As February tends to be the snowiest month of the year, it’s no surprise that this month’s full moon is called the Full Snow Moon (peak time is February 27th, 1:17 AM, MST). Full moon names come from Native American culture and most are derived from the state of the world around them at the time. Some of the other names this month’s moon are Bone Moon, which originates from the Cherokee nation, and tells a tale of hunger and starvation as people gnawed at the bones left from past meals. Other similar names were the Hunger Moon and Famine Moon. The Ojibwe call it the Sucker Fish Moon, based on the dependence on this type of fish to stave off hunger.
Not all tribes were located in cold areas and those tribes had a much different way of looking at the February moon. The Hopi tribe, found mostly in the American Southwest calls it the Moon of Purification or Moon of Renewal. Other names include the Bear Moon, the Bald Eagle Moon, and Groundhog Moon.
Our Full Moon celebrations are focused on cleansing and clearing that which no longer serves us. We burn away the remnants of yesterday under the powerful energy of the full moon; banishing those things from our lives forever.
In order to perform this ritual as written, you’ll need the following items:
Quarter Candles (yellow, red, blue, green)
Large White Goddess Candle – (We prefer a three wick candle to symbolize the triple Goddess aspect)
Paper and pencil for each participant
Fire pit or cauldron suitable for safely burning small objects and paper
This is intended to be performed outdoors, under the light of the full snow moon – dress appropriately and use proper fire safety.
<Anything in the ritual that is contained with <> should be understood as instructional for the ritual leader and should not be spoken aloud>
This circle cast fills the space around, to the sky above and below the ground, this area now a sacred place, neatly wedged between time and space!
Calling the Quarters
We honor the great teachings from the East – Where Beginnings, Awakening, Ascension, Vision, and Spiritual wisdom reside. As the sun makes it presence known at the beginning of each day, the opportunity to start anew is present. The great air spirits can only guide us so far. It is up to each of us to our inner spark to shine as brightly as the sun and unlock our potential to reach new heights and find wisdom and peace from the spirit world. <light yellow candle>
Next we honor the great teachings from the South – Where Empathy, Trust, Faith, Inclusion, Love, and Emotional wisdom reside. The great fire spirits charge our emotions and bring them to the surface. Each beat of our heart sends the warm blood coursing through our veins and stirs our inner passion for relationships and the human connection. Our inner flames burn endlessly, but we must learn control as to avoid the pitfalls of impatience and self-destruction. <light red candle>
Looking to the West, we honor the great teachings of Stability by setting Goals, establishing solid Foundations, and learning to see value in Physical wisdom; that which is, shall always be. The water spirits demonstrate that all things can hold different forms, but never actually change that which gives them existence. We must remember our roots, keep our bodies pure and sound, and carry out our plans completely and without taking shortcuts. <light blue candle>
Finally we honor the North and the great spirits of the Earth – If we seek, so shall we find Illumination, new Discovery, Logic, Understanding, and a renewed sense of Wisdom. As all things are accumulated though education, we must open our selves to that which may be beyond our reach, but not beyond it forever. Our minds are our greatest tool and we must develop them in such a way as they cannot be corrupted with material pleasures or false prophecies. <light green candle>
Great Goddess, she who is the mother to us all, we humbly seek your presence in this circle tonight. As we seek strength, knowledge, clarity, and guidance from the lessons of the four directions, we realize that you are what binds them together. It is you who open our eyes to that which we need and that which we must avoid. Bless us in each moment we are given on this earth and bless those who have walked in our path in the generations before. <light Goddess candle>
Music is an integral part of any pagan celebration. It stirs the passions of the soul and brings people together. Normally we highlight a song by a pagan artist, but tonight we’re going to deviate and instead feature a nostalgic piece from 1956 called “Winter Moon” by Hoagy Carmichael. It’s a sweet soulful melody that will certainly take you back in time for a bit.
The theme of our ritual tonight is, From Darkness Comes Light. As we shift seasons from the dark of winter to the longer days, there is a feeling of optimism across all spectrums of life. Some of us may be prepared to immediately shift gears and jump right into spring, but for most of us that isn’t practical or possible. We should make a plan to put our house in order over the next few months so that when the light is shining strong, we can focus our attention on planting and plowing, without feeling like we’ve left things unfinished.
From Darkness Comes Light
Throughout time, light and darkness have been used as a metaphor for countless topics. The darkness is typically used as a time of hardship, agony, and despair. The light is usually the polar opposite, representing prosperity, peace, love, and harmony, just to name a few. People are afraid of the dark, but find comfort in the light. The darkness is when evil things spawn, grow and fester, while the light is a time when plants and flowers bloom and nature fills the day with wonderful sights and smells. I could go on, but I think we all get the point; the light is where we want to be.
As we emerge from winter, the same analogy seems to hold true. The long darkness of winter is cold, difficult, and often times leads to unnecessary suffering while we wait anxiously for warmer weather and better days ahead. As spring grows nearer, we feel a renewed sense of optimism and happiness. The light makes us feel better, both physically and mentally. As we start to venture our from our winter hibernation, we interact with neighbors and friends more often and find ourselves slowing down to survey the land in preparation for the important part of our year. As the snow melts we look for green shoots breaking through and listen to the sounds of new life that fill the air.
