Be a Moon Shouter!
4/15/2014 9:00:00 AM
The moon is full today at 3:42 am (EST), and we’ll also see a total lunar eclipse, visible from Australia, the Americas (including Alaska), the Pacific Islands, and westernmost Africa. At totality, the moon will appear smoky red, a gorgeous subterfuge caused when the limited sunlight passes through the edges of Earth’s atmosphere and "scatters," leaving the longest-reddest-wavelengths intact and giving the eclipsed moon its classic rosy color. | As you watch the eclipse, reflect on what this spectacle must have looked like to ancient peoples, who watched the moon turn bloody red and surely imagined disaster was immanent. Many of them imagined the moon was being swallowed by a demon or a mythical animal, and they would shout at the moon, cursing it and throwing objects to drive away the invader. Join this ancient tradition as you watch the eclipse. Light a fire or, if that’s not possible, a candle or lantern. Dance around the flames, becoming rowdier as you proceed. Shout at the moon, throwing small pieces of dirt, seed heads, pine cones, or other "soft" objects toward the eclipsed satellite, demanding the demons and monsters depart. Shout again, calling back the moon’s bright silver face. As the eclipse fades, yell and sing with joy and rejoice in the moon’s safe return, feeling the connection you’ve forged with the ancients. Finish with cakes and ale.
Takayama Beautification Ritual
4/14/2014 9:00:00 AM
On this day, the town of Takayama, Japan, holds a springtime festival featuring flowery floats and summoning a bountiful harvest year. Today’s aspects also make this a lovely day to work magic related to beautifying one’s life with harmony, balance, and blessings. | Create an altar that prominently features fresh flowers and seasonal fruit. You might also consider adding candles, sweet-smelling incense, and/or a representation of fairies or a love/beauty/luxury goddess of your choice (perhaps Lakshmi, Hathor, or Aphrodite). Sit in front of your altar, close your eyes, and place one hand on your heart and the other hand over it. Take some deep breaths and relax. Then say: | "Beauty, I summon you. | Beauty, I welcome you into my body, mind, spirit, and life. | All elements are in harmony. Luxurious blessings abound. My smile is sublime beacause my soil is at peace. Blossoming sweetness is my perfume, and I attract all good things."
Bless this Food
4/13/2014 9:00:00 AM
During any regular ritual, use an edible incense, such as sage or cinnamon-anything that can be used in cooking. Afterward, save the remains of the candle you used to the element of fire, some incense for air, some water (water), and pinch of the salt used for earth. | Assemble these magical ingredients with your cooking ingredients and say: | "May the balance of ritual be brought to my home and family as we eat this meal." | (Modify the words for your own intention and living situation.) Add the incense and say: | "By air may we be wise." | Light the candle and touch its flame to your gas burner or outdoor grill. For an electric stove, pass the flame symbolically under the pot. Say: | "By fire may we be strong." | Add the water and say: | "By water may we be loving." | Add the salt and say: | "By earth may we be secure." | Enjoy your meal!