Esbats ~ Full Moon Ritual

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Pray to the Moon when She is round
Luck with you shall then abound

Dark Moon Ritual
Prayers & Chants

Mother's circle met twice a week, so we didn't regulate our work too the Moon's tides. Twice a month would have been to little by her standards. But I am a victim of the romance of Moon worship that was my girlhood playground, skinny dipping under the full moon, playing hide and seek on a late summer's evening and falling in love under her watchful gaze. We were a family of nature lovers, so nature rituals were smaller, integrated and daily occurrences. None of the following is from my family tradition, but my adopted tradition.

I've stolen from everyone to compose this rite, so borrow from me having been warned that I have been bad here. Slap me, oh great watchdogs, where I need accrediting. I never intended to go public when I wrote it, and now it is so comfortable to myself and my circle, writing a new one would seem a lie. Although I can see why I should do that, or remove this one from public view. One, to stop plagiarizing and two, to keep things fresh. Even in this ritual there is more than one option in some sections. I do that to wake people up - so as not to drone on as I did the time before that, and the time before that, and the time before that. Yet, the ritual is basically the same to instill familiarity and a comfort level that allows a degree of unconsciousness. Because for spiritual connection one needs both - the wake up call of originality and freshness to say one is to pay attention and leave the white noise of the day or present expectation behind and also the soft comforting familiarity that allows one to detach from the conscious mind to drift into deeper levels of awareness.

Also - we do our rituals sitting down. First, it was necessitated by a need for privacy, but also, it has been my coven experience that standing in ritual often makes people feel more awkward. (Although for large rituals like the high holidays it is preferable to stand, especially if one is going to dance.)

We most often have ritual under the stars on my balcony due to a lack of privacy in my back yard. We sit on a carpet used only for ritual. Pillows are used for extra comfort. The balcony is decorated with a string of small white lights to add atmosphere. Everyone helps set up for ritual and it is all very festive.

One other note, I try to keep all my rituals about 30 minutes long. Enough time to feel one has accomplished something, but not so long that one is more aware of the time spent than the reason for spending it. And I put labels with the quarter calls on the quarter candles so that from the beginning, my witchlings do not suffer too much from performance panic. Ritual is an ensemble cast. (to cover my performance panic!) I'd rather everyone feel comfortable participating than enforce some false qualifications for memorizing. Often one or two have the greater courage to jump up to assist - commonly called Maidens to the High Priestess. In this case, daughters to the mom. We alternate who calls which quarter.

Full Moon Rite
Circa: 04/24/88
Last Edited April 2002

Altar cloth
Elemental symbols, incense for Air, pentacle for fire, seawater for water, stones for earth.
Bell (to mark the beginning and/or end of the ritual)
Four candles to mark the quarters. (One each, green, yellow, red, blue. Or white are okay)
Pitcher of spring water
Basket with feast - sweet bread (that our *Freya* always makes or buys) and wine (or cider)

Each member needs:
A silver chalice or a pottery/wooden chalice with a piece of silver resting in the bottom.
Grounding stone (optional, some of us can generate a good deal of energy so we each have personal stones we use to calm us, center us before the rite and ground the excess energy afterwards. I keep extras in the stone box representing the Earth quarter. I don't want any palpitations, shaky nerves or headaches after ritual.)
Sacred garb (optional)
Sacred jewelry (optional)

Light incense:

Ground and Center:


Firmly fix in you mind what you are seeking tonight, if it is a special intention or just a general blessing. Prepare yourselves with a sacred silence or a prayer for guidance, strength or success.

Prayer of Self Preparation:
Edited from Rabindranath Tagore, Gitanjali.


Into that Heaven of Freedom
Where the mind is without fear
and the head is held high
Where knowledge is free
Where the world has not been
broken up into fragments
By narrow domestic walls
Where words come out
from the depth of truth
Where tireless striving
stretches its arms towards perfection
Where the clear stream of reason
has not lost its way into
the dreary desert sand of dead habit
Where the mind is led forward by thee
Into ever-widening thought and action
Into that heaven of freedom,
Blessed Mother
Blessed Father
let me awake.


Blessing: (Adapted from ?)


Great Ones: We ask that the earthís ancient memory awaken at our presence. May the trees anticipate we, who steal into the night for worship and spiritual dance. May the night air stir with excitement as we, your children enchant in the moonlight. May the starlight open into a temple . . . and close behind us for protection. And may the only observers, all the creatures of nature, be our partners in the dance. May the Seeder of Quests direct our steps . . . May the Old Ones protect our passage . . . And may helping hands be extended to us on every side.

Cast a Circle:

Mother Goddess Circle Cast
Salute the North (Celtic tradition)
Deosil starting in the East


By the air that is Her Breath
By the fire that is Her spirit,
By the water that is Her blood
By the earth that is Her body
I cast a circle of Goddess light
On this her glorious moonlit night


Celtic Cross Circle Cast:
Begin North to South, West to East
Ending deosil around the circle.


By Stone and Flame, By Sea and Wind
Only kindred may attend
In this circle casting round
My sacred space is by them bound

With athame:


As above
So below

Call the Quarters:

Personification Quarters
Deosil starting in the East

Light the yellow candle:

I greet the East direction of Air, Radiant One and Brother
Guard my circle and guide my steps as I enchant tonight.

Light the red candle:

I greet the South direction Fire, Fiery One and Lover,
Guard my circle and guide my steps as I enchant tonight.

Light the blue candle:

I greet the West direction of Water, Mystic One and Sister
Guard my circle and guide my steps as I enchant tonight.

