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How To Celebrate a Winter Full Moon - Group Ceremony

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In addition to -- or instead of -- holding a monthly Esbat rite, some Wiccan and Pagan groups prefer to have a season-specific full moon ceremony. During the chilly winter months, the season begins with the Long Nights Moon in mid-December, and continues through January's aptly-named Cold Moon and the Quickening Moon of February. If you'd like to celebrate one or more of these moon phases with a ritual specific to winter, it's not hard. This rite is written for a group of four people or more, but you can easily adapt it for a solitary practitioner.

Difficulty: Average
Time Required: Varied

Here's How:

  1. While it may be too cold to hold this ritual outside, it's also possible to keep a group warm with a good fire, at least for a while. Don't feel bad, though, if you have to hold the rite inside. Ask each member of the group to bring an item to place on the altar -- something that represents the season. Decorate the altar with these goodies. Some ideas would be:

    • A basket of pinecones, fir boughs, mistletoe or holly
    • Cranberries and nuts
    • Bright suns and stars
    • Cinnamon
    • Ribbons in seasonal colors
    You'll want to include quarter candles*, as well as a cup of wassail or other seasonal drink. If you're including Cakes and Ale as part of your celebration, place your cakes on the altar as well.
  2. The person in the north quarter lights their green candle, holds it to the sky, and says:

    We call upon the powers of Earth,
    and welcome you to this circle.
    You hold the seeds within you, warm and deep,
    waiting for the return of daylight.
    Keep the roots of life sacred within your womb,
    until it is time for growth to begin once more.
    Place the candle on the altar.
  3. The person to the east lights the yellow candle, raises it to the sky, and says:

    We call upon the powers of Air,
    and welcome you to this circle.
    The whirling winds of winter
    bring snow and cold to our hearths and homes.
    They also bring with them change,
    opportunity, and renewal as they blow.
    Place the candle on the altar.
  4. Moving to the south, light the red candle and hold it to the sky, saying: We call upon the powers of Fire,
    and welcome you to this circle.
    May you keep us safe, and warm our homes,
    the spirit of the sun.
    Place the candle on the altar.
  5. Finally, light the blue candle to the west, and hold it to the sky, saying: We call upon the powers of Water,
    and welcome you to this circle.
    Snow and ice, sleet and rain,
    wash away that which we no longer need.
    Place the candle on the altar.
  6. Have everyone in the circle join hands and say:

    We gather tonight to rejoice by the light of the moon.
    We celebrate the season of darkness,
    knowing that the next turn of the Wheel will bring light.
    We use this time of darkness for thought,
    introspection, and growth.
    As the moon above, so the earth below.
    Go around the circle, passing the wassail. As each person takes a sip, they should share one change they plan to make in the coming months. Now is a good time to make plans for future, with the coming change of seasons -- what goals have you set for yourself? How will you make them manifest?
  7. Take a moment to reflect on darkness of the season, and know that without it, there can be no light. When everyone is ready, either move on to your next ceremony -- Cakes and Ale, Drawing Down the Moon, healing rites, etc. -- or end the ritual.

Tips:

  1. * Quarter candles are colored candles based on the colors of the four cardinal directions: green for north, yellow for east, red to the south and blue in the west.

What You Need

  • Candles for each of the four quarters
  • A cup of wassail or other seasonal drink
  • Symbols of the season to decorate the altar
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