Ritual – New Moon

[Collaborative work created by Sophia Kirke, Priestess Thea, Sara Bubastis, Sarah Burns, Ness Bosch Sacerdotisa Del Mar and Susan Tahesatmuti for the CoH, 2013]

New Moon Ritual

Note: This ritual is to be done at the first appearance of the new crescent moon. It is a form of modern Noumenia.

Hekate Shrine - Ara Phoenix

Hekate Shrine – Ara Phoenix

1. Preparations:
Leading up to the day of the ritual, try to clean your house as well as you can. Although not compulsory, in that the ritual would not fall apart if you failed to do it, you will have transformed a mundane task into something magical, to aid you in your ritual work. This in turn also is a metaphor for your own life and personal well-being; you know how wonderful it feels to wash after not being able to? Extend that to your house, and feel that you are cleansing it, brushing away the old and unnecessary for its wellbeing and yours.

On the day of the ritual ensure that your ritual area and shrine / altar is cleaned and dressed anew. If you have flowers on your altar, get some fresh ones. If you have new candles to use, then place them in your candlesticks. Your Hekate figure or any other type of image should be gently cleaned or polished as appropriate with loving care. If you use an altar cloth, put a fresh clean one on.

Before the ceremony, take a ritual bath or shower (washing yourself with intent), then dress in a clean robe (if you use one) or clean ritual clothes. Brush your teeth and comb your hair; you want to make an effort for Hekate.

2. Altar:
For your ritual, and if you don’t already have a permanent space for your shrine to Hekate, you will need to have an area to place the following items:

  • An image or statue of Hekate, or something that represents Her to you
  • An image or representation of Hermes
  • An image or representation of Hestia
  • A red candle
  • A bowl of water, straight from the fridge (place it on the altar at the last minute, just before starting your ritual)
  • A hymn to Hekate
  • Two small bowls of oil (one olive, one anointing oil – or you can use olive oil to anoint, in which case you only need one bowl.)
  • Incense – loose incense on a hot charcoal disc is wonderful, but if you are unable to use this type for whatever reason, then stick incense will be acceptable. Myrrh and/or benzoin is lovely, or perhaps a special New Moon incense if you have one.
  • Offerings to Hekate, Hermes and Hestia – this can be as simple or elaborate as you like. Some bread and a glass of wine or other appropriate drink placed on a plate is a very suitable offering.
  • Three objects representing three things you want to draw to yourself this new lunar month and your commitment about them (see Sections 10 and 11)

3.  Set up your ritual space in the way you are most comfortable, or according to your tradition. Light your incense.

4. The ritual begins:

Sit for a moment in contemplation of the ritual you are about to undertake. Breathe fully and deeply and relax your mind whilst concentrating on the altar you have prepared and the image of the Goddess upon it.

Light your red candle. Make a libation of wine to Hekate, Hestia and Hermes.

At this point you can do the new moon pathworking – see the Annexe at the end of this document. Record all that needs to be recorded in your magical diary.

Stand now before your altar.

Place both hands on your heart (three heartbeats), your forefinger and middle finger of your dominant hand to your lips (three heartbeats), and to your brow (three heartbeats). Enclose your thumbs within your hands (bunched into fists) and raise both arms to the heavens. Open your hands, and with your left palm remaining upwards, bring your right arm down against your side, with your right palm facing down to the earth.

Recite, read or chant your personal hymn to Hekate.

Take three deep breaths; in through the nostrils and out through the mouth. Repeat this if you need, to prepare yourself for ritual.

Then say:

“May my heart burn with desire for understanding”  (touch heart)
“May my lips speak words of illuminated truth”  (touch lips)
“May my visions be filled with divine knowledge”  (touch brow)

Take three deep breaths, in through your nostrils and out through your mouth, make sure you are comfortable and repeat if you need to.

