A Bone to Pick with the Goddess
When I was 14 I wanted a pair of pants so badly, I would do anything for them. I begged my mom fro them day and night. She didn’t particularly like how baggy they were or that they were associated with punks and miscreants, but she figured it was just a phase. So she gave in.
But soon, as I limped around tugging at the waistline and dragging my feet and the hems of my new jeans across the pavement, my attitude changed. I turned into something I wasn’t. Mom and I argued a lot and she was heart-broken over what I had become. Mom’s love us so much, they’re willing to do crazy things to protect us.
One day I got off the school bus and noticed a small fire in the front yard. I asked my mom what she was burning. She told me she loved me and walked inside the house. I looked down into the dying flames and noticed a button from a pair of jeans…JNCO jeans. We never argued over clothes again.
“Heaven has no rage like love to hatred turned, Nor hell a fury like a woman scorned.” –Zara, from the play The Mourning Bride
We might say the same thing about the Goddess.
Last night was a full moon, the time each month when the energy flows at high strength, and the veil between worlds is the thinnest. Some follow the “Charge of the Goddess,” a literary work found in the Gardnerian Book of Shadows. Within, we find the Goddess speaking directly, in which she says:
“Whenever ye have need of anything,
once in the month, and better it be when the moon is full,
then shall ye assemble in some secret place
and adore the spirit of me,
who am Queen of all the witches.”
–Doreen Valiente version
There are a few ways to practice on a full moon. Some set aside this time to commune with and meditate on the Goddess. Others, “Draw Down the Moon,” a ceremony which involves allowing the Goddess to come into one’s body. Because I am new at this, my Mentor advised simple meditation, but that was before I had a bone to pick with the Goddess herself.
Exactly one month ago today, I wrote a post called the Rebellion. One day I was at the River Temple meditating when I experienced something powerful and life-changing. Just when it became too much, I stopped and left the Temple. I knew that if I went back, things would never be the same, so I rebelled and promised not to return until at least the year was over.
Since then, strange things have happened.
A few weeks ago, feeling particularly drained, I went for a jog…and kept going. I eventually felt drawn to an abandoned warehouse in the middle of the city. The place was run-down and disgusting, but I couldn’t resist and went inside. There, I found a place of meditation (more details in this post). There, I felt a quiet voice say, “You think I’m confined to a spot on the river?”
From that point until now, that spot became the Warehouse Temple: My place away from the River Temple. I thought I was given a free pass. But yesterday, on the full moon, everything changed.
Some things are going on with my family, things that could change how Project Conversion operates from now on, and I needed time to think. So I packed my bag and walked toward the Warehouse Temple to meditate. Instead, I found this:
This warehouse has stood for almost 30 years, and now they are tearing it down. My knees became weak and I almost collapsed. It’s the first time since Project Conversion began where something associated with the journey was physically destroyed. I couldn’t believe what was happening. Everything was falling apart around me.
Someone was responsible. Someone needed to answer for this sacrilege. I remembered that it was soon the night of the full moon, so I looked up at the cloud-veiled sun disk in the sky and muttered, “I have a score to settle with your wife.”
The celebration of the full moon is often referred to a specific type of Esbat where members of a coven (a community of Wiccans or Witches) gather for a joyful time of healing, spell-work, or other ritual. But I had nothing to celebrate. In fact, in my blind hatred, I considered ignoring the occasions all together. The sky was shrouded by thick clouds, as if the Goddess was hiding Her bright face from me. I made a promise though, to do whatever I had to for Project Conversion.
My set-up was simple. The kids had discovered a small concrete slab buried in the front yard between two Bradford Pear trees, so I set up my full moon altar there. Four tea light candles, three small bowls of water (to represent the waxing, full, and waning moon), incense, salt (for ground purification), and a glass “queen” from a chess set to represent the Goddess.
There are specific rituals (such as “Drawing Down the Moon”) and incantations one can say during this time, but for some reason, none of that felt right. I was angry, frustrated, and I had a bone to pick with the Goddess in the vernacular. With the candles flickering, I was honest with Her. I asked why these things were happening. What had I done wrong? Did the Warehouse Temple have to fall? Was She forcing me to face Her at the river? I asked Her to talk to me, explain these things, to hell with fancy language and specific moves!
Smoke from the incense drifted toward my face and washed over me. Out of breath, I stopped talking and started listening–waiting. I sat forever. Then, a mosquito buzzed in my ear. I slapped the side of my face to kill the mosquito and looked up over my shoulder. A break in the dark, night clouds…and the moon, in all Her glory, shone through.
That’s what I felt as I stared up at the moon. “I’m here.” With that, a warm calm came over me. She didn’t want to fight with me. I swung my fists and she just took it, waiting for me to tire down enough to collapse into Her embrace.
I finally took my meditation inside once the mosquitoes got too bad and just sat in the dark. The warmth continued. Peace…such peace, soothed my anger. I remembered that the Lady is change and the Warehouse Temple’s fall is only a part of that transformation.
“Arise, and come unto me.
For I am the soul of nature, who gives life to the universe.
From me all things proceed,
and unto me all things must return;”
–Charge of the Goddess
First, in Her motherly rage, she destroyed my temple. Next, she swaddled me in Her patient love. It was a sleepless night. I felt charged as if I had just consumed three cups of tea, but in the darkness, I felt peace at last…peace at last.