Light the green candle:

I greet the North direction of Earth, Fertile One and Mother
Guard my circle and guide my steps as I enchant tonight.


Nature Elements
Deosil starting in the East

Light the yellow candle

Spirits of Air, From breeze and breath
and thundercloud we call thee;
Cast your blessings upon our circle
And be a friend to us!

Light the red candle:

Spirits of Fire, From light and spark
and warmth we call thee;
Cast your blessings upon our circle
And be a friend to us!

Light the blue candle:

Spirits of Water, From river and lake
and ocean we call thee;
Cast your blessings upon our circle
And be a friend to us!

Light the green candle:

Spirits of Earth, From field and cavern
and mountain we call thee;
Cast your blessings upon our circle
And be a friend to us!

Welcome the Quarters:


Hear our song and join the rite
Praise the day and bless the night
Earth and fire, water and air.
We great you all and the gifts you bear

(Based on the hymn to Ishtar from Acadia)

Drawing Down the Moon

Invocation to the Goddess:


Crescent One of the starry skies,
Flowered One of the fertile plain,
Flowing One of the ocean's sighs,
Blessed One of the gentle rain;
Hear my chant 'midst the standing stones,
Open us to your mystic light;
Waken us to your silver tones,
Be with us in this sacred rite!

HPS passes the water pitcher to her left, so each can fill their chalice with spring water. While they do that...


Close your eyes. Take three cleansing breaths...exhale all negativity. Feel the tension and restless seep in to the inky night. Meditate on this or on the beauty of the night, blessings of friendship and the gifts of the goddess. Sink into the slow will.

After everyone has filled their chalice...


The Maiden knows no hatred.
The Mother knows no fear.
The Matron knows no ignorance.
Let three-in-one come near.

Hail Fair Goddess of passion!
Hail Bright Goddess of courage!
Hail Dark Goddess of wisdom!
She is here.


Come Maid, who brings us love
Come Mother, who brings us life
Come Matron, who brings us knowledge


(Instructs further for the first couple times, but once everyone gets the hang of's not necessary.) Hold your chalice in both hands. Open your eyes and gaze at the Moonís reflection in the Chalice water. (Or visualize it if you canít capture her reflection due to clouds, timing, being indoors.) For a slow and silent count of nine see the personal intention(s) you ask the Goddess to draw to you. Her reflection is your request manifest. Close your eyes and hold the image of the moon floating in the water in your mind. Slowly drink the water to the last drop. See yourself taking in the moonís reflection and the blessings you seek. See Her light radiating from the center of your chest. Sending light to every corner of your being. Healing, blessing and drawing your intentions to you. Set your chalice down afterward to signal you are done and meditate or sit quietly until everyone is done. (Take as long as you like.)

After everyone had drunk the water and set their chalices down...

HPS leads but, ALL repeat or say with...

I cleanse the mirror of my heart...
now it reflects the moon.
(From Renseki)

(End of Drawing Down the Moon ritual.)

Coven's Magickal Intention


We sit in the midnight circle, and call the Lamp of Night to bless our efforts. Full in Her glory we seek the power of Mother Moon, Drawing the Light of Night to bless our magick.

Everyone holds hands.

We visualize tonightís Intent For_________:(an agreed upon subject decided before we began the ritual)

We Raise Energy
(When it feels right, after some time to do the visualization...HPS leads the chant to raise the energy...(one can usually feel the energy circling in one direction or another - sometimes both!)


Strand By Stand, Hand Over Hand
Thread By Thread, We Weave The Web

(1970s chant)

As the energy builds, the HPS instructs the circle to push the energy into the center and release.

Ground & Center

Cakes and Wine:
After passing the bread and wine to the left - A toast:


Gracious Lady be our guest,
our morning joy, our evening rest,
and with this daily bread impart,
your love and peace to every heart.


Lord and Lady, bless this food
That it in turn, will help me be
A blessing to the fruitful Earth
Which yields herself so much for me

Eat & Drink (Casual part of the ceremony. We discuss how the coven magick felt - what our visualizations were or how they may have changed unbidden, how the energy felt, or discuss any magickal epiphany or unbidden event that one or more of us may have experienced together or separately. We love it when we witness the same thing. We often have seconds of the bread or wine, if the conversation is really good. Allow the conversation to end naturally.)

Thanking the Goddess:


Bright Lady, Great Mother, Spirit of all things fertile, We see your light in the silver Moon, in the candle flame, and greater yet in the light instilled within. We see you at every birth and ease of suffering, Within each victory your forge of strength. May we be a reflection of your gifts, We thank you for being with us now and in all things.

We Release the Quarters:
Beginning widdershins in the North


Powers of the North and Earth, go with care.
Until we meet again. (Blow out candle)


Powers of the West and Water, go with peace.
Until we meet again. (Blow out candle)


Powers of the South and Fire, go with love.
Until we meet again. (Blow out candle)


Powers of the East and Air, go with clarity.
Until we meet again. (Blow out candle)

Goddess Cast Closing(AC)
Beginning widdershins in the North


With the earth that is Her form,
And the water that is Her life,
With the fire that is Her spark,
And the air that is Her sigh
This circle cast,
I now untie


Closing the Circle

Celtic Cross Closing (AC)


By Wind and Sea, By Flame and Stone
And Ancient kindred who attended
And this circle (widdershins) now unbound
We thank thee, all. Hail and Farewell. (end facing north)


The circle is open, but unbroken.


May the Love (or Light or Beauty or Blessings, etc) of the Goddess
Be in your hearts


Blessed be.

© 2004-2012 Ardriana Cahill

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