But what of the darkness? We still have night when summer comes, albeit much shorter, but it is still night and it is still dark. Why does winter night seem so much worse than summer night? The cold certainly has a lot to do with it, but there is more to it. Winter cold is connected to isolation and repetition. We wake up in the dark, we travel to work in the dark, come home in the dark, and for some reason always feel exhausted. Much of our day seems to be filled with mundane tasks that happen over and over and over. We load the fireplace up with wood, shovel the snow after each storm, and cook many one-pot meals that are unexciting, but serve to keep us full and warm. Even our entertainment is repetitious; if the weather isn’t too bad, we can engage in outdoor sports, but usually we just sit at home and read, watch something, or surf the net. And all the while, our minds become restless and disjointed.
This year, why no try something different. Instead of the mundane ritual that you might find yourself caught up in, tackle some of those things you know need done. Clean you house, sweep away the cobwebs and dust and spruce up your walls and windowsills. Paint, patch, and repair the little things before they become something unsightly and ugly. Likewise, use this time to sweep away the cobwebs and clutter in your space. Make plans and set goals for things you will do, rather than things you want or wish you could do. Be realistic about them, but make sure you do them. Write things down, set intentions, and stick to your plans. Imagine how much better you will feel when the first real sunny day hits and you can walk out barefoot in the grass and know that there is nothing to do inside.
Clearing and Cleansing
Each full moon offers us the opportunity to reflect on our own lives, and the events that influence us. We can also evaluate our decisions and our circle of friends and how they interact and correlate them with our goals, and objectives. Even the best laid plans can go awry if we’re not vigilant; it’s why reflection is so important. For instance, if we see negativity creeping in, we can test things or keep a closer eye on things to see how that negativity is affecting us. We can also use the full moon as an opportunity to clear the source of negativity out of our lives for good. The full snow moon is a time when winter still holds an icy grip on the landscape. There are no fields to plow nor outside work to be done, so it’s a good time to focus inward in preparation for the coming spring.
Many people fail to see how devastating negativity can be and miss the opportunity to nip it in the bud. Negativity slows our spiritual growth to a crawl or worse, can put us in a state of decline. It’s a huge roadblock to reaching our full potential. Some forms that many of us see negativity in are anger, impatience, greed, manipulation, jealousy, lust, corruption, and laziness. None of these are productive traits and if we allow someone to implant these ideals inside our mind, then we become a product of those ideals. Our minds become polluted and we can easily lose sight of our well-planned goals, and fall into a dark place.
If you are shaking your head right now, there is an obvious weight hanging over your head and you need to address it. Take some time to really pinpoint the source of this plague upon your body, mind, and spirit, and work on how you can eradicate it, If you spend time with a toxic person, you might want to consider cutting ties with them. If you are in an environment of hostility and anger, then change venues. If your circle of friends seems more like a prison, them remember that it is you who holds the key. It’s not easy to always make the clean breaks, but it is for the best. You cannot grow when something is trying to prevent you from doing so.
If you are prepared to shed that weight, even a small portion of it, you’ll be back on the pathway of growth. Spiritual growth surpasses any other kind of growth as it is the guiding force that oversees our existence. It’s critical to keep moving forward. So tonight, in the same way our ancestors did, we can wash away the negativity in our lives in the cleansing flames. We can witness as the baggage of the past is completely consumed and the smoke travels far away. What is great is that by burning the remnants of things useless and without value, we free ourselves to find new and positive things to fill those empty spaces.
<Offer each person paper/pencil to write things down that they want to rid themselves of forever>
Each of you may approach the fire when you are ready to cast the unwanted from your life and create an open space to fill with things that have meaning. As you burn each item, state the following, “I give up freely that which is no longer serving me”
<Once everyone has burned their items, have the group join hands and say the following>
On this night, under the light of the Full Snow Moon, we choose to rid ourselves of that which no longer serves us. We feel the powerful lunar energy and how it supercharges our mind and helps to give us clarity of thought. The cold reminds us that winter will remain, but it won’t remain forever, for as the great wheel turns, all things change. Embrace the challenge of being a better you, tonight and into the future. As the moon above, so the earth below. So Mote it Be!
Cakes & Ale
Depending on the weather and the make-up of your group, you may choose to have a few libations and food at this time. Talk, share stories, and get to know your fellow citizens of the earth.
Closing the Full Snow Moon Circle
Earth spirits, we offer our eternal thanks for joining us in our full snow moon circle. Feed our minds with all things great and wonderful so that we may become better decision makers, better thinkers, and help us choose the path that will help us grow our insight into the world and the universe. We bid you farewell. <extinguish green candle>
Water spirits, our circle would not be complete without the solid foundations and lessons mutability we are taught daily. As we leave tonight, guide each soul into staying the course, regardless of the challenges ahead, and never forget that the goal is complete understanding and dealing with things; eyes wide open. We bid you farewell. <extinguish blue candle>
Fire spirits, without your presence in our circle, none of this could be possible, and we humbly give thanks for your cleansing flames. We came tonight seeking renewal and through our ritual, have seen the way to clear our negativity and cleanse our spirits. We bid you farewell. <extinguish red candle>
Air spirits, our gratitude is endless and we are forever indebted for the chance to start fresh and cleanse ourselves. The cool night air reminds us that there are powerful forces in the universe that we cannot see, but we can feel. Each time we feel the breeze, we are reminded that we alone hold the answers to many of our own questions and we alone decide who we share our time with. We bid you farewell. <extinguish yellow candle>
Great Goddess, we thank you for your wisdom and love, for your guidance and comfort, and for your compassion and forgiveness. At times, we find ourselves lost in the busy world around us, but even in that chaos, we know you are always there keeping watch. Thank you infinitely! <extinguish Goddess candle>
This circle is now open!
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