Take your forefinger and middle finger of your dominant hand and touch it into the bowl of olive oil. Take your fingers to your brow and draw a serpentine ‘S’ there. You are now prepared and ready to invoke the Goddess. Once again, place both hands on your heart (three heartbeats), your forefinger and middle finger of your dominant hand to your lips (three heartbeats), and to your brow (three heartbeats). Enclose your thumbs within your hands (bunched into fists) and raise both arms to the heavens. Open your hands, and with your left palm remaining upwards, bring your right arm down against your side, with your right palm facing down to the earth.

5. New Moon Hymn:
“Hekate, Hekate, Hekate,
I call Your name with yearning heart.
Hear the prayer, O serpent-clad maid!
I see your red-veiled visage
And dare to seek the mysteries within.
Show me Your horn’d beauty.
Turn your bull face to your devotee
And allow me your loving gaze.”

6. Invocation:
“The dark moon passes, the new moon hovers –
At this time when we start as fresh as the dew
Pearling on your sacred oak shoots,
I invoke you
Hekate Propylaia
Who stands before the gates of time
Between yesterday and tomorrow
And protects the gates of our hearts and houses;
Hekate Kleidoukhos
Who unlocks new doors for us to dare
And unveils their thresholds.
Hekate Tauropolos,
You of the crescent horns, Moon below
As the lunar horns gleam and swell above;
Mistress of the quickening earth,
Of the tidal ocean
Of the cyclical heavens:
I invoke your powers of regeneration and renewal.

Arise from the dark loam!
Descend from the sombre skies!
Emerge from the depth of the waters!
Create all anew as, under your guidance,
I create anew my life and commit once more
To your unwavering wisdom.”

7. Homeric Hymn to Hestia and Hermes:
Touch the ground, then stand again, and recite:

“Hestia, in the high dwellings of all, both deathless Gods and mortals who walk on earth, you have gained an everlasting abode and highest honour: glorious is your portion and your right. For mortals hold no banquet without your presence, where one duly pours sweet wine in offering to Hestia, first and last.
And you, Slayer of Argus, Son of Zeus and Maia, messenger of the blessed Gods, bearer of the golden rod, giver of good things, be favourable and help us, you and Hestia, the hallowed and dear. Come and dwell in this glorious house in friendship together; for you two, well knowing the noble actions of humans, aid on their wisdom and their strength.

 Hail, Daughter of Cronos, and you also, Hermes, bearer of the golden rod!”

8. Petition to Hekate, Hestia and Hermes for the Hearth, and offerings:
Place your hands on your heart, and say:

“O Hekate of the Gates,
With Hermes you guard our doorways.
May you protect this hearth for the coming month
And mighty Hermes of the Crossroads, may you stand with Hekate
To keep out all that wish to harm us.
Protect this household and protect my family from all things that wish to harm
And may sweet Hestia bless our homes with prosperity.
Hail Hekate! Hail Hermes! Hail Hestia!
I thank all of you for your gracious gifts.”

Lift up your offerings and present them to the three images / representations

(Say): “Great Hekate, Honoured Hestia, Fleet-footed Hermes, I make you these offerings from my heart and my hearth. Gracious ones, may you smile kindly upon them and me.”
(Later, after the ritual, you can bring some of them to a crossroads, and leave a small token at your front door – for the latter, maybe something beautiful like flowers, as you don’t want your threshold to look like a rubbish bin). Bring/keep some inside, at your hearth or the part of the house that represents a hearth to you (if you don’t have an actual hearth).

9. Water invocation for the passing from the Dark Moon to the New:
On the altar sits a bowl of water, still and dark, like a night without a moon. As you dip your hands into it, it’s cold enough to be uncomfortable, deathly cold, but you hold them there, remembering how Hekate has watched over you through these last few days of darkness.

(Say): “Hekate, oh Hekate, I know it was you who led me into the darkness.”

You wait. You notice the cold is less bitter, the water warming to your touch.

(Say): “Hekate, oh Hekate, I know it was you who guarded me as I rested there.”

