This dark moon, when I went to speak with Na Morrigna, they spoke to me of the importance of self-care to avoid burnout, the importance of continuing the fight and staying on target even as things appear to be settling down, as the ongoing struggles slip out of mainstream news cycles. Above all they stressed that the harvest would come soon. Lughnasadh is just around the corner: a time for renewed contracts, for the settling of legal disputes. A good time to clarify our purpose as we head towards Samhain, the month of November. The apple harvest is almost here, and with it will come a change, although the type of change still hangs in the balance, undecided, uncertain. One more push is needed, if we wish to reap the harvest we’ve been working for. Look to those on the peripheries for guidance as you move forward. The marginalized ones. They will know how to best achieve justice. Witches and apples have a long history, and acorns are not Macha’s only crop. There may be bloodshed yet to come, as the harvest comes in and the rents come due.
Here is a slip of a poem, inspired by my visit:
Crows gather in fields Perching on straw men Eating the corn
Apples ripen on trees Dripping with syrup Sweet-tasting deception
Poisoned apples Bloody acorns Swirling murders of crows
Otherworldly battles Faction against faction Spilling over the border
A queer wit sees more truth The worlds entwined A struggle for control
The people gather a harvest Each one gets their portion Long-due debts will be paid
Today, I unpacked the last few things before I started the ritual. I wore my new garments, new jewelry; used my new veil. Lit the lamp, and gazed at the flame through the fabric covering my head. I’m beginning to really feel the outline of my deeper ritual format, and it’s just in time – this is the last Bright Moon before the Epagomenal Days and Wep Ronpet. It’s a leap year so I recalculated the rising time this year, and have adjusted to August 9th, but for the past four years I’ve used the August 7th date for Washington, DC. Look to the Tumblr Shrine for updates and details, as I’ll be posting my follow-along celebration there, as I have in years past.
Here is this month’s message from Bast and Sekmet:
Fire burns but also cleanses, and releases your prayers into the air as smoke. You can find joy in sensual pleasures while everything is burning, while you light it all on fire. Don’t restrict your emotional range. Our festivals in the old days resembled Bacchanalia: drunkenness, blood, sex, frenzy. Bursting into the streets, not unlike today’s block parties. Celebrate living. You are fighting, but don’t forget to live, too. Don’t forget to play, too. You can fight longer without losing stamina if you have time to play, too. You can be strong for longer if you also have a time and a place to blow off steam. Take time during the Epagomenal Days to revel in your life and the full spectrum of human experience.
The next full moon is August 3rd, the day before the first of the Epagomenal Days, so there will probably not be an omen until the New Year omen on Wep Ronpet, August 9th. If you have any questions, or if you would like to request a personal message or heka for August, please email the shrine here. And if you are interested in supporting the shrine, I have a tip jar set up here. Thanks!
Cardstock: It’s pretty thick without being too stiff, and has lovely gilded edges. So far it’s holding up very well to moderate usage for the past year or so. It feels pretty good to riffle shuffle, and the cards don’t stick much but they are pretty glossy.
Artwork: I don’t think I’ve ever seen a deck with artwork this representative. Age, race, ability, gender, size – the artwork is truly diverse. Some of the cards don’t have people on them at all, and those are all gorgeous as well. The attention to detail here, and the patterns on everything from the floors to the clothing, are very impressive. It’s a riot of color!
Book: This deck comes with a full paperback guidebook, not a LWB, with each card in black and white. The Major Arcana have about two pages each, and the Minors just one, but there’s a lot of material here, from descriptions of the scene itself, to keywords and thought-prompting discussions of both upright and reversed meanings. The language is pretty gender-neutral throughout, and the meanings are immersed in themes of social justice and healthy boundaries. The writing style is very accessible.
Likes: I love the diversity of the artwork and how queer it is, from depictions of gender-non-conforming folks, to the subversion of traditionally gendered tarot cards. Instead of Page, Knight, Queen, King, we have Dreamers, Explorers, Creators, and Mystics. The High Priestess becomes The Diviner, The Empress is The Nurturer, The Emperor is The Founder, The Hierophant is The Visionary. They are all still numbered for easy recall. Also, The Devil has been aptly renamed The Shadow, Judgement is now The Awakening, and McCloud added a 23rd Major, called The Numinous (whence the deck title). Suits have been renamed as well, but follow the traditional elements: Candles for Fire, Bells for Air, Vials for Water, and Tomes for Earth. The deck is at once tarot radically reimagined, and also familiar to students of the Rider-Waite-Smith system.
Dislikes: I think my only complaint is that some of the artwork is a little inconsistent, with some cards feeling more polished and some more sketchy, but there might be an intentional pattern to that seeming inconsistency.
