Since this is an Esbat in which I am honoring the Moon in all its forms and all its glories, instead of using Elemental candles in the appropriate colors, I have chosen to use candles which represent the four major phases of the Moon:
a solid black candle for the New Moon
a solid black candle partially dipped in white wax (lower half black, upper half white) for the Waxing Half (First Quarter) Moon
a solid white candle for the Full Moon
a solid white candle partially dipped in black wax (lower half white, upper half black) for the Waning Half (Last Quarter) Moon
I have placed the New Moon candle at the North, indicating the dark earth in which the seeds of change are planted.
I have placed the First Quarter Moon candle at the East, indicating the soft breeze of the air that flutters the leaves of the growing changes.
I have placed the Full Moon candle at the South, indicating the warmth of the sun that shines upon the flower that blossoms with the beauty of change.
I have placed the Last Quarter Moon candle at the West, indicating the gentle rains that wash over the earth after the harvesting of the change, preparing it for the new seeds yet to be planted.
On the altar I have two white altar candles to provide light. In addition, I also have a silver candelabra which holds three candles – a white one for the Maiden, a red one for the Mother, and a black one for the Crone. A silver chalice holds red wine for libation, with a matching silver plate on which I have made a large sugar cookie shaped in the triple phases of the moon – two crescent shapes and a round shape, all attached together to make one edible symbol of the moon. There is also my small cast iron cauldron for burning incense, and a vial of Full Moon incense next to it.
I light the two altar candles to give me a little light to work by, saying as I light them:
I come to this Sacred Space on the night of the Full Moon, to celebrate its mysteries and draw upon its energy. May the powers of the Moon bless me on this night, and for all the nights to come. So Mote It Be.
I then light the solid black New Moon candle at the North, saying:
I light this candle of the New Moon, and invoke the North to come and join me for this ritual. This is the Seed Moon, the moon of beginnings, a time when the seed is planted into the dark Earth – ready to grow, full of potential and energy for her new journey. Watchtowers of the North, Spirits of the Earth, Energies of the New Moon, I call upon thee to come and be here tonight as I conduct this ritual in your name. Hail and Welcome!
I light the black/white candle of the First Quarter Moon at the East, saying:
I light this candle of the First Quarter Moon, and invoke the East to come and join me for this ritual. This is the Growing Moon, the moon of taking shape, where roots grow deeper and the stem grows higher, and leaves unfurl to flutter softly in the Air – full and active, ready for new development. Watchtowers of the East, Spirits of the Air, Energies of the First Quarter Moon, I call upon thee to come and be here tonight as I conduct this ritual in your name. Hail and Welcome!
Next I light the white candle of the Full Moon at the South, saying:
I light this candle of the Full Moon, and invoke the South to come and join me for this ritual. This is the Flowering Moon, the moon of completion, where the flowers of my projects open and blossom, sharing their beauty with others as they turn their petals to the powers of the sun, the greatest source of warmth and Fire. Watchtowers of the South, Spirits of Fire, Energies of the Full Moon, I call upon thee to come and be here tonight as I conduct this ritual in your name. Hail and Welcome!
Finally I light the white/black candle of the Last Quarter Moon at the West, saying:
I light this candle of the Last Quarter Moon, and invoke the West to come and join me for this ritual. This is the Harvest Moon, the moon of total destruction, where the plants of my projects give up their lives so that new projects may begin, thus teaching the lesson of transformation – of birth, death and rebirth…the internal circle of life that is reflected in the cauldron of the mother’s Waters. Watchtowers of the West, Spirits of Water, Energies of the Last Quarter Moon, I call upon thee to come and be here tonight as I conduct this ritual in your name. Hail and Welcome!
Having lit the four candles, I now light my charcoal disc and then put a pinch or two of incense on it, watching the smoke rise up out of the cauldron.
The circle is now cast, and sacred space has been created. I now exist in a place between the worlds, in a time outside of time. Let none but love and trust enter this space, and none but love and trust depart. By the powers of the Moon, the Elements, and the Spirits I hereby consecrate this space for the workings of this ritual. So Mote It Be.
Now I light the Triple Goddess candelabra, starting with the white candle for the Maiden, then the red candle for the Mother, and finally the black candle for the Crone. As I light these candles, I say:
On this night of the Full Moon, as I celebrate the moon in all its aspects, I do hereby light these three candles to represent both the Triple Aspects of the Moon, and the Triple Aspects of the Goddess. White is for the Waxing Moon…the time of the Maiden…pure as snow, driven with the energy of new beginnings. Red is for the Full Moon…the time of the Mother…whose womb is filled with all life, and who gives birth to all living creatures. Black is for the Waning Dark Moon…the time of the Crone…old and wise, full of the knowledge that comes from experiencing life in all its aspects. I honor these aspects of the Goddess, just as I honor the Moon in all its transformations, and I celebrate the transformations in my own life. So Mote It Be.
Now I recite one of the many Charges of the Goddess – this one is a bit different from most, but its meaning and intent are the same, as it serves to connect me to Her:
I am the Goddess of the Three Moons.
I am mistress of the Night.