You wait. The water is cool now, like running through a sprinkler or a lake on a warm summer day.

(Say, loudly): “Hekate, oh Hekate! The crescent moon is rising, and I must leave this place.”

You scoop the cool water up in your hands and rinse your face like you’ve just woken up.

(Say): “I’m ready to begin. Where you lead, I will follow.”

10. Three intents at the new lunar month:
Have before you your three objects upon your altar that represent a triad of things you wish to draw to you this month. These can be sigils you have created, or objects, a sentence or two of empowerment, or affirmations. Each one is to correspond with each of the faces of Hekate, looking out over Her realms: earth, water, and air. Get creative, how could you give three things this month to Her to help you to grow, to be better, to be more than you are? How, could these three things represent the three realms? Here’s three suggestions:

Air:  a spoken affirmation or promise, or burning the same written down.

Water: you might want to write on a pebble or a shell, or create a sigil and give this to a high wind, a stream, a lake, river, or even the sea.

Earth: writing a sigil, or affirmation on birch bark, or a leaf and burying it.

What you do is as important as what you say… And if some words come bubbling up from within your soul, then say them! Nothing is written in stone, and if there is a need within ritual to change something because it doesn’t feel right, then change it.

Position yourself before your altar

(Say): “Key bearing mistress, as you traverse the Heavens, hear these words.  Turn your slivered face towards me, look down upon me with your new light, as you grow, and become full, may these ….. (Name the three things), also wax and grow into fruition, for me, as I come out of the darkness into the growing radiance of your waxing light.”

Arrange the three things that will represent that which you wish to draw towards you as the moon waxes. (If you have banished three things during the dark moon (using a similar practice, only in banishment), these will replace them*.)

Place your dominant hand over them, your non-dominant hand is lifted palm up, as if to receive.

Once comfortable, turn your attention inwards, to your mind’s eye and see the moon above you in the dark skies. Imagine a silver thread emerging from the moon; at the same time, one emerges from the top of your head… See them traversing the heavens to join up. For a moment sit with that image and energy, and let the thread bring a stream of silver energy into you, filling your being, as Hekate, in whatever physical form you know Her, rises from the ground behind you, towering over you as you say:

“Hail Hekate!
Key bearing Mistress of the Mysteries!
I evoke you!
Fill my being with your Light!”

See Her step forward into you, feel Her there, feel yourself full of Her and take that powerful feeling, concentrating it into the palm of your dominant hand hovering over the three things on your altar. As you say the following, see that energy flowing from your palm, into the objects, until they too radiate with Her Light.

“These [name the three things], I do fill, with your Light.
Step forth out of the Darkness, into the Light that grows within that is Your Secret Face that only we, your devotees share!”

When all is done, and the flow ceases, see Her step back, the silver thread snap and return. Take your attention to your breath and feel the earth beneath you.

Your three ‘things’ when you look at them with your mind’s eye should glow with a secret light. They are empowered

Alternatively, you could empower them by anointing them with your own body fluid, and breathing life into them, or with a simple visualisation transferring the energy of the waxing moon into them.

11. Three commitments at the new lunar month:
“I, [your name], Do commit myself,
To undertake these three promises,
I make to myself and to you,
Hekate, Soul of the World,
Who sees all,
Who knows all,
To whom all,
Must return.
As your Light grows,
So may I.”

Alternative words:

“I call upon you Hekate to witness my commitment to become more than I am, to fill my soul with your illuminating light.  As you grow to fullness, so shall I.”

* Note: On the three things to banish and three things to draw. One of our contributors said that nature abhors a vacuum, so if you do any banishment during the dark moon, make sure to draw a corresponding number of things to you during this ritual of the new moon crescent. See it as new life growing on death which is also what happens in nature. The COH Dark Moon ritual does not contain the three things to banish practice but you can add it.

