January 2020 Full Wolf Moon – A Lesson in Imperfection


The January 2020, Full Wolf Moon occurs on Friday January 10th (12:23 PM, MST).  Also occurring on the same day is a penumbral eclipse (January 10th-11th), which unfortunately won’t be visible in our area, but is the basis of our lesson tonight.  It’s a slightly visible darkening of a portion of the full moon in the night sky.

A penumbral eclipse happens when the moon moves through the outer part of earth’s shadow.  In layman’s terms, it’s when the Sun, Earth, and the Moon are imperfectly aligned.  Our planet blocks a portion of the Sun’s light from directly reaching the Moon’s surface, and covers some of the Moon with the outer part of its shadow; that shadow is known as the penumbra.  In order for a penumbral event to occur, two things must happen simultaneously.  First, there must be a full moon.  Second, the sun, earth, and moon must be partially aligned, not fully aligned as in a full or partial lunar eclipse.

2020 Full Wolf Moon

What You’ll Need For This Full Wolf Moon Ritual

This ritual is designed for a group and is best performed outside around a generous bonfire (bonfires just seem to make everything better)

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
Pine branches and winter greenery 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.

Ritual Begins

I cast this circle round and round from earth to sky, from sky to ground. I conjure now this sacred space outside of time, outside of place. Once the circle is cast, we are between the worlds.

Calling the Full Wolf Moon Quarters

Great Spirits of the East, the birthplace of the invisible power of AIR – we welcome your presence on this frosty full wolf moon night – we seek your counsel on this first full moon of the calendar year – give us the confidence to believe in the magick of the world, even though it cannot always be seen. <light yellow candle>

Great Spirits of the South, the lands of smoke, light, and the power of FIRE – we welcome your presence as the icy winter winds cut a pathway across the barren land – when all is quiet except for the crackling fire, we seek your stoic wisdom and guidance as we meditate and contemplate the coming year ahead. <light red candle>

Great Spirits of the West, where the power and energy of WATER was born – we are blessed by your presence tonight in this circle – as we observe the many forms of water; whether as ice and snow, liquid refreshment, or a floating morning mist, we learn to not judge anything from our first reaction. <light blue candle>

Great Spirits of the North, the birthplace of the power of EARTH and all that resides upon it – we are perpetually in a state of thankfulness for the countless blessings afforded to each and every individual gathered here tonight – we shall endure under your many protections and we shall thrive due to your many gifts.  <light green candle>

Great Goddess; Mistress of the Night Skies, Queen of the Landscape, and Mother to all that exists in this plane.  We ask honorably for your presence tonight in this circle under the great Full Wolf Moon.  As we boldly step forward into 2020, we only ask for your guidance, a precious spark of hope, and perpetual spiritual healing.  We seek the wisdom of higher learning so that we may be ambassadors of your love and kindness.  <light Goddess candle>


Long ago, it was common to track the changing seasons by following the moon cycle.  Native Americans and early Europeans would name the many full moons based on what was happening each year around them.  The Full Wolf Moon name comes from a time long ago when wolves would howl at the winter moon and the sound would travel across the cold landscape.  It’s also known as the Cold Moon, the Ice Moon, Winter Moon, Cooking Moon, and the Quiet Moon, depending on which ancient beliefs you follow.  As a sidebar, we encourage anyone with an interest in naming history to visit Celtic Myth and Moonlight.

Musical Interlude

Music has always been a part of any pagan celebration, ritual, or gathering.  For this month’s selection, please enjoy this hauntingly beautiful song titled, “Moon” by Omnia.

Lesson of the Session – What We Can Learn Through Imperfection

Imperfection is underrated.  The word itself casts a slightly dark shadow on things; quite similar to what we are observing with the penumbral eclipse happening tonight.  Imperfection implies something missing, damaged, or not the way it “should” be.  In a world that is seemingly obsessed with perfection, many people see it as a purely negative word, when in fact it should be interpreted as just the opposite.

We’ve all heard about mythical perfect beings; some call them Gods and Goddesses, while others might see them as visitors to this world from somewhere in space.  These beings have no faults, do nothing wrong, and speak, act, and live on such a high level as that no criticism can touch them.  They may be worshiped, adored, and seated high upon a pedestal as a shining icon for everyone to learn from and try to emulate.  Entire populations may bow down and follow them blindly simply because they carry the title of “perfect”.   But, when reality comes to call, most people will realize that perfection is clearly in the eye of the beholder and not an all-encompassing trait.

