From “The Tree”, Cakes and Ale Ceremony:
‘All now sit and individual drinking-horns, or goblets, are filled and cakes distributed.
At this time will the Priest, or Priestess (or any who request to do so) speak out on any matters of importance (in effect, a sermon, though open to question/discussion by all, if necessary).’
It is in the spirit of this that I present not only general information on the coming Full Moon, but also suggest a topic to discuss or ponder.
Tonight is a special Full Moon (although I doubt the weather here will let us see it!): not only is it a Blood Moon, but it will be a total lunar eclipse. As a November Full Moon, is known in the United States as a Beaver Moon, when the creatures would build their dens and traps would be set to ensure warm clothes for the coming Winter months.
For one way to celebrate, check our our Solitary Full Moon Ritual.
I wish I had a fun topic to discuss for this first time writing a Full Moon ‘sermon’, but unfortunately I feel I need to address this supposed return of Satanic Panic. Leaders of other religions are making videos in bookstores condemning the sale of Witchcraft books (as well as Yoga mats…), parents are condemning murals drawn by teenagers in support of other sick kids because they contain pro-tolerance imagery and esoteric symbols, congregations are condemning shoes as ‘satanic’ because they kinda-sorta might look like hooves (which, of course, must be a sign of the Christian Devil…), and the list goes on.
Although I am certainly concerned about the children of those who are falling for or perpetuating such nonsense, I can’t do anything for them. Binding spells are, in my opinion, outside the bounds of acceptable magic, as are any works of magic that are meant to take another’s agency. Likewise, spells to give courage and clarity to those under their influence require, in my opinion, their consent. It is not my place, unless asked, to assert my own influence on them in a magical or religious way.
I fear, however, for those who follow minority religions such as Neopaganism, Heathenry, and more than any other, Witchcraft (while I think Satanists are also at an increased risk, the ones I know live for this kind of controversy). If you feel the need to announce your religion in a situation where it might not be welcome, than you have my respect so long as you are doing so respectfully and not antagonistically. If you are scared, however, that you might be targeted because of your religion, please feel no shame in hiding it. We come from a religion with a strong tradition of hiding in the shadows to avoid persecution, and I honestly believe that that defense is not only valid, but intelligent. They can not sever your connection to the Lord and Lady, even if you must say your prayers in silence.
There have always been those of us who will stand up to defend the others: Starhawk lead protests; Z Budapest went to jail; Circle Sanctuary fought and won the right for Wiccans who died serving in the military to bare the pentacle on their graves; Raymond Buckland, Scott Cunningham, and Selena Fox stood in front of audiences on national television to defend the religion; and many more. They did not call on Wiccans everywhere to risk their lives and come out in masse, nor did they tell them to hide quietly. If you feel called to stand up against this rise of bigotry and ignorance, then do so, but if you are scared for our own safety and the safety of your family, then there is no shame in stepping back and lending your silent support to those are fighting for us.
While its never a good idea to ignore the potential for violence, I also want to caution against an irrational fear. There is a tendency, due to todays sensationalism and social media, to make small, isolated issues seem commonplace. A religious nut in a small town in Texas will, for the most part, only cause a problem for those who live in that small town. I sympathize deeply for them, but my hope would be that the fear he is trying to spread doesn’t push those in other places of the world into the shadows. I know that Starhawk expressed concerns about disruptive protestors at the latest Spiral Dance, but when I attended a recent Pagan Pride Day, there was not a single protestor, and many non-believers who enjoyed it. At the last Pagan wedding I attended, there were pentagram bumper stickers next to “Trump 2020” stickers, and everyone joined in jubilance to honor the bride and groom in their handfasting ceremony.
Lord Woden and Lady Freya, guard us and guide us through these times as we wait for reason to return to the world, and give us the trust and clarity to see danger where it lies, and not where it doesn’t exist. Blessed be!