The Full Moon before Halloween - tonight's full moon - is for me the real entry into the Halloween/Samhain season. This moon focuses on the Crone aspect of the Goddess, and on the death portion of the life cycle. Samhain itself is the third harvest - Lughnassagh in August is the first, the Grain Harvest. The Autumn Equinox, or Mabon, is the Fruit and Vegetable Harvest, and finally, Samhain is the Meat Harvest, which very much highlights Death. This is why it regarded by many pagans as the end of the year - with Death, the year ends and becomes fertile soil for the year to come.
I think with the Blood Moon it is important to remember our role in the cycle of life and death - to be mindful in our eating practices to respect those animals that die so that we might be nourished.. To keep in mind that even those who are vegetarian impact life and death - we can't avoid it, but we should at least notice our place in it.
This isn't a very easy thing to contemplate - it's hard not to just give up and think it's all too much to pay attention to, and I am very far from living as mindfully and respectfully as I want to. But it is something that hunters of old knew far better than we do - that the needs that sustain our lives always, always, result in death for something else, and so it's a spiritual act to not waste what comes to us, or to engage in the hubris of thinking we are removed from the bloody, messy parts of life.
I do not engage in elaborate ritual - not because I don't like them, but simply because I never manage to get around to it. But I do try to acknowledge the Full Moons and quarter and cross-quarter days. Simple ways to acknowledge this one:
- Wear shades of red.
- Drink wine or cranberry juice with dinner.
- Decorate with cranberries, acorns, deer figurines, Indian corn, apples, etc.
- Burn red candles or cinnamon or dragon's blood incense.
- Chili, beef stew, and the like with corn bread are good meals for tonight.
- A meal that is culturally linked to your ancestry would also be good.
- Say thank you... offer a blessing over your meal today, thanking the life that was lost to provide you with this meal.
- Find out what free range and compassionately raised meat, dairy and egg options are available in your area. You don't need to commit to it all the way all at once... just find out what's possible.
- Volunteer some time or money at a local animal shelter.
PLAY (with children or not):
- Hide and seek is a good name... flashlight hide and seek by the light of the moon is better!
- Draw pictures of what you're thankful for, particularly those things that are sacrificed for your well being
- Tell ghost stories by the light of the moon.
- Read Tarot or practice other forms of divination... it is said that the veil between this world and the spirit world will begin to grow thinner from tonight through to Samhain.
What simple ideas do you have for observing this moon? Feel free to add suggestions in comments!