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August brought a full moon and a lunar eclipse which according to astrologers and soothsayers, was to herald the beginning of new phases in life. For some, the changes from old to new were to be dramatic, for others, more gentle but these things take time and not all of us will know what these changes are to be yet; however, some of us will already have glimpsed what those changes may be.

This significant lunar event coincided with a notable event within the Wytchenwood family. During that same week, I (Mother Wytchenwood) celebrated a significant birthday and I crossed a threshold into a new phase of life. So our full moon rite would be something extra special, marking extra special circumstances.


Making our way to the ritual ground

We set off to the wooded slopes of the Iron-Age hillfort that we use for many significant rites. We walked and climbed, carrying what we would need and found a wonderful spot surrounded by Hazel trees, Oak trees, Holly trees and Hawthorn trees and within sight of ancient tumulus. We laid out the area and made a makeshift altar from a tree stump and a large stone. We marked out the circle with ash collected from the fires of previous rites (these ashes are gathered from the fires of rites and mixed and kept as they hold the magic and power of all the rites they have been a part of, each new rite adding its power, memory and magic to the mix) and all was ready just as the sun was setting on one side of us and the moon was rising on the other side; there we were, between the most glorious sunset and the most magnificent moon rise.

As we began we were acutely aware of the sounds around us; the cry of the buzzards overhead, the first calls of the stags below us, the Swifts out for their last meal of the day, the rabbits stirring the undergrowth and the crows cawing raucously as they headed for their roosts. We could feel the energies of the trees around us; the Oaks sturdy and strong yet ageing and wise, preparing to sleep, emissaries of the God. The Holly young and full of vibrancy, getting ready to take the helm through the winter months. The Hazels, watching, guarding and enclosing our rites. The Hawthorns proud, regal and emissaries of the Goddess. The ivy, twisting, undulating and containing our sacred space.


The sun setting as the Moon rose

As our rite progressed, the sun set and the Moon rose high, suspended dazzlingly in a royal blue sky surrounded by the glistening jewels of the stars. The power of our rite increased as I felt the shift from one phase to another, both in the landscape around me and the landscape within; I truly was moving across a threshold.

As the sky changed from vibrant pinks, purples and blues to the dark hues of a late summer night sky, we became conscious of the sounds around us changing too. The cries of the Buzzards had given way to the calls of the owls, the Swifts had handed the baton of the night to the bats, the undergrowth now moved slowly and purposefully with the weight of the badgers as they left their setts and the trees sighed from time to time from the gentle breeze. But still they stood, watched, guarded…. and approved.

Towards the end of the rite, I dis-robed and allowed the Moon to bathe me in Her lustrous light. I met the Lord and the Lady of witchcraft as I now am. As the person I have become and allowed them to see me in all honesty; they accepted me..

At the end of the rite, we all felt that we had certainly moved forward into a new and different phase but me, I now knew that I had and the Lord and the Lady had helped and guided me on to my new and ever turning path; a mantle had been passed to me.

By the remaining candlelight, we packed away our belongings and returned the area to how we had found it, leaving no sign of the momentous occasion that it had witnessed and been a party to. As we returned the way we had come, the night became stiller and quieter; the bats had stopped flitting overhead, the badgers had moved off and all we could hear were the owls as if proclaiming their sanction on the activities of the night.


A Rite of Passage