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Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Rituals of the Year

When most Pagan-y folks talk about Rituals in a yearly context, they are -- or so it seems -- referring to times at the quarters and cross quarters -- or perhaps at the turn of the moon (mostly likely when it's full), when they set aside time to sanctify a space (indoors or out) and invoke the elements and their patron deities, in worship or petition or the like.

In my practice, even those times are more appropriately recognized by what might be considered more mundane rituals, and especially those with a lower-case letter R. Case in point today, the day before dark of the moon.

Those who work with moon energies know that it is constantly changing. Some folks plant by its energies: some simply start root crops as the moon turns from full to dark and fruiting or above ground crops as it turns from dark to full. Others also factor in the position in the Zodiac. I have never done that, as weather conditions trump moon cycles for me as a northern homesteader (short seasons!)

Note: I refer to the moon with the neuter pronoun because, while many see it as female, those in the northern tradition call it "Mani" and know it as male.

But back to my "dark moon approaching" ritual.

We all, unfortunately, generate trash and (hopefully) collect recycleable packaging separately to return to its use stream. We all, or so it seems by the plethora of "wealth" and "abundance" workings and spells, want and maybe even need more. Many, many years ago I read a poem penned by Timothy Leary. Whether or not you were part of the drug culture of the 60s and 70s, he was a media fixture and while I did not specifically follow his exploits, this poem did make quite an impact on me.
The Moment of fullness

Grab hold tightly,
Let go lightly.

The full cup can take no more.
The candle burns down.
The taut bow must be loosed.
The razor edge cannot long endure
Nor this moment re-lived.
Grab hold tightly
Let go lightly
 "The full cup can take no more"... If our lives and homes are already full of "stuff" -- be it useful things we no longer need and use, or waste that has not gone away -- where is this abundance, that we petition the universe for , supposed to go? How do we stay "in the flow"?  Seems to me that removing the dam in the stream that naturally allows it to flow will also work with the flow of the ethers.

Putting this into practice, in sync with the moon cycles, seemed to come naturally and fall into place with my "de-stuff-ing" routine that I have been working on for a while. When the moon passes full, I begin focusing on things that I am no longer using that need to give up their spaces. Yesterday we took the heavy old filing cabinet that I had emptied of archived client files from my former design business and placed it at the roadside with a "free" sign on it. Less than 2 hours later, when I got back from my massage, it was gone.

Fridays are my "town days" and this past Friday being the last before dark of the moon, I carried the collected smaller "stuff" off to the charity donation box in town.

Today, the last day that our dump is open before the moon turns, I will be gathering up the last bits of  rubbish from the household bins and carrying them off to the dump. Because of our long-standing "waste minimization protocols" (we consider packaging as much as the items we intend to buy and "vot with our dollars" for items with no,  recycleable or minimal packaging, in that order) it will amount to one can or one (recycled) bag most of the time. The recycles are collected at the same facility: paper, cardboard, glass, metal and #2 plastic. Our town does not recycle the other plastic categories, but I have a friend in a town that does, who takes our small quantity of other plastics to put in her waste stream for recycling.

How is this a ritual? Anything can take on ritual characteristics when done with intent. It is my intent to make room for abundance to flow in.  I keep this thought in my mind as I place the items in the charity box that lives in my kitchen, as I remove the items to take them to town and as I offer them up to the workers or place them in the donation box. I will keep this in mind as I empty the bins later today, as I load the bag or can into my truck and drive to the dump, and as I hand off the refuse and place the recycles into their bins.

And when it's all done, I offer thanks to the Universe At Large for the continuation of the rhythm of coming and going, of life and death, and move forward into the next cycle.