12. Closing
Hail Hekate Soteira,
Lady of the three realms,
Earth, Heavens and Seas.
On this mighty night
I reaffirm my intentions
I seal my commitments
I am reborn to this new light.
New Moon,
Who awakens the power of the oceans,
And of the deep waters of my soul
I too hear the call, my lady,
As You rule over the seas.
I too swell under the shining smile
That grows in the night.
At this hour I no longer sleep,
At this hour I longer hide.
I leave Your cave, portal to Hades
Where I lay cocooned in darkness
And say goodbye to the Shades
It is time to rise and shine
From caterpillar to silver butterfly
I cast the darkness afar
The old cycle has ended.
Welcome new crescent moon
Shining one.”

13. Make a libation of wine to Hekate, Hestia and Hermes, and drink from the cup.
Break bread for them and dip in the olive oil, and place on your altar taking one piece for yourself. Extinguish your red candle. Close your ritual space in the way you are most comfortable.

14. Dispose of your offerings in the way you have decided.

Pathworking for New Moon Ritual
This is a guided meditation. Since it i’s impossible to do it simply by reading it, it is recommended to record this on an electronic support that you can playback when you do the pathworking.
Sit, or lie comfortably by your altar or shrine. Ensure you have a blanket or /and pillow if         necessary. Close your eyes.

Feel your limbs become heavy, so heavy that you imagine that they are sinking into the floor beneath you. Everything in you is firmly rooted to the ground, and you are so relaxed. Feel your blood pumping rhythmically via your heart around your body. You can feel your pulse slowing becoming more steady and in tune with your breathing which is natural, slow and deep.

Allow your mind to empty of those everyday thoughts. They are melting away. If unwanted thoughts or feelings come to you, just gently nudge them away with your mind, like pushing a cloud and seeing it bob away. You are aware of it, but it doesn’t affect you.

Begin to see everything as being dark around you and start slowly counting down from 10 to 1. With each number you are becoming more calm and removing yourself from the mundane world.

10 – 9 – 8 – 7- 6 – 5 – 4 – 3 – 2 – 1.

You find yourself standing in a gradually brightening landscape. Immediately before you is an avenue of ancient olive trees with beautiful black earth at their roots. The trees practically groan with olive fruit and their limbs are twisted and full of strange shapes and figures. There is birdsong all about you but you cannot see the birds.
You walk through the trees and feel the soft, crumbling, warm soil beneath your bare feet. The sun sends dappled light through leaves and branches lighting your face in strobes as you walk along.

Before long, you come to the end of this ancient grove and discover rolling fields of wild meadow and tall ripening barley all around you and as far as you can see. The sky is a beautiful shade of perfect blue. You look down at your hands and realise that you are carrying a wild bouquet of flowers, barley and poppies. You must have been picking them as you walked. You smell the air. The warm but fresh breeze with its salty tang tells you that the sea is not far from here. Bees hum as they visit the flowers in these fields and birds are singing as if to you alone. The smell of everything is wonderful.

Suddenly a great cracking noise as if the earth has burst open destroys your peace. You hear a rumbling roll of great wheels, along with a terrifying neighing and cacophonous thundering of enormous hooves upon the ground. The blue sky turns an angry black, the ground shakes and you feel paralysed with terror. The author of this sound is almost upon you and there is no escape. What can you do?

A firm but gentle hand is suddenly laid on your shoulder. A voice whispers conspiratorially in your ear “You best come with me and quickly, you won’t want to go with him!” .

You turn to find a beautiful youth, darkly tanned and lightly muscled with a runners’ physique. His darkly curling hair glints with gold in the sunlight and the air seems to shimmer about him. His amber eyes are piecing and serious, but a slight smile plays about his full lips, he appears to be seeing this as fun. The youth carries a wand that is wrapped about by two intertwining golden snakes. You are sure that you see them moving and looking at you, but every time you try to focus on them, the snakes cease to appear real.

You ask the young man who he is and he replies: “Hermes, and I bring you a token from Hekate, your patroness, to prove I am truly here.” Hermes hands you an item, and makes a motion for you to put it safe inside your clothing, which you do. What is this item?

