This was originally posted on the Patheos blog Nature’s Path, May 11th, 2016.
One of the many blessings I’ve experienced during my internship at First UU Nashville is participating in our CUUPS chapter events, especially our monthly full moon ritual and drum circle. Shared ministry is deeply embedded into the culture in this congregation, and it manifests in creative and transformative ways. With my internship ending in a couple of weeks, I’ve been meditating on how much ministry I’ve received from the ritual work done at our full moon celebration, and what a gift it is to be able to participate as often as I lead.
I’ve written before about the value of Pagan rituals and energy work for our Unitarian Universalist communities. It’s also widely acknowledged that healthy communities set aside time for reflection and processing on a regular basis. I’ve realized that the monthly full moon rituals are the perfect combination of these two things for me, and for many members of our congregation, and it has the added bonus of being an environment that is supportive of and inviting to our children and youth.
First, we gather, bringing food and drink to share. There is fellowship, and welcoming, and the sense of community. Our priestess (sometimes we are lucky enough to have two!) calls us to the ritual circle, and we are given a sacred space in which to look at the last month of our lives, and to look toward the future ahead. We hold our children with us, teaching them how to follow the moon in their lives as they grow into their wholeness of being. We remember that life works in a cycle. We are asked to offer up a single word of focus for the month ahead, of what we wish to send our energy towards as the moon completes another cycle of waning and waxing. We close the circle, and then, we dance!
I write about this today because, for many of us, a cycle is coming to an end. Many of us in school, or who have children of that age, are nearing the transition to summer break. Those of us in UU congregations are nearing the end of the programming year, and the annual meeting in which decisions are made about the future of our spiritual homes. I, personally, am ending one internship and beginning another in chaplain training. For some, the path of the next few years is already clear, for others, like me, it is not. I have found myself having to sit in the uncertainty of a long-term transition period, receiving my children’s anxiety about their futures along with my own. The ritual of the full moon has given me, and them, an anchor in this sea of uncertainty — knowing that every month, we will come under the light of the moon and be reminded of our own power, and the love of our community.
May it be ever so, and blessed be.