The Hunter’s Moon or Blood Moon is traditionally used to describe the full moon in October, but not always. Once every four years, it doesn’t appear until November and the Harvest Moon appears in October. The name Harvest Moon is always given to the full moon closest to Mabon, the Autumn Equinox. Due to regular moon cycles, it varies. The Hunter’s Moon name dates back to our Native American ancestors who connected it to the time when fattened deer, elk, and moose were harvested during the autumn moonlight. Native tribes elevated celebrating this full moon with feasting and other rituals, as it was connected with the coming winter and having enough food to survive.
This year’s Hunter’s Moon occurs on October 24th at 10:47 AM MST. For exact times in your area, the Farmer’s Almanac offers an on-line calculator which can be found here. Some other names for this Full Moon are the Travel Moon and Dying Grass Moon.
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 setting in, the fire will help!)
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
Fall items to decorate the altar and circle area
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, the power of air, blow forth so that we may recognize your presence! Your strength ever mighty but without form; invisible and invincible – We bid you welcome. <light yellow candle>
Southern flames, the power of fire, we gather around your light, we feel your heat upon our skin and deep within our souls; eternal and without compare – We bid you welcome. <light red candle>
Western waves, the power of water, that which makes all things flow; we are humbled by the ever-moving energies that bind humanity together. We bid you welcome. <light blue candle>
Look to the North, feel the energy of every stone, every branch; every living thing and the great planetary harmony, behold! The power of earth; and the immortal lady who provides everything, asking nothing in return – We bid you welcome. <light green candle>
Great Goddess, we stand before you in reverence and awe on this night of ethereal light. We 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 again under the light of the full moon; known across the lands as the Hunter’s Moon, the Travelers Moon, and the Blood Moon. Now is the time when the animals of the forest are at their fattest, livestock is prepared for slaughter, the last of the harvest is canned, preserved, and stored for the cold months ahead. It is also the time of the hunt, and a time for gathering the last of the herbs and roots, before the ground freezes. Throughout history, this has been a time when the needs of the collective are more important than the needs of the individuals. It was the time when all walks of people would come together for survival; both physical and spiritually – so tonight we share our mutual blessings and we offer praises and prayers for those in our extended circle who aren’t with us this night.
On this last full moon before Samhain, you may find yourself feeling highly intuitive and certainly more productive. Psychic abilities are at their peak, as are feelings and emotions. Positive activities are abound; especially magickal workings, matters of the home, creativity, and fertility. Keep these feelings in mind as we look toward our discussion tonight.
Putting The Community First
Winter is nearly upon us and every family or person gathered here is likely scurrying in every direction to finish up the final tasks of autumn before the first snow falls. Our tasks may seem mundane as compared to those of our ancestors, as our modern conveniences of grocery stores, running water, and natural gas furnaces are available throughout the colder months. Very few of us find ourselves in a make or break situation with food storage or gathering enough fire wood for the coming months. Most of our physical needs can be taken care of with little or no preparation whatsoever and because of that luxury, we are blessed. Many of the people who live around us no longer possess the skills to even begin to think about preparing for a winter without assistance. Some might say we are lucky to have progressed so far, while others see this as a weakness.
Our focus for tonight is not to worry so much about caring for our physical needs, but instead to look at caring for our spiritual needs and the spiritual needs of the members of our community. In ancient times, we’d call this group our tribe or clan, and we’d live in close quarters and see each other every day. We’d all share everything and if one person went hungry, everyone would go hungry. Today, things are much different. We live as individual families or persons and we are spread far and wide across the land. Many of us only meet face-to-face on holidays or rituals. If one of us was hungry, the rest of us might not be aware of it. Also if one of us were struggling spiritually, the rest of the community might not know it.
As a group, we are only as strong as our weakest link, however unlike a chain, human beings have the ability to strengthen those weaker links. One of the ways we can accomplish this is through human interaction with our brothers and sisters in life. When the weather turns cold and the snows are blowing, most of us go into a type of winter hibernation; we keep to ourselves and try to stay warm and dry. We cut ourselves off from one another in many ways for this period. Most of us adapt, but for some people the isolation can be detrimental and can lead them into a period of depression; basically the “winter blues.” Several consecutive months of having the “blues” can take a toll on all aspects of their lives, which might take most of the spring and summer to rebound from.
I’d ask each of you to reflect on this subject, and silently identify a person or family which might fit this description. Ask yourself if you think taking time to visit this person might make a difference in their spiritual life during the next few months. Then, if you’re able, commit to taking time to ensure those folks aren’t forgotten; especially in January and February, when the weather is at it’s harshest. Your in-person, face-to-face visits and words can be the difference in their lives. One simple act of kindness can build bridges where walls once existed and I can guarantee that you will feel better just for being part of their happiness. Our community is a source of strength that even those who are part of it, cannot ever measure. Every time one of us makes a conscious effort to be a helping hand, that source of power increases.
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, 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, for without your presence, we would be forced to carry unwanted burdens into the New Year. 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!