On the Blood Moon, the Rite of Winter was conducted under a clear sky with a big and beautiful full moon overhead. This ritual is slow and somber in tone because of the “gathering in” theme that this ritual represents.
It was a cool night with temperatures in the mid 50s with what looked to be one of the biggest full moons of the year. The chillness was tempered by the light and heat of the baalfire that was lit and burning very brightly above us.
In this ritual, petitions were offered up to the Ancient Ones through fire of the things that no longer serve us and that we are ready to release – which is a seasonably appropriate theme. As growth of the land begins to “pull back” until Spring (at least here in Pennsylvania), these petitions and representations are burnt and released to be pulled back in order to become fertilizer for our new wishes, hopes and dreams that we will plant next Spring. (In fact, part of the ritual is that after the fire has gone out and is cool, some of the ashes are saved for Spring to be used as fertilizer by all witches of the coven)
It is not out of place for symbolic wailing and crying to occur while the petitions are burnt, or just a simple time of silence. Both birth and death can be equally painful acts – both in the physical world and in symbolic forms when we start new projects or must let go of old dreams that we have rationalized will never come to be – the letting go of the unrealistic expectations that we have placed on ourselves possibly or even letting particular experiences go that have caused us pain. This is a personal experience that each witch in the coven faces on their own terms when they are ready for them.
Two dances were performed to bring in this theme – both conducted in the manner of the season. The first one conducted was of a red cord wheel, conjoined as a hub in the center dancing around the fire. This is the spinning out of the old year for us to send those petitions off. The second dance was a preparatory dance that symbolized the warming of our feet on the ground. Both of these are conducted slowly, with or without words at this season.
The newest watchward was selected which is the password for the season has been safeguarded until the season of Spring returns to us once again.