The title says it all. Well almost! Don’t you just love when synchronicity happens and you’re like Oh goody! I wonder what’s in store?! This month is drawing to a close, and this particular November 30 not only brings us a full moon, but also a lunar eclipse. What’s the third thing? One might wonder. Another interesting occurrence that has something to do with crossroads. Witch we will get to at the bottom of the page (pun intended there).
In the olden days when our ancestors relied solely on the cycles of Nature to survive and thrive, the moon has been a constant companion. The lunar cycle was the calendar of choice, its waxing and waning phases guiding planting and farming practices, hunting and gathering, and marking feast days that ushered in the changing seasons. November 30 just happens to fall on this full moon! The next one does not come around until 2039!
Each Full Moon had a name. These names were directly related to naturally occurring events such as the seasons, the weather, and animal activity as observed by our historical ancestors, namely Native American tribes whose relationship and reverence for nature ensured their continuing survival and safety. November 30 is a Beaver full moon, this is so because it is at this time each year that the beavers begin preparing to build and reinforce their lodges by felling trees in the forest to dam up creeks and rivers to create a safe place for their homes in the harshness of winter. They gather twigs and branches for fortification and food. By the same token, our ancestors used this time to gather firewood to last through the winter to stay warm. These names were later adopted into our agricultural society. The Old Farmers’ Almanac, founded by Robert B. Thomas in 1792, was a periodical that outlined expected weather conditions, natural cycles, and astronomical events, it also included recipes, tips, and humorous content. Times have changed but the spirit behind its creation still exists today. Other names include: Deer Rutting Moon, Digging/Scratching Moon, Freezing Moon, Frost Moon, Whitefish Moon.
Pagan traditions call it the Mourning Moon, rituals of letting go are observed at this time, the culmination of fall preparations that ushers in another cycle of the Wheel of the Year. It is a time to shed old habits, ideas, relationships, things, and all manner of personal and spiritual baggage that will not serve our highest good in the coming new year.
With all the advances we’ve made, we no longer have to fear the arrival of winter wondering if we will survive it the way our ancestors did. However, we have our own “winter” to contend with. In the midst of darkness the pandemic has brought upon all of us, there is a desire to find our way back to our roots, a desire to find and hold on to hope. This is clear in the way earth-based belief systems, lifestyles, and traditions are being rebirthed as many of us seek the healing powers of nature, its constant cycle an eternal compass that reminds us that life goes on. Just as our ancestors battled the changing of the seasons, so must we face our daily challenges with unwavering conviction that even in the midst of a burgeoning winter in our lives, it’s not forever. We are not facing an empty dark future. The full moon reminds us of that. Just as it waxes and wanes, just as it pushes and pulls at the tides of the ocean, we too have that power; to ebb and flow with an energy much larger than us, to respect the cycles we go through as stages of growth in the endless cycle of life, death, and rebirth.
First! A little quickie astronomy tidbit. November 30’s eclipse is a penumbral eclipse. This simply means that the Moon passes through the outer portion of Earth’s shadow, called a penumbra. On the astrological side of things, this lunar eclipse happens to fall on Gemini, the zodiac famed for its twin aspect and ruler of the House of Communication. However, I’m neither an astronomer nor an astrologist, so I humbly refer you to the experts that can be found here and here.
Every cosmic event holds a particular charm, whether or not one walks the magickal path, it has held beauty, enchantment, and significance all throughout recorded human history. Lunar eclipses are said to carry the power of all the phases of the moon making it a potent source of energy. It brings triple-blessed synergy, the alignment of the Earth, Sun, and Moon traveling across the sky allowing us to witness the magick of dark, light, and shadow all at once. It enhances our awareness of being, inspires us by being conscious of our connection to the natural world, and encourages us to seek the clues given to us by the Universe to traverse our lives in such a way that aligns with our highest good.
A witch’s path is one that winds through many roads. It’s a journey into self-discovery more so than anything. A year ago I was drawn to a particular deity, one I doubted, feared, and purposely ignored. I chose a secular practice afterall, I was just not interested in “worshipping” anything or anyone — now, none of that has changed. Except, I’m a junkie for signs and symbolisms so I did what I could never resist — read, research, and reevaluate my stance when I started noticing uncanny coincidences that made me “heed the call” of the Greek goddess Hekate.
But isn’t Hekate a goddess of the Dark/New Moon? One might ask.
Yes, that’s a historical fact and it’s called the Deipnon. Along my seeker’s path I learned about Hekate’s many feast days, both ancient and modern. She has been hailed as the goddess of magick, spells, witchcraft, ghosts, and many other interesting occurrences. Though there is no historical record why this particular day is dedicated to her, it is known among Hekate’s devotees that she is a deity of numerous epithets, Hekate Trivia being one of them. The word trivium is Latin for “where three roads meet”, trivia is the plural form denoting crossroads. Which brings us to November 30, known as Hekate’s Night at the Crossroads.
The gist of this celebration is centered upon leaving offerings for Hekate at a symbolic or physical crossroad. This liminal place that is somewhere and nowhere all at once. This in-between place is her domain. In historical origins dating back to the ancient Greek tradition of deity worship, people would leave offerings for the goddess so that she may continue guarding and protecting the roads leading to one’s home. She is named the keeper of keys, guardian of gates and doorways, as well as a goddess of Earth, Sea, and Sky.
Hekate might be a stranger to most people. But everyone has seen, heard, or been to gateways and crossroads. Whether figurative or literal, they represents different paths, a diverging invitation into the great unknown. It is an opportunity for us to look back at where we came from to decide where we’re going. A place to gather our thoughts before we proceed and make the choice to take the road leading to the journey that calls to us. An in-between space, a threshold, that takes us another step closer to our aspirations. The many archetypes of the dark goddess reminds us that there is infinite benevolence in our Universe, all we have to do is ask and have the courage to step forward and claim what is ours for our highest good. Our paths may take different roads, have different destinations, the higher powers we call upon may go by different names, or have no name at all. The takeaway is that there is power and comfort in the knowledge that we never have to journey alone. There are guideposts and signs along the way that will lead us to place within ourselves that bring us home.
The significance of this day resides not in the individual beliefs we hold, but in the common desire we carry in our hearts as this year draws to a close: to feel loved, to feel protected, and to feel guided in every crossroad we each must face in our lives. There is a sense of completion in the face of the full moon, and I hope that yours is one that takes you full circle, with many blessings lighting your path, no matter where life may take you.