I am the richness of the Earth.
I am the Moon and the Seas.
I am all that was and is and ever shall be.
Nor has any mortal ever seen that which lies beyond my veil
for I am indeed mistress of mysteries and the keeper of the keys.
I am Queen of all living things, for I am Goddess of Nature.
I smile and the radiance of the Moon is everywhere.
Gather in secret if you must, but do not tarry too long behind closed doors,
for it is in the richness of the earth and the boundlessness of the sky
that my true temple is to be found;
And the Moon, and sun and stars will keep your secrets.
I am all these things and more.
Hear my words my children and worship and be glad.
Look for me within these things but above all,
within your own soul, for it is there I am.
I have been with you in the beginning and I shall be with you at the end.
I am the womb of new beginnings, as yet unimagined and unknown.
I now take some time to work with my Tarot Cards and my Crone Stones, doing some divination work. I write down my spread in my Divination Notebook, along with my interpretations and my insights.
Once I have completed this work, I take a few moments to do some meditation and to ground/center myself. Then I pick up the chalice of wine and holding it upwards, I state:
I bless this wine in the name of the Maiden, the Mother, and the Crone…as I drink from this chalice, thus do I drink from the womb of the Goddess, and I partake in all the powers of the mysteries of Her, who is Queen of All.
I take a few sips from the chalice, and then place it back on the altar.
Next I take the plate with the cookie, hold it upwards, and state:
I bless this cake in the name of the Maiden, the Mother, and the Crone…as I eat from this plate, thus do I eat from the body of the Goddess, and I partake in all the powers of mysteries of Her, who is Queen of All.
I take a few bites of my cookie.
Then I sit back and relax for a few minutes, drawing in the energy and contemplating all the transformations in my life.
Now I take my candle snuffer and begin to put out the three candles of the Triple Aspect.
First I snuff out the black candle, saying:
Wise Crone, who face is hidden from the starlit night…thank you for joining my sacred circle this night. I bid thee farewell!
Next I snuff out the red candle, saying:
Mother, nurturer and giver of life, Who dances across the nightly sky in your silvery light…thank you for joining my sacred circle this night. I bid thee farewell!
Finally I snuff out the white candle, saying:
Maiden, bringer of new ideas and inspiration, who dances across the sky in carefree glee and anticipation…thank you for joining my sacred circle this night. I bid thee Farewell!
Now I say goodbye to the Four Watchtowers, the Elements, and the Spirits of the Moon…this time starting with the Last Quarter Moon at the West, and continuing through the phases:
Snuffing out the white/black candle of the Last Quarter Moon, I state:
I thank the energies of the Last Quarter Moon for being here in my Sacred Space this night. I honor the Watchtowers of the West, and the Spirits of Water for their presence, and for teaching me the lessons of destruction and transformation, a part of the Circle of Life. Stay if thy will, go if thy must. By the waters of Her womb, I bid you Hail and Farewell!
Next I snuff out the black candle of the New Moon, saying:
I thank the energies of the New Moon for being here in my Sacred Space this night. I honor the Watchtowers of the North, and the Spirits of Earth for their presence, and for teaching me the lessons of new beginnings, that out of the destruction shall come new life. Stay if thy will, go if thy must. By the earth that is Her body, I bid you Hail and Farewell!
Then I move on to the black/white candle of the First Quarter Moon and snuff it out, saying:
I thank the energies of the First Quarter Moon for being here in my Sacred Space this night. I honor the Watchtowers of the East, and the Spirits of Air for their presence, and for teaching me the lessons of ongoing growth and development, that bring the promise of activity with that new life recently born. Stay if thy will, go if thy must. By the air that is Her breath, I bid you Hail and Farewell!
Finally I come to the white candle of the Full Moon, which I have saved for last in honor of tonight’s Full Moon. Taking a deep breath and grounding myself, I then snuff out this candle, saying:
I thank the energies of the Full Moon for being here in my Sacred Space this night. I honor the Watchtowers of the South, and the Spirits of Fire for their presence, and for teaching me the lessons of fruitfulness and completion…that to everything there is a phase, and a time for every purpose under the moon. All must be sown, must grow, must bloom and must be harvested in the neverending Circle of Life. Stay if thy will, go if thy must. By the fire that is Her spirit, I bid you Hail and Farewell!
Taking a final deep breath, I state:
This ritual is now over, and this Sacred Space ceases to exist. I return now to this world, and to this time. Yet let me always keep within me the lessons that I have been given on this night, and let the energies of the Moon always watch over me and guide me. May the spirit of the Goddess be always in my heart, the circle is open and yet unbroken, Merry Meet and Merry Part.
I snuff out the final two altar candles, and quietly leave my Spirit Room.
Special thanks to my Spirit Sister, Crystal Dolphin – who took the photographs of the beautiful stained glass windows of the Maiden, the Mother, and the Crone… which can be found in “The Witch City” itself – Salem, Massachusetts. For more about the Triple Goddess, check out Crystal’s post on such at http://crystaldolphin.wordpress.com/2009/02/03/who-is-she-honoring-the-triple-goddess/