January Dark Moon Esbat

Background
Summer is a fond memory and autumn’s splendor has turned dull brown and gray. The hardest part of winter lies ahead even though the days are lengthening with the promise of spring and renewal. But now it is winter. This is the time of year when many animals hibernate. For us, winter is the time for turning inward to take stock of our spiritual journey during the previous twelve months and to prepare for the year ahead so that we will emerge with spring’s life-force knowing where we have been and where we intend to travel. Now is the time to deepen your winter journey—your self-work. This night is the time to seek the place within you that is pure being, where you are both student and teacher. Learn to listen to your inner voice however it may reveal itself to you. It becomes easier to hear that voice as snow covers the ground and our world becomes a little quieter. Winter brings the power of silence. The light in our homes becomes a little softer as we may favor candles over electric bulbs on some evenings.

January Dark Moon Ritual
Moon of the First Circle

Setup
Items needed for this ritual include: Six candles for the altar; White altar cloth (the color of snow and ice); Stars, Christmas ornaments in the shape of stars, star-shaped glitter, etc.; Other symbols of winter that hold meaning for you; Athame or wand; Journaling book and pen (optional).

In addition:
two black candles,
cauldron,
paper and pen.

Place the cauldron in the center of the altar and put the paper and pen beside it.

The Ritual

With your athame or wand, walk the perimeter of your circle saying:

The night is dark, the world is still,
Seeds rest beneath snow-covered hills.
Waiting for spring, I turn within,
To other realms, t’is time to begin .
I create sacred space with this first circle of the year.

Walk to the edge of the circle in each direction respectively as you speak, and then light a candle on the altar. Stand in front of the altar to evoke the Goddess and God.

Hail, Spirits of North, of Earth wrapped in slumber. Below the snow and ice you rest and wait for the time of awakening. Be with me this night.

Hail, Spirits of East, of Air shrouded with winter fog. Your blanket of white brings a quiet stillness to the world. Be with me this night.

Hail, Spirits of South, of Fire warm and inviting. Keep alive the spark of life that sleeps within Mother Gaia. Be with me this night.

Hail, Spirits of West, of Water suspended like diamonds in winter’s icy hand. Hold your secrets until you flow again. Be with me this night.

Hail Lord of Winter, harsh and challenging. Your driving storms bring both beauty and danger. Your lessons I must learn. Be with me this night.

Hail Lady of Darkness, of star-studded heavens. Your crisp cold nights vibrate with the silvery gift of Luna. Be with me this night.

Light the black candles and say:

The moon is dark.
She hides her face from humans.
Only women can know the true secrets of the Dark Mother.
Wise one, let me feel Your presence and power.
I need Your wisdom of releasing and removing.
If punishment be needed by those who work against me,
I leave it within your hands.
Move counter clockwise to the East and say:
Remove all negatives from my thoughts amd mind, Dark Mother.
Let them bear no fruit within my life.

Go to the North and say:
Remove all negatives from my body,
Dark Mother.
Let them bear no fruit in my life.

Go to the West and say:
Remove all negatives from my emotions,
Dark Mother.
Let them bear no fruit in my life.

Go to the South and say:
Remove all negatives from my spiritual life, Dark Mother.
Let them bear no fruit in my life.

Return to the altar and stand facing North.
Say :
I accept no negative thoughts, words, or deeds from others.
They ase destroyed by the powers of the Dark Mother.
If these negatives comefrom within myself, turn them into lessons of good.
Help me to become balanced, a true Goddess-daughter/son of light and wisdom.

Face the altar now. Write down on the paper negative things you wished removed from your life in reguards to the spiritual path you are on. Think of the December moon and get in touch with the darkness. Read each one out loud to the Dark Mother to release them to Her. Light the paper from one of the black candles and drop it into the cauldron and watch it burn and say:

I release these unto Your keeping.
Show me how to move beyond these negatives into a position of light and power.

Burn the paper until it is reduced to ashes. Raise your arms in reverence to the Goddess when the paper is finished and say:
Dark Mother,
Crone Goddess,
Wise and Elder One,
teach me Your deep mysteries,
the Ancient Goddess magick known to my foremothers and fathers.
Guide and protect me, Dark Mother.

Now would be a good time to mediatate and see what insight you may receive from the Mother. Bury the ashes of the paper somewhere off of your property.

When you feel ready to end your ritual, stand in front of the altar when addressing the Goddess and God. Walk to the edge of the circle in the respective direction as you dismiss each. After speaking, extinguish a candle on the altar.

Lady of Darkness, of energy that moves me with the rhythm of the moon, thank you for your presence and guidance. Stay if you will; go if you must. Hail and farewell.

Lord of Winter, White Warrior of snow and winter winds, thank you for your presence and teachings. Stay if you will; go if you must. Hail and farewell.

Spirits of the West, of frozen Water that sparkles like precious crystal, thank you for your presence this night. Stay if you will; go if you must. Hail and farewell.

Spirits of the South, of Fire that keeps the icy chill from my bones, thank you for your presence this night. Stay if you will; go if you must. Hail and farewell.

Spirits of the East, of Air that catches my breath in wintry wisps, thank you for your presence this night. Stay if you will; go if you must. Hail and farewell.

Spirits of the North, of Earth that sleeps until spring calls, thank you for your presence this night. Stay if you will; go if you must. Hail and farewell.

Close the circle:
The first circle of the year is open,
But like the web of life, unbroken.
Through the winter may it sustain me,
In faith and unity, blessed be.

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