First People here to be greedy or cause harm to the downtrodden. All life is precious, and all human’s are equal, regardless of origin, culture, race, or creed. To allow another life to fade away when it could have been saved goes against the basic tenants of human kindness.
Many indigenous tribes had celebrations of thanks that lasted for days, and looked very similar to this gathering. Everyone gathered around a fire with spiritual food being placed on an altar. The ritual leaders would then begin a lengthy list of things that all people should be thankful for, starting with their very lives and progressing into many different areas and items. Each item they gave thanks for was an integral part of life and covered food, water, hunting grounds, weather, the sun, friendship, and more. Tonight we will honor the same traditions of the First People and let their spirits remember that we have not forgotten their kindness, even though it was repaid in bloodshed, banishment, and cruelty. For without them, none of us would be standing here today.
Many tribes speak of the Great Mystery, which can be interpreted as the force behind all creation and spirituality; one that isn’t personified into a single deity or form. This force flowed through all people, all objects, and gave the wind it’s power to blow, the flames their power to produce heat, and the water the power to cleanse. All things are connected by this force but it was understood by all as a great collective oneness. This short description helps us to see the rationale on why it was impossible for the Native Americans to allow the colonists to starve; they may have been from another land, but they were still part of the oneness.
The Great Mystery instructed people to love one another always and only had a simple requirement for giving us life and that was to be grateful. This prayer is original, but was influenced by many other prayers from different tribes and is being spoken with a pure heart and the true intention of thanking the Grandfather’s and Grandmother’s of those who walked these lands many lifetimes ago. Please be silent and open your minds to not only hear, but also to listen.
Traditionally, tobacco was seen as the unifying thread between human and spiritual communication and before our prayer, we are making an offering to those who are with us tonight.
<Ritual leader will sprinkle tobacco around the group as an offering to the Great Spirits>
Great Spirit of these lands and the lands of afar,
We stand humbled in your mighty presence
Your great gifts of fire, water, wind, and earth,
They provide us with life and the means to reproduce
It was by your will that we exist in this world
And we offer thanks and endless gratitude
High above, the night circle of light shines
The Great Grandmother who watches over us
Surrounded by the infinite expanse of infinity
And yet never far from our needful callings
In each step we take, our memories are stirred
The Great Grandfather’s who first walked here
Communing with the lands and forest creatures
Learning the sacred wisdom and sharing it freely
To those ancestors, we offer our thanks and gratitude
To the Four Winds and our great brother the Sun
Stands of noble trees and fields of plenty
Animals, birds, flowers, and pools of sacred waters
With great reverence, we offer our thanks and gratitude
To the Three Sisters called Corn, Beans, and Squash
Yes, we know you well for the strength provided
For the herbs and berries and the sacred keys
We are thankful for the secrets of healing medicine
For our clan and our people and their generations
Their prosperity is only by your invisible hand
Our spirituality guided and our souls nurtured
As we spend this lifetime in service to one another
Nothing eternal can emerge from a life of darkness
We are forever thankful for the light of day
Until the last days of our earthly existence
And the first day of our next lifetime
We shall forever be indebted to those ancestors
Who stepped forward without fear or concern
To bear the ultimate gift of pure love
One human being touching the soul of another
With comfort and great care they came
Sharing the power of the Great Mystery
<extended moment of silent reflection to those gathered>
Cleansing And Releasing
Each month we use the night of the full moon to self-heal. It’s a time to release that which no longer serves us, what we no longer need in our lives, or things we have outgrown. Tonight we purge ourselves, we unburden ourselves, we release and let go of the anchors which have been weighing us down. It’s time to step out of old ways and false identities which no longer define who we are. We must examine our behaviors, our attitudes, and our frame of mind. Only by getting rid of the old can we celebrate the new. Under this full moon, we can show ourselves and the universe that we are truly ready to take the bold step toward the new and unknown opportunities ahead of us.
The Great Guardians of the South have provided us with this cauldron of cleansing flames to consume that which is old and no longer valid in our lives; by burning the remnants of things useless and without value, we strike them from our memories. Some people have brought specific things that have been dead-weight in their lives to burn tonight, others have them in their minds. The latter can be written with intention and burned in the fire.
<Offer paper if they need to write things down>
<Allow time for each participant to ritually burn their items>
As you place your items into the fire, say this aloud with intent – “I give up freely that which is no longer serving me, releasing it, to create a space to fill with things that inspire me”
<Once this is completed, have everyone in the circle join hands and say:>
We gather tonight by the light of the moon, to celebrate the season, to offer thanks to the ancestors of this land and rejoice. May the next turn of the Wheel bring us love and compassion, abundance and prosperity, fertility and life – As the moon above, so the earth below.
So Mote it BE!
Cakes & Ale
Many groups choose to bring drinks and food to share around the bonfire. Take as much time as you’d like to converse with one another and enjoy the time together.
Closing The Circle
Immense and unmatched power of the earth; we thank you for attendance in our circle. Stay if you will, go if you must, in perfect love and perfect trust. So mote it be! <extinguish green candle>
Healing waters of life; we thank you for attendance in our circle. Stay if you will, go if you must, in perfect love and perfect trust. So mote it be! <extinguish blue candle>
Cleansing flames from the fires of the great forges of the south; tonight we give thanks beyond measure for your attendance in this circle. So Mote it be! <extinguish red candle>
Whispering winds, invisible but without compare; we thank you for attendance in our circle. Stay if you will, go if you must, in perfect love and perfect trust. So Mote it be! <extinguish yellow candle>
Great Goddess, we thank you for your abundance, your wisdom, your continued blessings and your unconditional love. <extinguish Goddess candle>
This circle is open but never broken!