Guest Post: Teo Bishop on Celebrating the Full Moon

Guest Post: Teo Bishop on Celebrating the Full Moon September 12, 2011

Teo Bishop just joined Patheos! Be sure to check out his blog: Bishop In The Grove!

The Moon went full on September 11th, 2011. The Moon was full, and Pagans gathered, and we celebrated the continuity of life, the rising and falling of the tides, the movement toward light, the realization of wholeness, and the slow, steady return to the darkness.

Pagans celebrate. Pagans gather and make ourselves aware of the rhythms of the Earth, and the reliability of the heavens, and we do so in the face of the unfathomable sorrow and pain that is present in our world. We are a people of the Earth, no different than any other human being, except that we take on this role as a spiritual calling.

We rejoice in the living, and in the dying. This is who we are, and this is what we bring to the discussion about what to do on September 12th.

My “Where Was I”

For weeks before the Full Moon I avoided the news. NPR, which is reliably stark and somber on any given day, was more overcast than usual during the first full week of the month.

I don’t want to think about September 11th, I thought.

When we commemorate the moment that something horrible occurred, there is this sense that we’re participation in something relevant. It feels important to remember that I was crashing on my friend’s floor a decade ago, and that she woke me up in time to watch things on the TV that I had no power to change.

But I’m not sure how important it is.

One blog post that showed up in my feed during the waxing days stated that 9/11, “defined my generation,” and I’m not comfortable with that idea. It feels contrary to my nature to be defined by tragedy. Informed by tragedy, perhaps, but defined? I feel we are defined by our response to tragedy.

The Morning After

September 12th was a day of opportunity. It was a day of reevaluation, and a day of revelation; a chance to respond to our collective pain with compassion.

What I am today is something different because of what happened yesterday, and what does that mean?

This is the spirit of September 12th. Reflection. Coming to know ourselves better. Going inward in order to find the voice of the wounded and to seek out healing.

This is in perfect alignment with the movement of the Moon.

The Moon wanes, and we are called to go inward, into the darkness of the night, into the darkness of ourselves, and come to know it better. We move toward the darkness, not out of fear, but with reverence. We move through this cosmic liturgy because doing so helps us to make sense of the world, and to get in touch with the truest parts of ourselves. We perform this act of ritual introspection because doing so allows us to respond to our lives — to tragedy, to suffering, or even to violence — with empathic awareness, for we know ourselves, and we know that we, too, are capable of creating tragedy, causing suffering or inflicting violence.

We also do it because we know that it must be done in order to make it to the next Full Moon.

Celebrate the 12th

Again, I say that Pagans are a people who celebrate. As the Moon begins her journey toward darkness, and we begin to move with her, let us remember to lift our eyes to the sky and honor the sacred cycles of the cosmos. Let us seek out balance, strive toward compassion and reconciliation, and be ever aware of and open to the transformative opportunities that lie in the darkest moments.

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