A November Esbat

A full moon approaches.  The November moon is called the Beaver Moon, an ode to a time when people were more connected to the earth and the wild.  This moon once signified a time when beaver pelts were at the height of warmth and beauty.  As the moon approached hunters knew it would be their last chance to go into the woods to trap the beavers.  For by the time of the next moon-cycle it would be too late, the lakes would be frozen and the beavers asleep.  The light of the November moon guided them as a last glimmer of warmth before reaching the cold season.

The Beaver Moon will be unusually special this year as it will also be a Super Moon.  This Monday the moon will appear larger than it has since the 1940s.  The moon will also appear brighter than usual as it will be closer to Earth at this time of year.  If there was ever a time to go outside and marvel at its beauty, this is it.

The November moon is a time of quiet anticipation of the winter season ahead.  The nights are ever so long and the cold winds brush the last of the leaves to the ground.  I walked along the shores of Lake Michigan this morning.  I could feel the season was on the edge of a precipice.  It was a beautiful autumn this year and filled with many bright and glowing hours of warmth.  The leaves fell slowly this season, holding on to their vivid oranges and reds before drifting lightly to the ground.  Yet, as a wrapped my scarf around my neck by the lake this morning, I could feel the impending chill.  The brown leaves crumbled beneath my boots above empty branches and my cheeks tinged pink as I walked on.  The frost was coming and would hold its grip on Chicago for many months to come.

When I returned to my warm apartment, I turned on the kettle to make some camomile tea and I pulled out my tarot cards.  I was not surprised when the Hermit appeared in my reading.  

The Hermit suggests you are about to enter a phase of introspection as your focus turns inward.  It is a time when you seek solitude and isolation from others.  The Hermit asks you to grow and respect the spiritual wisdom within.  Great advise for the beginnings of the winter season.  

Below is a simple full moon ritual that can be performed to honor the Goddess.  

November Moon Esbat Ritual

This is an Esbat in the Wiccan tradition with passages adapted from Hold an Esbat Rite by Patti Wigington and Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner by Scott Cunningham

This ritual is best performed outside under the full moon.  

If your tradition asks you to cast a circle begin by doing so.  Or, you can ritually purify the area by smudging or sprinkling salt water around the ritual space.

Place your altar in the center of the sacred space or if you are outside simply find a clearing and lay your tools down upon the earth.

You will need:

  • A bowl of water
  • A white candle
  • A black marker or knife to draw upon the candle
  • A cup of wine
  • A plate with a biscuit or cookie
  • Any additional lunar symbols such as images of the goddess, mirrors, white crystals and flowers, silver ribbons, etc.

Begin by carving or drawing a moon symbol or sigil onto the white candle.  I drew the symbol of the triple goddess upon mine.

Turn towards the moon, open your arms wide, tilt your face to the stars and say:

Wondrous lady of the moon;
you who greets the dusk with silvered kisses;

mistress of the night and of all magics,
who rides the clouds in blackened skies
and spills light upon the cold earth;
O lunar Goddess,
crescented-one,
shadow maker and shadow breaker;
revealer of mysteries past and present;
puller of seas and ruler of women;
all-wise lunar Mother,
I greet your celestial jewel
at the waxing of its powers
with a rite in your honor
I pray by the moon,
I pray by the moon,
I pray by the moon.

Light the candle and spend a few moments reflecting on the warmth of the flame and meditating on the seasonal changes occurring.

Hold the bowl of water to the sky and say:

The moon is the symbol of the mother,
and she watches over us day and night.
She brings the changing tide, the shifting night,
the flow that changes women's bodies,
and the passion of lovers to their beloved.
Her wisdom is great and all-knowing,
and we honor her tonight.
Keep your watchful eyes upon us, great mother,
until the cycle returns once more,
and bring us to the next full moon,
in your love and light.

Meditate on all the things you're thankful for and what you wish to achieve by the next full moon.  Visualize your energy swirling and flowing into the water.

If you would like you can also do some scrying using the bowl of water or using a crystal sphere at this time.

(After the ritual is complete you will be able to place the moon water in a bottle and use it throughout the month in your spellwork.)

Next take up your cup of wine and hold it towards the sky and say:

Gracious Goddess of abundance,
Bless this wine and infuse it with your love.
In your names, Mother Goddess and Father God,
I bless this wine.

Hold up your plate with the biscuit or cookie and and say:

Powerful God of the harvest,
bless these cakes and infuse them with your love.
In your names, Mother Goddess and Father God,
I bless these cakes (or bread).

End the ritual with your simple feast of ‘cakes and ale’ and by thanking the goddess.