Saturday, January 26 marks the first full moon of 2013. For those readers who have possibly had some difficulty feeling like the New Year has gotten off to a positive start or who have been struggling to keep resolutions, the energy of the full moon can serve as a wonderful catalyst to step into 2013 with very powerful intentions for what is most desired. Wicca practitioners celebrate the full moon as a time when the Goddess is most powerful and showers her great blessing on all the Earth. This is the time when those intentions that were born of the new moon are brought into their fullness. The full moon also brings great energy for creativity, for giving thanks, for deep reflection, and for intimacy with loved ones. As well, the full moon has powerful cleansing energy.
In Christian tradition, the days following the celebration of the birth of Christ and the New Year are a time of new beginnings. The liturgical year actually begins with the first Sunday of Advent, four weeks before Christmas. The biblical readings associated with these celebrations are stories of discovery and understanding of something mysterious and new. The shepherds and magi learn of Christ’s birth in supernatural ways and travel to Bethlehem to honor the child. The Feast of the Epiphany, celebrated this year on January 6, recounts the discovery of Christ by the magi, who many believe were astrologers. The word ‘epiphany’ itself comes from the Greek ephaneia meaning “striking appearance, manifestation.”
House blessings or cleansings have been part of the Christian celebration of Epiphany for centuries. After the priest blesses a piece of chalk (representing clay and the humanity of Christ), the letters C, M, B and crosses, bookended by the year, are inscribed above the threshold of the home (20 + C + M + B + 13). The letters have a double meaning. They represent the historical names of the three magi: Caspar, Melchior, and Balthasar. They also stand for the Latin words Christ mansionem benedicat, May Christ bless the house.
Whether one is Christian or not, the imagery and symbolism of this tradition is rich. The three astrologers or magi see the star and travel to visit the child. They are told in a dream not to return to Herod with news of the child. Stars, dreams, manifestation, astrologers, gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh… such a wonderful mix of the pagan with the Christian. The famous cathedral, which is dedicated to the three magi in Cologne, Germany even features a beautiful stained glass window of the zodiac.
House cleansings are part of pagan tradition as well. As the full moon brings the energy and wisdom of the Goddess, some two weeks after the Feast of Epiphany, performing a house cleansing ritual will set the tone for the rest of the year. Burning sage or incense and carrying it throughout the house, fanning the smoke into the corners of each room while asking God, the Goddess, the angels, and/or Source Energy to dwell in the home and make it sacred is a simple way of performing the ritual. In a gathering of family and friends, each person might take a turn speaking an intention for the New Year and lighting a candle. Crystals (amethyst, clear quartz, blue kyanite, rose quartz) might be cleansed with sage and charged with the energy of the full moon for protection and certainty of manifesting those desires spoken for the New Year. The options are endless.
Peace, joy, light, and blessings to you and yours for 2013. Namaste!