We gathered early Wednesday for full moon festivities. First we had homeschool Waldorf craft day. Felting balls with the children was delightful. The house got steamy from all the boiling water and the children got clean.
Juniper helped the children make nature offerings to use during the ritual. She spoke of how even the smallest of gifts can be meaningful. She had us bring to mind hardships that had occurred during the year and think about ways they made us stronger.
For the evening ritual, the children called the Quarters and lit candles. Because it is the Oak Moon, we processed to our little pin oak tree and hung our offerings upon it. On this dark December night, the moon is visible the longest time of the year. Simple words were spoken:
“Lady of the Night, be our guide;
Lady of the Moon, stand by our side.”
After scouring the internet to find instructions for making these, and finding very little, I thought I would write my own. Here goes:
3 watercolor paintings done in “wet on wet” fashion
1. Make a pentagram pattern out of cardboard. It must be a perfect pentagram. This was probably the most difficult part of the process!
We found this link helpful and fun!
If you have a printer, this link will do the trick.
2. Trace 11 pentagons onto your paintings and cut them out.
3. Inside of your pentagons, draw another angled pentagon, with its points in the exact middle of the larger shapes straight sides, so that you can fold the points down.
4. Fold all the points over.
5. Glue the shapes to each other, starting from the base. We used school glue applied with a paintbrush.
When you get to the top opening, make sure and glue those points down too to make the star affect when lit.
I found these links helpful as well:
And apparently, the complete instructions can be found in this book.
Put a votive candle inside your lanterns to see the stars!
Rhea, Juniper, Melanie, and I, along with all the kids, processed under the bright Moon light to the waiting fire and altar. We held hands in a circle as we gazed at the Moon Herself. I (Chris) then poured out a chalice of milk for Her, along with words of praise. Each person in turn stepped into the middle of the circle to receive a Full Moon blessing. The rest of the circle laid hands on the person while I anointed their forehead with scented oil. “Mother Moon, this is (name) your child. (Name), the blessings of the Moon are upon you.” We tied a white cord around the wrist of each person as they were blessed. We howled at the Moon, had cakes and passed a cup of cider, and some of us stayed outside around the fire to watch Her wend her way across the starry sky.
2 qt. cider
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ginger
1/2 cup apricot brandy
Cashew Coven Cakes
1 1/2 cup flour
1 cup sugar
1 cup ground cashews
3 drops almond extract
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup softened butter
1 egg yolk
2 Tbsp. honey
-Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine the first five ingredients in a bowl. Add butter, egg and honey, creaming with a fork. Refrigerate for 2 hours. Pinch off two inch crescent shapes and bake on a greased cookie sheet for 18 – 20 minutes.
Samhain is the Pagan New Year, when the veil between the living and spirit realms is at its thinnest. Samhain is the Witches highest holiday. Luckily for Pagan families, mainstream culture really embraces Samhain as Halloween, giving us plenty of activities and fun.
Trick or treating, letting disguised children run from house to house, demanding candy, is one of my favorite things! (We ascribe to the “eat as much candy as you can for 24 hours” school of thought.) Sometimes I can’t believe our society has allowed this tradition to flourish! My family went dressed mostly as zombies, with a pumpkin baby.
On Saturday we made lanterns, had a special Samhain meal, Shepherds pie with scary cheese shapes, pumpkin pie and pinot noir. We set a place at the table for our anscesters and invited them to join us. After the meal, the food was taken outside and placed at the foot of our ancestor tree. The jack o’lanterns and altar candles were lit.
Every Samahain evening we have family divination. In past years this has been with runes and tarot cards. This year we began with black mirror gazing. Then a candle lit glow in the dark ouija board. It was a huge success, but it did cause some difficulty with putting the children to bed! A reminder that their Samhain dreams would be prophetic and a blessing eased things.
Also, I mailed my baby’s birth certificate on Samhain- Meabh Phoenix Jean Moore
Chris’ Shepherd’s Pie Recipe
In Chris’ words:
a bunch of TVP mixed with two cans tomato soup mix, cooked carrots, french cut green beans. Make mashed potatoes. Put TVP, soup and veggies (combined) on bottom of 9″ rectangular pan, layer mashed potatoes on top. Cook at 325 for 25 minutes. Let stand for 5 min.
These ideas are first and best articulated by Steven Posch, so please go there just as soon as you can. Ask him if he has any copies available of his book, Lost Gods of the Witches. For now, I’ll give you the five-cent tour.
Just for a moment, look away from your computer screen, and out a window. I want to introduce you to the pantheon that I worship.
See the ground outside, frosty or fertile? Know that I call Her Earth, Mother of us all.
Is it day? Then see the god I call Sun, welcome friend in winter.
If it’s night, maybe you gaze at Moon, most beautiful.
And all the trees and grass and plants of the world are Green, and you and me and your cat and birds and deer and all animals are, literally are, the god Horn.
And Storm, and Fire and the four Winds and Sea.
They were here long, long before me, and will be here long, long after. I ask nothing from them, since They have already given everything that I am.
They are both gorgeous and terrifying, and show us many faces. Oh, so you don’t like my He’s and She’s? Have you got a different idea? Good! Let’s hear your stories about Them.
This weekend we set up our Samhain altar/ nature table. Chris and I had planned on having two separate tables. One ancestors altar, honoring our friends and family that have died, and one nature table that the children could play with and add on to as treasures were found. While Chris suited up to winterize the bees, I dug through the alter cupboard, choosing appropriate items: old photographs, acorns, gnomes, tarot cards, etc.
Just as the children began to gather around, excited to help, Chris gave a holler from the yard and I hurried off. (Don’t worry – only a question about where to place the bee escape.)
We returned together, ready to begin the altar building. To our surprise, the children had already finished and were very proud of themselves! They even put an incense burner in the cauldron for a foggy effect. And so, the Samhain season begins at Many Hands House.
The last full Moon, She was huge and full and beautiful a few days past. I called to Wolfie, I said, “Hey, Wolfie, wanna go give the Moon a drink?” He nods, and we fill our offering horn with milk and head out to the patio. The grass, the trees, the trampoline, shine silver. Morgan decides this is a perfect gig for him and his new guitar, and joins us, strumming quietly. Miraculously, he is followed by Rhianon, Archer, and Rowan (Rowan!) who cradles Maeve in his arms. We stand together, watching Her for long moments. I ask Rowan to hold Maeve up to the Moon, and I say, “This is Maeve, o Moon.” As I pour out the horn of milk onto the grass, I say my favorite libation line from Sparky, “Drink long, drink deep, be with us, be well.” It’s over as quickly as it started, and we file back into the house.
This, in our family, is ritual. We have, over the years, stripped away almost every last bit of ceremonial magic (circle casting, quarter calling, pentagram drawing, etc.) from our religious practice. I don’t judge any of those things; they are part of any Pagan’s religious inheritance. For us, however, these simple rituals are a veryhonest and heartfelt way to creatively express our values and understanding of what it means to be Pagans.
Did you see the last full Moon? Wasn’t She beautiful?
Let (him/her) run in your fields of darkness,
drink from the cup of your milky moon,
cradle (him/her) in a blanket of stars,
and, when you depart,
may the rising Sun kiss their waking brow.
Night has fallen,
Day has flown,
Holy Hammer guard this home.
From trolls and giants,
Thor, do keep our family safe,
so we can sleep.