November Full Moon
by Sarah Gottesdiener·
A Moon of Nothing and Everything
“Nothing is important, so everything is important." — Keith Haring
November’s only Full Moon fills up fast above the horizon on a Friday. This Moon is sometimes called the Beaver Moon, when traps would be set out to capture furs. Traditionally, if the Beaver Moon is the last Full Moon before a Winter Solstice, it is also called the Mourning Moon. In North America, Native Americans have called this Moon the Freezing Moon (Anishinaabe), the Trading Moon (Cherokee), Moon When All is Gathered in (Pueblo), and the Moon When Winter Begins (Lakota). For us in the Northern Hemisphere, this is a Moon that brings us Winter on an icy platter. This weekend, many Americans will be gathering for Thanksgiving, another deceptive holiday that covers up the horrific history of our nation. You may wish to spend some time this weekend learning more about this land and the original inhabitors of Turtle Island, who have gazed up into the crystal halo of the Moon for over 12 thousand years.
This Full November Moon is the second since our Equinox Harvest Moon in September. In the Northern Hemisphere, we are squarely in the Waning part of the year—a time of rest, reflection, subconscious calibration, and shadow work. At this time, a Full Moon, so much about light, source, and energy, does not sync up with the pulse of cold, dormant earth. This death, this decay, whether metaphoric or actual, during this midnight time of the year, may turn a Full Moon somber. She could bring up the stark contrasts in your life with her gravity. Her rising could breeze past your heart roughly, showing it what it still yearns for, and leave it aching. A Full Moon in the dark days of the Wheel of the Year might amplify the shadows. Her illumination may bring up what must be revisited or released. The most fruitful work during this time of year may be around interior work, intuitive work, and what possibilities dwell in the underworlds and the liminal. Magical workings, cathartic Tarot readings, deep hypnosis, and longer meditations could be favored at this Lunation.
This Mourning Moon might bring up what in your life needs to be buried and laid to rest. Do not chase after what is running out of the door of your life, especially if what is running away has continuously sucked you dry. Let yourself grieve the emotions that demand your attention. Know that this grieving can also be a detox. Let this Full Moon allow you to remoisturize the skin of your soul. Replenish yourself with comfort and tea, eye masks and early bedtimes.
Raise your head to stare at the Moon in the night sky and you perceive a glowing circle hanging over the horizon. A circle is an endless line, a protected space. It mimics the spiral of time and spiralic orbits of the universe. We cast circles in witchcraft to begin an endless moment, a safe space that contains all timelines at once, themselves circles. It is an act that invokes our own center, and the center that is in all things, the center that sits in the middle of all the elements, the perfect blend of balance and energy. A center is a circle, the gathering together and a forming of disparate aspects of a community, a life, interests. Circles are centering.
We sit in circles to reinforce the idea that we are all equal and wise. A circle is at once an activated line and a never-ending loop. We walk in the circle of a labyrinth. Get caught up and have to circle back around. Ancient Greeks thought of the circle as being the perfect shape. The medicine wheel is a circle. There is no ending and no beginning. A circle connotes totality: a void and a portal, an entry point and a mirror. In witchcraft, as we concoct potions and prepare herbs counterclockwise and clockwise, the circle of tradition is still followed. Witches create circles of protection, summoning circles, circles of salt. We utilize the energy of our chakras: circular sources of electricity and vibrations. The circle is one of the earliest feminine signs; full bellies, cauldrons, cups, bowls, the pupil of one’s eyes, and the ouroboros are the symbols we all connect to instinctually across geography, across the vast expanse of time.
This Full Moon, this cold Moon, this reflection Moon, this Moon that is a cipher or a vacuum or a sloshing full cup or a barren flat disc of light, is in Gemini at zero degrees. Mercury, the planet that rules Gemini, is retrograde until next month. Gemini is air, is thought, is reaction, response, communication, reflexivity, and ideas. Gemini is awareness of the self as being the other. The archetype of Gemini vibrates strongly with the famous Descartes quote: “I think, therefore I am.” This Full Moon might want you to experience: “No Matter, Never Mind. No Mind, Never Matter. Either way…” (Ram Dass, Be Here Now). The archetype of Mercury the messenger is also strongly liminal. They are a true deity of above and below, here and there, the underworld to the above world, from a ferry to a train to a plane to a car to a cloud to the internet to love notes getting passed down a row in an eighth grade geography classroom. Mercury is everywhere and nowhere. Gemini can see this and be this. There can be great reflexiveness in this Moon, truthful messages reflecting who you are really are, and where you must embody your present self, your most spacious self, your most intriguing self. This Moon could be asking you to go beyond notions of right and wrong, shadow and light, into integration so that there is a third option: an alchemy of openings which is the combination of downloads, knowings, experiences, and experiments. Gemini is as much about thirds as it is about pairs. When ignited, contained entities come together. This results in a third, entirely distinct energy created out of the disparate, the opposite, or the kindred.