Moreover, the term perfection is highly subjective.  In America the concept of perfection is dramatically different than India or Pakistan.  We may place a greater emphasis on material goods, a large circle of friends, or influence; as measurements of perfection.  Other cultures may be totally opposite and emphasize family, charity, and wisdom as key measurements.  And still another group might consider technological superiority, science, and mechanics as key indicators.   So we’re left with minds running on overdrive trying to figure out which things we should be focused on in our race to seek perfection.  The truth is perfection is unattainable, but sometimes human beings get caught up trying to achieve it anyway.

We are all imperfect and being reminded of that imperfection can be one of the most valuable occurrences in our lives.  For without imperfection, we cannot grow as individuals.  We cannot strive to reach higher heights, dig deeper into our spiritual unconsciousness, and broaden our horizons.  It’s a glorious ego check; a tremendous opportunity to check our privileges, and to seek humility and humbleness.

Winter Cleansing & Clearing

The Full Wolf Moon is an optimal time to cleansing.  It’s the first full moon of 2020, and it comes with a clean slate.  It’s time to surrender those clusters of negative energy that we’ve allowed to build up over the last year, and especially during the hustle and bustle of the holiday’s.  Now is a perfect time to release and start anew.  But, unlike all those other times during 2019 when you tried to cut cords, free yourself from emotional bondage, or evict negative people and energy form your life, let’s do it for real.  No more crutches and no more hidden agendas.

As always, the Guardians of the South have provided us with the ability to cleanse and clear this energy through the power of FIRE.  We must first accept the facts.  We all carry baggage.  Some is spiritual, some mental fog, and some unbeknownst to us.  We all have cords attached to us by those seeking to siphon off our positivity and feed on our delicious energy.  We all are susceptible to psychic attacks that wear us down and create vulnerabilities.  In short, we are all imperfect beings.  But, and this is a huge but; we are also capable of self-care, self-cleansing, and cutting away that which is not serving our greatest and highest self.

Tonight we stand here in the freezing wind as a united community.  Yet we also stand as a group of individuals with individualistic problems, concerns and the weight of different forms of negativity.  If you are ready to make a clean break from that which no longer serves you, then make the decision tonight to rid yourself of the baggage by writing down that which you wish to eliminate from you own life and burning the text.

<Offer each person paper/pencil to write down the things they wish to purge tonight>

Each of you may come to the flames when you are ready.  As you approach to cast the unwanted from your life, remember that you are also creating an open space in your spiritual soul.  It’s critical that once you release the unwanted trash, that you quickly fill those spaces with things that have meaning.   Some examples of meaningful things to replace the trash could be, gratitude, love, compassion, smiles, hugs, and more.

As you burn each item, state the following out loud, “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>

Under the light of this Full Wolf Moon, we see darkness across the land.  The naked trees and barren fields are cold and lifeless and the world around us is unyielding and stiff.  And yet rather than surrender ourselves to the darkness, we instead choose rejoice in the season by cleansing our bodies and our minds.  We bring our optimism that soon it will be spring and then summer.  Our eyes are opened wide to be cautious of those who wish to feed upon our good energies.  Fires are burning in our hearts and souls and those around us can feel it radiating as it seeks other like-minded people.  We trust in our own abilities to stand tall and walk boldly into whatever the world has to offer us, with goodness, trust, and compassion for one another.  So Mote It Be !

<Depending on your particular beliefs, you can either take this time to share cakes and ale among those gathered, pass a talking stick and share thoughts on the future, or you can skip it altogether and go right to the closing>

Closing the Full Wolf Moon Circle

Great spirits of the Earthly realm, we thank you for your presence in our circle this night. May we be blessed with the abundance from your belly.  We bid you farewell. <extinguish green candle>

Great spirits of Watery realm, we thank you for your presence in our circle this night.  May we be blessed with the ability to flow with life’s currents. We bid you farewell. <extinguish blue candle>

Great spirits of the Fiery realm, we thank you for your presence in our circle this night. May we be blessed with the ability to see your light in any darkness. We bid you farewell. <extinguish red candle>

Great spirits of the Airy realm, we thank you for your presence in our circle this night. May we be blessed with the ability to see something positive in every vision. We bid you farewell. <extinguish yellow candle>

Great Goddess, we thank you for your wisdom and love. Thank you for the opportunity to share space with our brothers and sisters on this full wolf moon night.  Thank you for sharing this night with us in our sacred space. <extinguish Goddess candle>

This circle is now open!


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