This project is something that I initially felt interested in and after months of thought and some divination this Dark Moon rite, to help invite renewal and blessing, came to be.
The calendar in TFA is founded on the lunar cycles of the year starting with the New Moon, or first sliver of the moon. This night is known as the -Fîron (to celebrate) and is the first celebration of the lunar month, and most of the Fîrons are celebrated in the home, near the hearth because as the Gods travel in their course they are nearest to our homes. The -Naht (Night) is the second monthly celebration held the night before the Full Moon. As the Gods ride in their course, their worship moves from the home onto the land. On the night of the -Fol (Full) is celebrated the most liminal night of the month. The Waning Moon starts with the Tȋd or Thing and the darkening of the moon brings in a chthonic time where the Gods are worshiped in their hidden places until the coming of the next New Moon starting the cycle again.
Here is where this work comes in. I wanted to ritually mark and observe the ending of one lunar cycle and the beginning of another as well as tie the farhalon together as the year goes on. The main inspiration for this work is Hecate’s Deipnon, the Hellenic dark moon observance and ritual dinner.
As this is the chthonic liminal polar to the Fol, but also within the period of the Fîron, the celebration will have aspects of each. Chthonic and liminal themes, symbols, and places are very important. Doorways, corners, crossroads, water, and timing. The place where you meet your Gods regularly is a liminal place fit as well. As the midpoint between the months makes this time perfect for the settling and finalizing of affairs, cleaning of the home, and cleansing and purifying of the home and it’s members. Propitiatory offerings to avert evil and petitions to invite blessing, good fortune, health, and renewal are perfect for this time.
These are the Gods that I have built this rite around. This list is not static and is malleable to anyone’s home cultus.
Nehalennia – As the patron of seafarers, she has dominion over waters and thus the curative and cleansing properties. She bears an oar or rudder suggesting dominion over fate and fortune. She is the ferry-maiden and guide of the dead thus she takes the role of psychopomp and is a liminal God. Her roles and attributes are related to Hekate and Isis so she is the principal recipient of the night relating and inspired by Hekate’s Deipnon. She is petitioned for cleansing, health, good fortune, and protection from and to placate harmful or vengeful spirits, beings, or dead, and the protection of one’s domestic animals, especially dogs. Offerings fitting for Nehalennia are leeks, onions, garlic, shallots, bread, and apples.
Sirona – She is the celestial God of night and the stars and as the moon is darkened she is a fitting recipient this night along with Nehalennia. As patron of cool steams and wells, she also has dominion over curative and cleansing powers. The snake is hers, suggesting good health and fortune in line with Nehalennia and well as Askulap. Her cult is also, by relation to Apollo Grannus, related to Diana and thus she has dominion over wild places. Within TFA she is associated with the drawing of water and making of mead. She is petitioned for good health and good fortune, for good dreams and divine messages if desired, as well as the health of one’s land, livestock (especially bees), and the protection of the water sources. Offerings fit for Sirona are eggs, mead or wine, and sweet breads or cakes.
Ahuardua – The Sublime One, the First Waters, born from Ertha after Tiwisko, she is the deep (chthonic), ancient waters and a source of life. In TFA she is the source of all curative waters used by “newer” healing deities and as such has ultimate dominion over water’s powers, positive and negative. In relation to this ritual, she is the calm, dark, deep of the waters on a moonless night. Her cult is related to the cult of Isis as well but resembling aspects in line of the Great Mothers; Demeter, Rhea, Cybele, and Magna Mater. She is a destructive as well as bountiful God who is petitioned for cleansing and protection of the home, especially against destructive sources; storms, floods, wrisl. She is also petitioned for the protection of the source of the home’s water and the fertility and fecundity of the earth, especially in temperate climes. Offerings fit for Ahuardua are coin, flowers, vegetables, and fresh seafood.
The ritual outline
- During the day before sundown, the individual or household prepares themselves for the next month. Tasks including but not limited to
- Physical cleaning of the house
- Sweeping and dusting
- Collecting offerings that have been set out over the month for disposal
- Cleaning the fridge (old food not rancid can be given as offering to the land or propitiatory offerings to baneful spirits later on)
- Resolving personal finances and/or clearing debts
- Remembering and fulfilling oaths
- Giving to charity if possible and willing
- A family meal containing foods associated with cleansing and protection like alliums
- Reacquainting oneself with the farhalon of the former month and the coming month.
- Physical cleaning of the house
- The officiant purifies themselves before beginning, as this is a larger purificatory rite, a shower or bath is best, with initiatory offerings and prayers to Ahuardua and Rin Fader for their blessings.
- Offerings and tools are collected and set out for ease of use. Extra incense (or fumigatory tool) and a bowl or jug of water.
- The offering space of the home is then fumigated as much as desired with incense with prayers to whichever hearthgod or liminal god is preferred, Hiwa and Intarabus in my case.
- The rite is begun in whichever style the officiant prefers and Gods invoked and given initiatory offerings of incense with hymns sung or spoken in their honor.
- The work begins with the petitioning of each God and the presenting of offerings.
- Incense is lit and the home is fumigated (as lightly or strongly as once wishes, also depending on the state of the home over the past month) with shouts or charms spoken.
- The water is then presented and petitioned for blessing.
- The water is then sprinkled by clean hands or a blessed twig throughout the home with shouts or charms spoken.
- At a liminal place of one’s choosing, the officiant and household (if within your practice) are then anointed (or dowsed) with the remaining water with shouts or charms spoken.
- Back at the home shrine, the Gods are thanked and praised for their help in any way the officiant seems fitting and bid farewell.
- The offerings, along with collected old food and old offerings, are then deposited in a liminal or chthonic manner such as at a crossroads or in a pit. Once placed, those participating must return to the home without looking back and retiring for the night.
Special Note – If a home or individual has had anything traumatic or devastating happen, such as a death or serious offence, then a votive offering of a dog is burned in line with the offering of a black dog to Hekate as a scapegoat.
In honorem Nehalenniae