If you want a radically accepting queer-friendly deck that has truly diverse representation, you need this deck. I’ve been bringing it to pagan events just to show people! And for an indie deck, it’s really not very expensive. The artwork is very evocative, and is perfect for either a collector or an intuitive reader. It may take a little longer for students of the RWS system to get used to than the sort of decks that simply copying RWS imagery with cats or the like, but it isn’t an entirely new system and I found the transition fairly easy.
This is also my deck of the month for my Patreon for June, in honor of Pride Month!
This time, when I went to visit Na Morrigna, they spoke first about the healing ritual I led earlier this month, how necessary it is for those doing battle to stop and be healed, to stop and get clean again. And that will also be necessary, they say, as we move into the phase where we decide what comes next. As movements asking for change gain momentum, those who rose up are asked: but what changes? What will that look like? They gave me visions of imagery, and words to share, almost a poem, inspired by them but still in my own voice. Questions to ask ourselves.
Seeds from a bad harvest, Planted in better soil, Trained into new shapes.
What can be fixed? What can be used?
When the tower has fallen, When the fires are banked, When it is time to rebuild:
What will you use? What will you keep?
Meditate on these questions, fellow Crows. Find your own answers, and then add to the growing discussions in your own communities. Some things are surely beyond repair, beyond saving, but others may be salvaged if they are stripped back far enough, like a house with “good bones”. Make sure you are contemplating the bones of even the largest of institutions: what to destroy, and which to salvage for building materials. The fight goes on, but we need to think about a way forward, as well. Clear goals and objectives to aim for, to focus on.
Be well. May strength, courage, and clarity be yours.
I was told to wait for the energy of the full moon to settle, this time. I was also given lenience, because I had an online conference I was attending over the weekend. But tonight I did my ritual in my new office. At an actual desk this time and with their actual shrine candles, but I still have not located the oil lamp because I’ve barely been able to do any unpacking in the last few weeks. (There’s a glimpse of why about to go up on my Patreon, lol.) I have been acquiring, purchasing, and commissioning some new shrine stuff and hopefully I’ll have that all in hand in time to show you for Wep Ronpet. But before I get too far ahead of myself, here’s this moon’s message from Bast and Sekhmet:
Conflicts divide your communities right now. You are inundated with pictures of faces. Faces wearing masks, distraught faces, angry faces. Things are being torn down, and that is good. But as difficult as this part is, building back up in the right way will be more difficult still. Sustained action is needed. Do not let the flames die out. Do not let them douse your flame. It burns strong in your hearts; kindle each other.
There is a wide gulf in the middle. It is called apathy. Apathy is a tool of isfet. Joy and anger both are tools of ma’at. Resist joyfully, resist angrily, resist hopefully. Be the light that illuminates words from behind, and casts them against the wall, larger than before. Beware those who would interrupt you or divert your attention. Stay focused on your goals.
The next full moon is July 5th. If you have any questions, or if you would like to request a personal message or heka for August, please email the shrine here. And if you are interested in supporting the shrine, I have a tip jar set up here. Thanks!
This digital flyer is being passed around on various social media websites, and I plan to take part. When I checked in with my guides and allies, however, they had a specific suggested topic for ritual work, and asked me to share it with my audience.
My guides suggested I write a short working to my Ancestors. Specifically, the white ones. I’m a mixed-heritage light-skinned Indigenous person, but yeah, I have a lot of white ancestors. Quite a few of whom were probably problematic AF.
I remembered then, a discussion I’d attended that was led by a woman named Sangoma, who is both Black and Indigenous. During that, a white woman asked a question, and I recorded the exchange in my blog, but I’ll reproduce it here:
The attendee had recently learned that some of her ancestors had owned land near where we were in Georgia, and that in addition to that land they had also owned five slaves. She wanted to know what she could do with that knowledge, how she could make up for the trauma her ancestors perpetuated, how she could work with ancestors who had done something like that. Sangoma’s response was concise and actionable: Find out who they were, if you can. Find their descendants, if you can, and help them out. Find out where they were buried, if you can, and give them last rites so that they may go peacefully into the next world. And what about the black nannies who raised your family? Do you send them Christmas cards? Find them and their descendants, too. The only thing you can do is ask the dead for forgiveness, and help the living as best you can.
That’s still great advice, but it got me to wondering about ancestral debts, and how that’s a legacy that those with white ancestry have to deal with. How maybe the Dead could be enjoined to pay their debts, as well. If Ancestors can be called on to offer us aid, surely we can ask them to right their wrongs as well? To help the living descendants of those they wronged, to help us clean up their bloody legacy.
