Pray to the Moon when She is round,
Luck with you will then abound,
What you seek for shall be found
On the sea or solid ground.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Poetry for the Esbat: Unfolding Moon, 2013

'Round & round we go... Through the Darkness & into the Light... 'Round & 'round.

A Moon Priestess: "Unknown Woman" by Julia Margaret Cameron.
Image from the Victoria & Albert Museum collections.

Last year, I used the "Wolf Moon" moniker to designate this Full Moon which arrives in January. At the time, I was not thinking about bioregional naming, or I would have tossed the Wolf for Coyote. I was in Utah, after all. Cold Moon, Storm Moon, Snow Moon, Wolf Moon... they all have meaning to the human experience during these Winter nights.

As I have mentioned many times before, there are many Full Moon names to be found at the following sites: Farmers' Almanac, WWUP, NASA, FAandPP & SPACE. All these names tell human stories of culture & place. Personally, I am drawn to the Kalapuya name "Stay Inside Moon," mostly because that is what I would do if I didn't know that I must go outside, no matter what. However, this Moon-naming exercise is about being personal & relevant, so co-opting the Kalapuya name misses the mark. 

An early afternoon Winterscape with Ice.
An early afternoon Winterscape with Ice.
In his Times article, "The Longest Nights," author Timothy Eagan asserts that "creativity needs a season of despair." I also believe that there are introspective & creative benefits to the Winter's Darkness. At this time, many of us find ourselves reentering musty, dark cellars brimming with long forgotten ideas. We reach deep inside our bowels to examine those feelings we so carefully wrapped & tucked away beneath layers of social convention. Somehow, some of us are even fortunate enough to reclaim time. Our beloved Sun drives us like bees. When His pressing rays no longer leave us feverish, there seems to be less demanding & more pausing... We take all the visions & feelings & time & we change, shape, transform, create.

What do I call this? Introspection Moon? Gestation Moon? Creative Moon? Not this time. This year I shall call Her "Unfolding Moon," which suggests a creative bloom & also hints at the subtle stepping towards spring. More than this, "Unfolding Moon" speaks of transformation & development which is where I find myself this season... & a bit to my surprise, already well underway. 

I find I am focusing more intently on developing tradition. Meaningful rhythm, symbolism & action are slowly rising to the surface of my consciousness. From these pieces, I strive to create an ensemble. Our small symbolic & ceremonial pieces are reflections which parallel units of the universal Whole. Bit by bit, the fabric reveals a pattern -- a pattern that makes perfect sense.

Recently, the central element of this process has been a conscious movement away from silent, internal spiritual discourse, to external expression through voice & movement. I need my body to begin manifesting what I feel. My mind is no longer satisfactory as the sole instrument through which I demonstrate my admiration, praise & thanks. 

"So Doll and the cow danced the 'Cheshire round,
Til the pail was broke and the milk ran on the ground.
(Not unlike myself at dance.)

Image from Project GutenbergThe Nursery Rhyme Book

Form. Off I trot to dance lessons. Like an ox in a coin belt, I shall conjure unseen muscles: some long forgotten, others never before encountered. It is the humbling process of unfoldment. A slow-cooker torrefaction by inner Fire. 

Voice. Mental-thought-speak & stifled utterances fail me when I am moved by Joy, Beauty, Love... the internal monologue does not properly convey my ardor, or bliss. Harnessing voice is part of entering upon a whole-body-awakening. This is a dual duel with both bashfulness & biology.

A condition of the vocal chords limits my singing voice. Reservedness silences it. Nonetheless, I intend to sing to this month's poetry to the Lady Moon. It is a plan I expect to carry out, into the future. With regularity. I was unwittingly gifted the perfect song for this new tradition, but it had to be unremembered so that I might rediscover it when I was ready to understand it... 

Ah! Winter! "...reentering musty, dark cellars brimming with long forgotten ideas..." Or poetry.

White Magic: Mira Billotte & Doug Shaw.
White Magic: Mira Billotte & Doug Shaw.
Image from White Magic's MySpace.
Over a year ago I wrote about my friend Sol who, being founder of a punk music label in New York, has many opportunities to experience all kinds of musical talent. He had attended a memorial service for a friend at which the talented Mira Billotte sang with her graceful, gutsy, haunting, "baroque yowl." He said it remembered me to him -- not her voice, I am sure -- but rather the moods & landscapes she creates with her music. Mira Billotte is singer, songwriter & pianist for the band White Magic which seeks to invoke other worlds & reach alternate realities through music. About her music Billotte says:
"These songs fit well in a natural setting, and that's what a lot of them are about—landscapes and natural scenes. When I'm writing or playing I fall into a different world, my own world. The trance aspect of the music helps me get into that environment and invoke this whole other world.-- "Major Arcana, Effing the Ineffable: White Magic Summon Worlds," The Stranger
White Magic tends to perform outside the box, creating "weird, piano-driven trance-folk displaced from time and locale," sometimes presented as "meditative ceremonies of song, and ritual... within an improvised temple." Seriously, how much Goodness can you fit into one place?*

