January Waning 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 Waning 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).

You will need also:
1 black candle
1 pink candle
Sage, frankincense or myrrh incense (for clearing)

Ritual Bath

Add salt to the water, or tie the following herbs in a small piece of cloth: hyssop, lavender and rosemary. Run under faucet.

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.

As you inhale the aroma of the steaming herbs, visualize the steam breaking up any tension in your body, and exhale. Ask your body and spirit to release any thoughtforms that are not in accordance with your highest potential, and be willing to look at where you might be harboring doubt, suspicion, or fear. With each inhale, affirm that you are breathing in the healing energies of the Universe, and that you can transform yourself through meditation, patience and faith.

With each exhale, affirm that the outmoded thoughtforms are transformed into NEW ENERGY that can be utilized for growth. ENERGY is neutral, so it is up to us to REDIRECT it!

Light your white altar candles and incense. They are symbolic of peace, truth and protection. Meditate for a few minutes on what that means to you personally. Is there anything in your life now that is not in sync with your personal truth?

Light the black candle. The color black is an absence of color, and therefore ABSORBS… the black candle will represent the absorbing/transforming power of the dark moon, and as we work with it, imagine the pain or anger being pulled out of you and absorbed and transformed by the energy that is symbolized by the black candle.

Take a small piece of paper, and write WITH AS MUCH EMOTION AS YOU CAN MUSTER one thing you want to release / transform.

Light one corner of the paper, and immediately drop it into a flameproof / heatproof dish (a large ashtray or a ceramic pot with some soil on the bottom would be ideal).

Repeat with any and all emotions, fears, resentments, gripes, angers, resentments, excuses, obligations, etc. etc. etc.
Until you feel CLEAR! If you still feel bad, keep going for a while!

When you’ve cried, griped etc as much as you can stand, put out the black candle.

Light the pink candle. Put on your favorite music: something that makes you feel energized, happy and motivated! Now you need to focus on filling up the spaces left wher the old pain was! Time to fill it in with the AFFIRMATIONS of your choice…
Always write affirmations in the PRESENT tense! Keep repeating them over and over until you feel GREAT! BREATHE IN your new TRUTH.

When you are finished, put out the pink candle, and save it and the black candle until the next time you do this exercise. For maximum effect or serious depression or apathy, do this spell 3 days in a row (finishing on New Moon day).

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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