So, I wrote the following prayer/charge. I suggest you set up an altar ahead of time with a candle, matches or lighter, food and/or drink, a bell or chime, and a divination tool. Then read through the whole thing at least once, and think about what it means, before doing the ritual. Remember to follow up with mundane ways of supporting the work! Incorporate them into the ritual if you like. For example: at the end, present a confirmation of a donation to an aid fund, or give an oral account of actions you have taken. When you perform the rite, speak the words written below, and perform the actions indicated in brackets in italics.
Mini-Rite to the Ancestors
[Prepare your space in your usual way before you begin.]
I light this candle to call upon my Ancestors, whose debts are yet unpaid. [light candle]
Those who caused harm to Black People, Indigenous People, People of Color. Those who caused harm either by their words or their silence, by their actions or their inaction. Those who owned slaves, those who profited from slavery, those who used products or services from business who profited from slavery, those who continued to oppress former slaves and their descendants, those who refused to acknowledge or remedy the injustice. Those who stole land to colonize, those who kept lands by force, those who continued to oppress the original peoples of the stolen land on which they lived, those who refused to acknowledge or remedy the injustice. Those who engaged in genocide, and those who allowed it to happen.
I will do my part to break the cycle. To that end, I call on my Ancestors to pay their debts.
I call on you! Hear my Petitions! [if you have a bell or chime, sound it now, four times.]
Protect the descendants of those you wronged. Tear down the unjust systems you upheld. Pave the way for better, more just systems to be built. Reinforce the work of those who build better systems from the ashes of the old.
I have done this work, I am doing this work, and I will do this work, With my hands, my voice, my talents, with this body that comes from your lineage. Join me; work by my side. Help me do this work to pay the debts you have burdened me with as your legacy and my inheritance, or be banished from the offerings on my altar, from my veneration, from my remembrance. [blow out or douse candle]
Help me do this work and our legacy will become achievements of justice and integrity, worthy of remembrance by our descendants. [re-light candle, and give offerings]
[Spend some time with your Ancestors, perhaps doing a little divination, and when you are through, thank them for their time, blow out or douse the candle, and dispose of the offerings.]
Notes: 1. Yes, I’m aware that the “those who…” section basically amounts to EVERYONE, but I think it’s worth spelling out. 2. Yes, I’m also aware that repeating this comes awfully close to oathing that you’ll do the work, but tbh that should really not bother anyone because we all need to be doing the work. It doesn’t say 24/7/365, you won’t be in violation if you slip up occasionally, but it may result in your Ancestors exerting some pressure if you try to shrug it off. 3. You may share wherever you want, but give credit. You may also adapt it slightly for your own, non-commerical, usages.
Additional Suggestions for Polytheists:
If you’re a practicing polytheist, I also suggest saying some prayers and/or doing a mini-rite to your favorite deities of Law, Justice, Truth, Right Rulership, etc, for this full moon working. If you don’t have a favorite, here is a (very brief and not at all exhaustive) list of suggestions:
This is the second dark moon since I was recalled to service, and one of many that I have served the role of messenger for Na Morrigna, messenger mainly to those whose practice is most similar and location is most proximal to my own, but perhaps the message will find resonance farther afield as well. I write because I am told to, and this small platform is as good as any – my community knows where to find me.
This time, as many others, I journeyed to my usual meeting place with Na Morrigna, the three Daughters of Ernmas. They met me there, and a fire was already lit beneath the great cauldron, though it was not full. I poured water to fill it from my own jug, and they added herbs, stirred it together until it was steaming, and then bade me look.
I saw violence, turmoil. barely contained. The water and herbs in the cauldron seethed and roiled though the surface was calm. Likewise, violence boils beneath the surface of our society. Things are tensed, straining, and something will have to give, for the pressure will not let up, cannot let up – it has gone to far, and we are past the point of turning back, past the point where we might have been able to settle it back down. We cannot stop the rising flood, though there are better and worse ways of dealing with the flood as it spills over. As a society we’ve laid poor foundations, and we have not restructured them properly or even maintained past partial fixes, and we’ll find ourselves facing disaster. A harvest of disasters, grown from poisoned seeds in unmaintained fields. I look again, deeper, and it gets clearer. I see riots, I see burning, I hear gunfire, screams, I smell smoke. It looks to my untrained eyes like war.
They tell me to say: “Do not look to the King for justice. His Ways are not Just. But those among you who are warriors, guard your communities during the turmoil. Healers, heal. Others, look to your crafts. What power will you wield in the battle to come? Not hard to say.”
Note: those last two sentences in the quoted section come from the Cath Maige Tuired, somewhat paraphrased, from when Lugh is asking each person what they will do in the battle.