But... what does Ms. Billotte have to say about voice?
"I feel like voice is the purest instrument—it's straight from your mouth, it's straight from your emotions, and in my music it's coming from my unconscious, my inner world. I don't know how to explain it, but I follow that and it takes me to these places."  -- "Major Arcana, Effing the Ineffable: White Magic Summon Worlds," The Stranger
Oh, yes. My thoughts & hopes exactly.

The poetry for this Esbat is part of Mira's invocation at the opening of her Spira Mirabilis Mundi installation at Secret Project Robot in Brooklyn, Feb 4 2011. This piece makes so much sense to me now, on so many levels, that I am not even going to attempt to explain. I have transcribed the words to the best of my ability. The live Punkcast recording is embedded beneath. 

Golden Light, an invocation by Mira Billotte

Golden light
silver at night,
out in the forest,
shining on your face.

Day seems like Night
with Moonlight on your face.

Angel of Light
fills me with sight,
out in the forest,
shining on your face.

Angel of Night
fills me with sight,
out in the forest,
shining on your face.

What lies beyond the Magic Gate?
No need to know, for this is where we dwell.

Night seems like Day
with Moonlight on your face.

Mira Billotte: Golden Light
(I suggest you turn down/off your bass to help filter out ambient music from the adjacent gig.)

Blessings to you this Esbat my friends... 
Will you sing with me?

*I could really go on & on, so to keep the introduction manageable, an endnote: May I suggest you check out the White Magic samples at the iTunes store? I particularly like "Sun Song" & "Sea Chanty," both found on the Dat Rosa Mel Apibus album. If you are curious about set & setting, THIS VIDEO found on their MySpace page includes shots of their altar, circle of candles & lunar background set. Mira also has recorded a lovely cover of Bob Dylan's "As I Went Out One Morning" which can be found HERE


The Acorn Cabinet said...

I find myself leaning towards the Ogham traditions and follow the ogham lunar calendar, which has a corresponding tree for each moon cycle. It is also a system of divination and an alphabet. According to the Ogham tradition we are in the Beth (Birch) moon which is a time for new beginnings. A moon of introspection is very fitting for this time of year. I had some intense dreams last night and feel that it is definitely a dark time, a time of hibernation, of reflection, of combing through the cobwebs to find an inner truth. Thank you again for writing a post that I can relate to and that fits in with my own thoughts and reflections of late. blessed be!

The Acorn Cabinet said...

Oh.. I meant to add that your name for the moon this year, "The Unfolding Moon," is what reminded me that it is the Birch moon according to the Ogham tradition.

Moma Fauna said...

I sensed that was where you made the connection. ;)

I have dipped into the Ogham from time to time in the past, but never committed myself to learning it well. Lucky for me have a handful of friends who have dedicated themselves to learning it in depth -- they are my interactive "audio books" on demand!

I think you would like the extraordinary poems & videos created by author John Siddique. He authored & collaborated on a complete "series of 13 animated films based on a sequence of poems... based on the Full Moons of the year and the Celtic mythology which names each moon after a letter in the ancient tree alphabet."

Here is his Vimeo link to the Birch Moon, the others can be viewed from the menu:

Heather Awen said...

it is interesting to me that glen at postpagan is now taking expressive dance classes to learn to be comfortable in his body and i am studying somatic awareness. as animists who do not divide soul from matter, becoming embodied in a mindful way is a lot of soul development and awareness too!

i have started chanting sounds in mindfulness meditation as it released tensions in my neck and jaw!

unfolding moon... i have been working on my values and the nest step is actions in alignment with them. the values mean go deep within, the actions mean go outside. i am praying for the seeds of what to do with the values. and soon it will the season for sprouting seeds inside.

Heather Awen said...

they sound like early 1/3 japanese mixed with loreena mckinnet!

Moma Fauna said...

yes! and whoah! embodiment is so precisely what i need. what simpatico that we all move this way at once, together, yet separately. (glen's blog eludes my feed for some reason -- so i did not know this about his efforts, good for him!) to dance is to be an expression, but to dare to endure the lesson, the discipline of it, oh, it brings with it an entirely new dimension. it's like initiation... over & over.

"...the values mean go deep within, the actions mean go outside... soon it will the season for sprouting seeds inside." i really like that. i'm glad you like White Magic too. i had a feeling you might. ;)

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