Thursday, December 29, 2011

Sixth Night Festival

Tonight is the sixth night of the new lunar cycle, not the first night seeing that sliver of a crescent, but still newly forming. This is one of the nights in a month where I hold a special festival for Artemis. I hold it on this night because Artemis is associated with the number six, as well as with the waxing crescent that resembles Her bow.

I began the night by making the ritual cakes. Equal parts flour and ground almonds (it should be walnuts, but almond is what was on hand tonight) - 1/4 cup of each is enough for my purposes, six small ritual cakes. Next there's a bit of butter and honey, about a tablespoon of each. A pinch of salt, a few drops of good olive oil. Enough wine (well this month it's mead) to form a stiff dough, again usually about a tablespoon. It's probably obvious that this is not a strict recipe. Some months I include fruit, maybe fig or apricot. Or perhaps something locally growing that I've picked earlier in the day. Some months there may be some egg - yolk into the cakes, and brushed with the whites before baking. The dough is shaped into little crescent cakes, baked until the bottoms are lightly browned. Tonight the drink was that same mead used in the cakes. Locally produced, it's flavored with black cherry, blueberry, and red currant. Very nice on a cold night.

Next I gathered the supplies - the cup and plate, the knife, some incense and a lighter, my choker that I wear when doing Her rituals. I walked to the place where I knew I'd be able to see the crescent as it sank lower to the horizon. If this were a summer month the sun would still have been up for the ritual, birds and bugs would have been singing... but it's winter, so it was dark, and very quiet. This is not like a full moon ritual, the crescent shines some light down, but even away from city lights it's still quite dark. It was cold out, 25F, but I didn't feel cold...

I sat on the ground and gave my eyes a few minutes to adjust a bit, gave my mind some time to adjust. There's no lengthy set up. No need to purify the space, no need to do anything to it. It's good as it is. I simply lit the incense, and invited Artemis and Her spirits to join me if they would. I used the knife to bless the meal, I ate and drank some myself, but I shared more, and then I just sat and listened. When the time came, I thanked those who attended. I left more offerings at the edge of the woods.

It's very simple, but not everything has to be complicated, complex, highly-scripted, using many tools or props, or whatever else. Such things have their purpose and place, but I find myself leaning more and more to the simple these days...

No comments:

Post a Comment