Saturday, June 26, 2010
Drawing Down the Moon
I tried to photograph the moon last night, but did not succeed. The daytime sky was gorgeous yesterday, textured with traces of angel wings. Beautiful, yes?
I only did it once, officially at least. You see, I never used to be able to appreciate the full moon. Perhaps because I was born at the dark moon, or maybe just because I'm (as my mother used to say) "too sensitive," the energy of the full moon gets to me. It feels buzzy and crazy, like listening to two radio stations at the same time. Or at least it used to.
We were at witch camp in the mountains of W. Virginia. The teaching team was planning the week's evening rituals. When I suggested that I opt out of the full moon ritual, one of the other teachers said, "Reya, all witches draw down the moon. For some witches, that's all they EVER do." It's true. One of the classic books about modern witchcraft, written by NPR reporter and witch Margot Adler, is named Drawing Down the Moon. But in Reclaiming we were so solar-oriented. I was an initiate and a teacher, but had never formed a relationship with the moon.
My co teachers promised to stick with me through the experience. The ritual itself was conceptually so beautiful. The one hundred campers and eight teachers stood in concentric circles, the tallest on the outside edges, the shortest close to the center. I was dead center. The idea was that I would call down the moon. The participants were to begin toning at the center of the "bowl" of people when they felt the energy arriving. As moonlight filled the bowl, the toning would swirl and circle outwards from the center until the bowl "overflowed" with moonlight. At the peak of the ritual, all of us would be toning together. Very cool ritual plan, eh? Reclaiming rituals were such artful pieces of spiritual theater.
I had planned an invocation very carefully, even written it down so I could deliver it properly, but in the moment when it was time for me to draw her down, something took over and I just started howling LUNA LUNA LUNA. I think I also shouted "Come down, come in, come down" ... just phrases, nothing eloquent came out of my mouth, believe me. I was like Marlon Brando yelling STELLA in that famous scene from A Streetcar Named Desire. I don't remember the sound of people toning or anything else about the ritual, actually. What I do remember is that the moon looked so big, really huge. I could see every crater, I could see the ridges on the edges of moon's horizons. My eyes were wide open and I was drinking in that view. It was like looking through a telescope.
The next thing I knew, I was being nudged to devoke. One of my co-teachers was on the ground holding my feet, an indication that I had really done it. She was holding me down so I didn't fly off into space, apparently, or so she told me later on. I said my proper goodbyes, but I was bluffing, the way you bluff when you come home stoned and have to talk to your parents, pretending to be sober.
I didn't sleep that night; I kept getting up, walking outside the cabin to look for her, see where she was in the sky. Oh man. That was such a crazy night.
Since then, needless to say, I have built a relationship with the moon. Some full moons are mild and have no effect on me anymore. Some moons ... well ... Last night's moon, for instance, got way under my skin. I truly understand the werewolf myth. I felt like getting crazy, but I behaved. My relationship with the moon is contentious, yes, but I am a grown up and can resist the urge to rip off my clothes and run through the streets howling like a lunatic. At least I did last night. Drank some wine with my housemates and went to bed. Had the weirdest dreams in the world, not the dreams I expected, of course.
The full moon has turned, the eclipse is done and now it's onwards and upwards. The task at hand now is to surf the crazy waves of resonance from yesterday's big event. Shalom.