Setting: The Circle. Full Moon, in the November chill, just past the change of the clocks back from daylight savings time.
Cast (earthly): Me and a very strong sense and knowledge of all the small critters around me, in den, burrow and nest.
Action: The Moon rituals are a blend of set ritual words and actions that bracket and set the space for inspired (or improvised) events. While admitting to my very human mindset, I try hard to clear myself of pre-conceived issues or subjects to "work on" before I go out for this ritual. When this works, it is amazing. When it doesn't work, I console myself with the thought that the next ritual is 2 weeks away and I will be able to try again.
(Last night was cold and I bundled myself in many layers. I fear being cold far more than I fear being over warm. But working with candles and incense, I could not wear gloves. Somehow, I was not aware of my hands being cold until the very end, as I was putting the candles out. I suspect that through constant use the tree circle itself has become a powerful gateway between worlds.)
I lit the candles in the quarters, and drew the circle, greeting the spirits that dwell in each quarter as I came to them. Mostly the words are ritualized, but sometimes phrases slip in that I don't expect. I try hard to remember them for later. Incense is lit. I state my existence and my Greeting. On nights such as last night, the sense of being Elsewhere is very strong, even as I can look around and see my trees, hear my neighbors pond and fountain, see the outlines of the houses (and the always on porchlights of the neighbor across the street-at least always on when I am in the circle). This is when I feel that I am at the very spindle of all of creation. This is when, should it happen at all, Inspiration comes.
The words last night were for the small predators, the foxes, the bobcats, the small snakes (yes, I've been dreaming of them again) and small raptors. The large predators (man, bear, coyote, and occasional cougar) have their watchers, and the prey have the numbers. There was power, and strength flowing in the message, flowing through me, but toward what end?
I've no idea how long I stood arms upraised, before sweeping them in full circle, first one way, then the other (a motion that had not been part of any previous ritual), it felt like years, it felt like seconds. But since the stick of incense that had been lit last was just beginning to burn out, it could not have been more than 20 minutes. But with the sweeping motion, the Message was finished, and it was time to return to the "script."
It wasn't until I had returned, stepped through the gates and started putting out the candles that I realized that there was now frost on the grass and just how cold my hands were. The Cross Quarter won't be until this coming weekend, but winter is approaching.