Ask yourself: what needs my attention, my mind? And what do I need to pay no mind to anymore? Ask yourself: what if I considered every interaction I had, every engagement as holy?
Not every Moon is one we actively honor with magical workings of a firework caliber. Some Full Moons are allowed just to exist. To be everything and nothing. No more and no less. To be a marker of eons of life that have been stirred by bright brilliant moonbeams: everyone on this Earth from Cleopatra to Mary Magdalene to Joan of Arc to Ida B. Wells to Sun Ra to Rebecca Solnit to June Jordan to you and me. And to be a cold atmosphere-less rock, chained to the Earth by a random collision and gravity, an object comprised of basic basalt, a submissive reflector of a churning sun’s energy. Not even worth completely colonizing (yet), or even erecting a simple space station onto.
We don’t have to actively worship every Full Moon. There doesn’t have to be candles and chanting and gatherings and dance and breath work and hours of preparation. Sometimes we just witness. Sometimes we pause, we spend time interrogating the pause between our inhale and our exhale. Our exhale and our inhale. Sometimes the victory is remembering the pause is always there, and counter to what a lot of our culture says, that the pause can be a way to expand time and space. Sometimes we just get through the day, the week, however exhausting it is, and leave it at that. Bed is the celebration. The ending is the celebration. That can be enough.
Some ancient cultures looked at a Full Moon as a resting time. She is not waxing and she is not waning. She just is. If need be, follow suit. It could be a relationship Moon, a party Moon, a uniting Moon. It could be a cold Moon, a questioning Moon, a shadow work Moon. Sometimes we do the work. Sometimes we just witness (Monica Sjöö & Barbara Mor, The Great Cosmic Mother).
Every Moon is for everybody. For every Full Moon that we experience, if we cannot see her, we can feel her. If we cannot move, we can still thank her with our heart and our thoughts. Every Full Moon ritual need not be elaborate. It can be just a reminder that we are living, simply by being, simply by staying alive. The most effective form of magic is living—whether that living is messy or depressing or thrilling or tedious or all of the above and more, because that’s generally what living is—it’s a circle of wretchedness and beauty, chaos and devotion. The most embodied magic exists in the here and now. It is a magic that expects nothing and everything. At this Full Moon time, can you go beyond dualistic ideas in your own life? Can the not-knowing be an exciting mysterious circle of infinity?
A Full Moon is at once complete and empty at the same time. She does not generate her own light. Her dark grey surface, comprising elements such as iron, magnesium, and silicon, and covered in cold lava from billions of years ago, mottled with craters, devoid of any atmosphere, is the perfect blank surface for the Sun’s reflection. She is devoid of light, yet her darkness is a conduit for the Sun’s rays. When she is in her Full state in the sky, she rises at sunset, almost never in our sky at the same time as the Sun. Her presence facilitates the Sun’s absence. The shadow light of the Sun, the circles we are on, the circles that surround us, the circular motions of the cosmos allow the obsidian sky to possess its own lighthouse in the form of our only Moon. Even when the Sun is not there, it is. Even when the Moon is not there, it is.
The Moon as mirror, polished or unpolished, clear or dusty, see-through or opaque, is filled up with reflected sunlight. She orbits, like all the other planets, in an circular fashion. The wheel that is the circle of time, turning around and coming back around again, seemingly without end. From the circles of the stars to the zodiac wheel that is a circle too, all the way zooming into our DNA of circles and spirals that make up the very stuff that we are. Allow the glowing orb of the Moon to allow you to center yourself. You underneath her, whole and empty and both at the same time. Limitless and another sparkling seed, another filled cup, another transparent dreamer, pausing in the in-between, floating in the nothingness and stretching out into the everything.
Crystals for this Full Moon: clear quartz, obsidian, dalmation stone, a crystal you create in your mind
Tarot cards to meditate on: The Fool, the Aces, The Lovers, The Moon, The Sun, The World, a Tarot card you make up that you need at this time
Journaling questions/questions to ask yourself as you stare up at the Moon:
Where do I feel empty? Why?
Where do I feel full? Why?
Do I need to recalibrate these states of emptiness and fullness?
How do I feel about voids? Why?
Do I need to take more space from something/someone, or give more space to someone/
How will I honor myself, my rest, my enough-ness and my not-enough-ness at this time?
—Excerpt from Many Moons 2018 Vol 2. Buy yours here.