|Nyx & Selene. Attic period (circa 430-410 BC) pottery pyxis.|
This object is among the countless ancient treasures of The British Museum.
Ah yes. The Esbats.
Not that we had forsaken them during our unrecorded period, but in a peculiar way, it feels a bit like we did.
This forthcoming full Moon is of course, The Long Night's Moon, but I find I must also designate this one "The Mother's Moon." For some, this may seem slightly contradictory -- especially those inclined toward the more traditional Neo-Wheel-o'-the-Year. But, what I do doesn't make much sense to most folks anyway. Nonetheless, I will attempt to explain this Mother's Moon moniker -- in a much abbreviated fashion -- below (perhaps I can elaborate further in future posts).
The past few months have involved a great deal of tying together of strands in the web of my own personal devotional cosmology -- as opposed to a grand-scheme cosmology which I tend to think isn't really all that important or even practical as a polytheistic animist. What I have had is a subtle yet grand connecting of dots, one of those, "Aha!" moments followed by a wide-eyed & protracted, "Whoah…" Except it wasn't actually a moment because it took awhile to unfold in a chain of fantastic "coincidences."
In the process of all this stumbling-upon, I have become, shall we say, familiarized with the primordial mother Nyx. But as Nyx is not the focus of our Esbat activities, I will not elaborate here except to say that as the personification of Night, doesn't it only make sense that she be also honored at this season, when the nights grow to their fullest? Maybe I am backwards, but I don't think so. I think there is great merit in embracing, respecting the darkness & honoring the strength of the lengthening night in opposition to the abbreviated & weakening day. We may still hold our vigil for the Sun & even lament the brevity of the daylight, but let us not forget to relish the richness of Mother Nyx at the acme of her attendance.
I also mention it because in the process of honoring Nyx & her vast assemblage of children, I spent hours & hours reading Greek & Roman texts, including many of the beautiful Orphic Hymns. So it is that I have come to this Esbat's poetry. I am springboarding or segueing from the devotional project mentioned very vaguely some time ago which led me through an incredible process of discovery. It also, quite by accident (I think) to the Orphic Hymn No. 9 (or 8, depending on if you begin with 1 or 0). This hymn was composed for Selene, Greek goddess of the Moon & although I reserve my devotional practices for the Moon Herself, I find it just as thoughtful & appropriate to share poetry dedicated to a lunar goddess. Besides, I am not entirely certain that the ancient Greeks delineated between the two. (If you know, feel free to clarify.)
From the Fantastic Menagerie Tarot.
But enough prattling of predators & prey -- on to the poetry! (And some really lovely music too!)
ORPHIC HYMN TO SELENE (THE MOON)
Translated by Thomas Taylor
Hear, Goddess queen, diffusing silver light, bull-horn'd and wand'ring thro' the gloom of Night.
With stars surrounded, and with circuit wide Night's torch extending, thro' the heav'ns you ride:
Female and Male with borrow'd rays you shine, and now full-orb'd, now tending to decline.
Mother of ages, fruit-producing Moon, whose amber orb makes Night's reflected noon:
Lover of horses, splendid, queen of Night, all-seeing pow'r bedeck'd with starry light.
Lover of vigilance, the foe of strife, in peace rejoicing, and a prudent life:
Fair lamp of Night, its ornament and friend, who giv'st to Nature's works their destin'd end.
Queen of the stars, all-wife Diana hail! Deck'd with a graceful robe and shining veil;
Come, blessed Goddess, prudent, starry, bright, come moony-lamp with chaste and splendid light,
Shine on these sacred rites with prosp'rous rays, and pleas'd accept thy suppliant's mystic praise.
Blessings to you this Esbat my friends.