I am still using my travel shrine: getting new furniture takes longer, in this time of corona, and my office-cum-ritual-space is still mostly a pile of boxes. I do have candles this time, though I have yet to located my oil lamp. Ah, well. The Eyes of Ra are patient with me, understanding of my circumstances. So long as I can find a way to deliver the message, they are contented. So, without further ado, here is this moon’s message, from Bast and Sekhmet:
We are past the tipping point, now, and some things have become unavoidable. No longer is the sandstorm just beginning, but neither is it beginning to calm. Use your resources carefully, so that you will have enough to outlast it. Think to the future, too: what seeds do you wish to plant, so that you may reap them in the future? Which new shoots will you tend, and which will you pull out? The work you do now is shaping the future, even if it feels too small to matter. What kind of future are you envisioning? But be flexible in your planning, as the path of the sandstorm into the future is still uncertain. Conflict lies ahead of you, especially if resources are not shared equitably. You are being divided, separated, but be careful to note where the lines are causing more harm than good. Find a shared tent in which to weather the storm; you cannot survive being swept up by the winds, alone.
The next full moon is June 5th. If you have any questions, or if you would like to request a personal message or heka for June, please email the shrine here. And if you are interested in supporting the shrine, I have a tip jar set up here. Thanks!
I have been recalled early. For two years, I served as an oracular priestess of the Morrigna, the Daughters of Ernmas, every Dark Moon from Lughnasadh until Imbolc. But I find myself called back to duty before Beltaine this time.
I imagine many of you are finding the same to be true. If you have been on standby, consider this your activation, your incitation. If you have been doing Their Work, you may find you are being called to work Deeper, to work more Often, to work more Directly.
But first, the message:
You are surrounded by a sea of lies, deceit, delusions of imposterhood, illusions that things will, or can, ever be “normal” again. Swim to shore. Wave-chariots will carry you if your stroke falters. Reaffirm your commitment to change, to the Work. Reaffirm your commitment to me, and join me and the Crow Fianna on shore. Regroup your squadrons. Make plans. Be ready. More work is coming, more change is coming, more tests of will are coming. You are prepared. Be ready for the Call.
I suggest you all make witchy go-bags and carry them with you, or put them in a place in your home you can get to easily and begin quickly, if you suddenly feel that you need to act. Get in contact with your closest allies in your community, whether locally or online. If you feel called to work together, do that. If you feel called to work alone, do that. If you’re not sure: ask, and LISTEN.
Arise, kings to battle here! Seizing honor, speaking battle-spells, destroying flesh, flaying, snaring, seizing battle [plains]*, seeking out forts, giving out a death feast, fighting battles, singing poems, proclaiming druids collect tribute around in memory.
Bodies wounded in a rushing assault, pursuing, exhausting, breaking, prisoners taken, destruction blooms, hearing screams, fostering armies battle, occupants moving, a boat sails, arsenal cuts off noses.
I see the birth of every bloody battle, red-wombed, fierce, obligatory-battlefield, enraged.
Daimler leaves the missing word untranslated, but the image I was given when I asked indicated terrain, which Morpheus Ravenna discusses on pg 145 of The Book of the Great Queen. I’ve also broken up the lines here to fit the rhythm communicated to me. I don’t claim that either of those additions are “more correct”, but it does seem to be the way Na Morrigna would like them to be presented here and now, for Their own reasons.
I suppose I’ll be seeing you all next Dark Moon. In the meantime, please do not hesitate to reach out, especially for my usual offerings on Their behalf: distance energy healing, and divined guidance.
I did almost the full ritual this time, but with my travel shrine, in the new house, where what will become my ritual room and witchy office is still full of boxes and in disarray. (Check the Instagram for a sneak peek!) I’m just glad once again that my arrangement and oath allows for some leeway in both time and scope of the ritual. Hopefully I’ll be all set up by the next full moon! But here’s this moon’s omen from Bast and Sekhmet:
The most important thing right now is ma’at: balance, justice, correct order. You’re on the cusp of something new, but are currently in free fall, and you’ll need a plan to be able to land on your feet, twisting in the air like a cat. Many people are resisting change, refusing to engage with their own shadows and wounds, and that mindset will only make things worse. Let change flow around you like a river, let it take you where you need to be. Use this Pause to to delve deeper into yourself, and find what still needs healing. Honor what you find. Give those around you the space to do their own healing, and encouragement to begin. Be gentle with yourselves and one another. Practice generosity as much as you are able. Rest and prepare, because there will be more fighting to come.
As always, I hope that helps, and feel free to follow along on tumblr @eyesofra! I do a limited number of personal questions each time, and those can be submitted on tumblr or through the shrine email in advance of the next full moon. There’s also a kofi tip jar for those interested in donating to the upkeep of the shrine. Thanks and see you next month!