Friday 27th July, 2018, marks a phenomenal lunar phase, whereby circumstances conspire, combine and coalesce as Selene rises in the night sky in two most magical conditions: full and totally eclipsed.
Described as a ‘Blood Moon’, due to its reddish hue, the lunar sphere will appear in the night sky (UK) at 20.50pm in the evening, already in total eclipse. During this phenomenon, the earth is perfectly between the solar and lunar orbs, fixed in that liminal space betwixt the Sun King and Moon Queen respectively. As the solar rays pass through the earth’s atmosphere before being reflected back from the midnight lantern, the effect is varying degrees of rouge appearing across the moon’s visage, giving rise to the name ‘Blood Moon’.
That this most rare lunar phase occurs around the Lammas tide of the year introduces some interesting and useful ‘energies’ to the season. Lammas is one of those ritual festivals that confuses many people, seemingly lost in modern paganism and witchcraft as one of those feasts that rests between solar way markers. However, it is one of the most poignant knots in the cord which encompasses our round. That this lunar eclipse sits perfectly poised mid solstice and equinox is exceedingly delicious as the sun, earth and moon lie in linear relation with each other. In such harmony, it would be remiss to ignore such timing and the splendid tapestry presented.
Paganism demands celebration of life forces and deity, even spirits, in which we acknowledge those universal energies which are in play throughout the natural world. The witch, however, strives to cross the River that separates the quick from the dead and go straight to the ‘Other’ in her dealings. At the liminal juncture between solar and lunar influences, a cross quarter day, it seems fitting that the lamp which lights our way in the journey to the Mound should be cast full and blood red. If not now, when the worlds are in such need of the old magics, then when?
John Barleycorn must die!
Lammas is a tide whereby the Lord of the Waning Year takes on the crown of sovereignty, escorting the Magna Mater to the kingdom of the shades where she will rule as the ‘Mother of the Harvest’, giving up seeds into the keeping of the dark God. She takes up Her mantle as protectress of the dead, safeguarding the Underworld realms of the Dread Lord for, in Her going, she makes possible the dying of the year and the ripening of the fruits of harvest. Pregnant with the seed of the Young Horn King, She carries forth into the Mound the Promise.
It is apt that the moon, Her own image and symbol, is in its fulness as the tide shifts to Lammas, aspected as She is as the pregnant Mother of the Harvest, bearing the seeds of the coming Year into the realm of the spectre of Death. Escorted into the Mound, She begins her descent and, in doing so, makes way for the journey we must all, one day, take and ensuring that safe passage. Therefore, the Blood Moon is washed with Promise, not fear. The Promise of life hidden in the menses, so closely aligned with lunar cycles of the Mother. The Promise of Life in Death, hidden in the depth of the darkness, the seed of light in the pregnant void.
In the folk song and legend, the blood of John Barleycorn is shed in order that we may feast and drink, the succeeding turn of the Wheel of Life carried forth in the belly of the Mother who traverses the River as the womb of the earth receives the seed which will burst in the Spring.
And so, with the Blood Moon on the horizon, how might we mark the occasion? The world of Paganism and witchcraft is replete with rituals, and there is already much that has been said and done. Therefore, there is little to include here excepting the most simple, and perhaps profound, of suggestions. With that in mind, here is a little something we can all try:
As the Blood Moon rises, make the time to be in its presence in one way or another, a specific setting aside of all mundane tasks and distractions. Take this time as special, out of time, in order to sit with the Blood Moon. This is an opportunity to simply acknowledge the fullness of Selene, Diana, the lunar and feminine in all Her glory. Clear your mind and simply be, gazing at the moon or its direction and clearing your mind of all outside and mundane thoughts. When the time feels right, take a simple seed thought, a succinct and singular act of will, and direct it towards the moon as it bleeds that red hue in its glow. Be aware that the blood of the moon is the sacrifice that will be required for any boon, that it is that which is shed in order that life may persist. When you have spent time with the Blood Moon, acknowledge the feminine principle, and ask that you may receive a clear and conscious appreciation and respect for all that it represents in your life.
Most especially, be aware of how you interact with women, if you are male, with every look, word or deed and how your behaviour impacts that woman and reflects back, much as the moon. Determine that you will positively be conscious of that light and the atmosphere through which it must pass and be the change you want to see in the world. Remember, we reap whatever we sow.