Hermes then acts fast; striking the ground with his caduceus. A hole appears in the ground, getting larger and larger, and carved stone steps appear, leading as if down into an underground cave. He pulls you by the hand leading you down the steps. All this time the sound of the horses pulling a wheeled vehicle feels almost upon you both. Hermes slips around you on the narrow stair, and touches the opening to the world above with his wand. It shuts as fast as it had opened and he steps past you to lead your downward procession. It should be pitch black but the snakes on Hermes’ caduceus have opened their mouths and a glowing light is filling the space. The ceiling above you goes from just above your head to cavernous and you feel warmer as you walk lower. Hermes pulls you by the hand through a natural fissure in the rock in front of you, and you find yourself in a cave that has no perceivable exit. Rocks sparkle in the glow from the serpents mouths and you perceive that this cave is bigger than ever you had seen or heard of in your existence. Its floor has a hole in the centre, from the far away depths of which you can hear such strange sounds, that you cannot tell if they are beasts or men.

“I must leave you here for a while. Sit and wait, someone shall approach you and you may feel fear. I caution you not to run, but to offer your flowers to them. Ask questions if you will or need, but do not follow the stranger when he or she leaves you. Call my name three times when you wish for me to return to you.” Hermes is then gone from you in a sound of beating wings as of a giant bird and you are thrown into utter darkness.

You sit in silence, hearing your own heart beating and seeing nothing, not even the flowers you clutch tightly. You hear slow, deliberate footsteps and your stomach turns over. You want Hermes to return but he has left you for now and you know he will not return until you have completed your quest in this place.

A phosphorous glow appears before you. It gradually becomes larger and shows itself to be a human figure, draped in voluminous material and veiled, but glowing with some inner light that allows you to see. You greet the stranger with respect, although you are trembling, and offer your bouquet of barley and flowers. The stranger accepts your gift, and removes the veil covering his or her face. All fear has now left you, and you feel stronger and happier now even though you stand in this strange place, with a strange being. Who do you see?

The figure then speaks to you and bids you ask them what you will.

Ask your questions, however few or many, and listen well to the answers.

When you have finished or if your visitor has decided that it is time to leave you, politely thank them for their willingness to aid you and wish them a safe return to their dwelling place.

You are left alone with the dark and the howling crevasse in the floor of the cavern, yet you fear nothing. You confidently call three times Hermes’ name.

He appears with that wingbeat sound like a thousand swans in flight, smiles again at you and holds his hand out to take yours. “It’s time for you to return to your world.” You ascend the path together with his serpents lighting the way and you feel more powerful and sure footed than when you made your descent earlier.

Hermes taps the rock above your heads with his wand and the rock parts as before, but this time to show the stone steps leading up to the fresh air and beautiful aromas of the sunny meadows and fields of barley. He closes the crevice just as quickly as it opened and leads you further back through the fields, to the olive grove avenue.

You thank Hermes and he tells you that he will always be there to guide and protect you should you need his aid. Hermes reminds you of the token he gave you from the Goddess and advises you to keep it safe and bring its image to your waking world, to support you when times are dark and you cannot feel Hekate’s presence. He tells you to leave now whilst he watches over your return.

You walk through the avenue of trees, noting the strange simulacra that appears on their trunks. You come to the same spot you first found yourself when you travelled to this place from your world and you count again backwards, from 10 to 1.

You find yourself lying or sitting by your shrine with your eyes closed. Slowly move your limbs to wake them up, and open your eyes. If you need to, write in your magical journal what you saw, felt and heard on your journey so as to keep it fresh in your memory.

Record all salient parts of this pathworking in your magical diary, in particular the item Hermes gives you, the veiled oracular figure you see, your questions, the answers she gives to them and anything that strikes you in particular during the pathworking. Do this immediately as you come back to ordinary consciousness, so as not to forget.