Eclipse Rituals and Unexpected Insights
Looking for ritual ideas? Sometimes an impromptu ritual can be very insightful as I realized when my candles began talking to me. Read on for ideas you can incorporate into your next rite or meditation. (photos copyrighted by Lorna Tedder)
I hadn’t planned a Full Moon ritual for the eclipse on 21 December 2010–not because I didn’t recognize its importance this year but because I wanted to incorporate that energy into my annual “Burning Bowl” ritual at a gathering in my home the following night. All I’d planned for the eclipse was to stay up all night and watch the celestial light show…maybe do a little praying and a lot of thinking about a particular situation in my life.
When I glanced outside to check the skies at 1:15 AM (central time), darkness already covered half the moon, and suddenly I knew that I was going to be doing an impromptu ritual while I craned my neck to watch the chilly, clear night play out before me. I gathered up what seemed absolutely “right”—though I didn’t know why—and carried a blanket and an armload of items into my driveway where I had the best view. Normally, I would be in my back yard fire circle, but the tree obscured the slightly western view, so I opted for a discreet corner out front.
It was a powerful night, one in which most people claim to feel small and insignificant watching the grander movements of the Universe, but not me. I felt powerful, felt the power, felt my significance to Deity and the love shining all around me. I was not separate from my Gods but a part, and I felt sacred and blessed.
When I began my ritual, I had no idea what to do with the items I’d selected to take outdoors. Very quickly, I realized that some of the smaller candles represented particular situations and people in my life. Following my prayers, I watched in amazement as one of the candle fell against another and the wax began drip into words and symbols. Perhaps I’m the only one who would imagine those particular words and symbols, but as a psychological tool, the candles provided the clarity and confidence I was looking for. I knew the answer to a question that had been plaguing me for a while. In fact, I already knew it, but just needed to see it symbolically to acknowledge the wonderful possibilities.
The powerhouse moment of the evening came for me twice. The first time, I had set out three large candles in a semi-circle to represent what was happening above in the eclipse-filled sky as I prayed for a friend going through a time of soul-searching and darkness. The black candle on the left represented the darkness that had covered him. The white candle on the right stood for the return of the light and being able to see his path clearly. In the middle was a red candle…the one for a period of transition.
As I set flame to wick, I looked up at the sky and saw that the moon was fully engulfed in shadow—and a dull rusty-red color like the candle. And as I was praying, the words came out of my mouth, “But you’re in transition, too.”
I stopped. What was it I’d just said? The words had come out of my mouth at the end of my prayer, but they were directed at me, not from me. But yes. Yes! I am in a transition period as well. I am leaving behind an old way of life and soon stepping out onto a new path, even though I have utterly no idea yet what that path will be but I’ve been feeling it coming and I’ve been grappling with uncertainty over my path. In the day after the eclipse, I had this transition reflected back to me by two close friends who are in similar—scary–situations of upcoming freedom and adventure, and that was simply a validation for me of what I’d realized in my eclipse ritual.
The other powerhouse moment of the evening was that split second when the moon turned from red to a spark of light on the higher border as the full moon moved every so slightly out of the Earth’s shadow. It made my heart sing to see it, and that was the second big epiphany of the night:
It’s not so much the eclipse I love as that moment when the light peaks out again and grows with the promise that everything that was covered in darkness will soon become bright with light.
And I mean that both in the astronomical and metaphorical sense!