Dark Moon Ritual

This is all my own writing, so please don't repost without my permission.

As this is April, and the full moon is sometimes referred to as Raven's Moon, I decided to create a Dark Moon esbat focusing on honoring the Raven, and divination. This circle is a little different than my regular Wiccan rituals, as it honors Raven rather than a God/dess. This circle is meant to be performed on a Dark Moon- the time when the moon is completely dark, before any sliver of moonlight begins to show. The dark moon lends itself to many introspective activities- this one is focused on divination. If possible, I also suggest the room be mostly dark if at all possible. Make sure that you have your divination tool(s) and a notebook or your BOS on the altar before you start.

Cast Circle
Seal Circle
Call Quarters

Evocation to Raven
Creature of the black feathers,
Sacred bird of Bran,
Messenger of Odin,
Attendant to Lugh.
You who symbolize transformation and the great mysteries,
We praise and honor You.
We ask that You might share Your wisdom with us tonight, magickal one,
As we seek messages from the divine,
On this moonless night.

Statement of Purpose
Tonight we gather here to celebrate the dark moon. Divination is called for this night, and We have called upon Raven’s aid. In many cultures, Raven is known as the messenger, often carrying messages from the divine. Tonight, as we divine using our tools, we will ask Raven for her help in acquiring and interpreting the messages we receive.

Offering to Raven
Raven, we offer to you this gift of ______________ that you know that we hold you in the highest honor. (Can be grain, berries, or even eggs)

Blessing of Divinatory Tools
Dark Mother,
Wise Crone Goddess
Bless our circle and all within.
Aid us in tapping into our personal conduit to You, the divine.
Raven, ancient one,
aid us in interpreting the messages we receive on this dark moon.

Center of Ritual
Divination-make sure you note anything of import in your notebook or BOS.

It’s nighttime. You find yourself standing outside of a very small cottage, in a garden of sweet smelling flowers. It’s so dark, it’s nearly impossible to see, as there is no moon in the sky- only a thousand twinkling stars. You gather yourself up and step close to the wooden door of the cottage. Open the door to the cottage and step into a warm, furnished room, lit by a small in the hearth. The room is small and takes up the entire floorplan of the cottage. You see what looks to be stairs going to a sort of basement toward the back of the room, and you cautiously approach them. There is no door, but you can see a brick room lit up beyond the stairs. Take the stairs down, and once you clear the floor of the cottage above, the stairs begin to curve around and traverse the perimeter of a round room. The walls are made of stone, and flickering candlelight washes over the brick. The sound of the footsteps echo around the circular room. Continue down the staircase until you can see a small circular pool of water on the floor of the room. As you step off of the last stair, you notice that the walls have candles placed here and there upon natural shelves carved from the rock. The pool of water in the floor looks almost like a mirror, and in it seems to be a white or pale blue light emanating from within its depths. Placed in front of the mirrored pool is a large luxurious looking cushion. Settle yourself on this cushion. Now, peer into the reflective pool. Focus on the symbols or words you received while you consulted your oracle and the pool may tell you their mystical relationship to you.

When you are through, take a few deep breaths, and remove yourself from the large pillow. Stand up and find the bottom of the steps where you came in. Begin climbing the stairs ahead of you. The candlelight still flickers over the bumpy texture of the walls and you can reach out and touch it as you climb the stairs one by one. Soon you reach the doorway into the cottage. The cottage is warm, making you realize how cool the previous room was. You see the front door and walk out of it, into the warm night. You are once again in the sweet-smelling garden, surrounded by comforting darkness, with the stars above as companions. You feel relaxed, renewed and know that you can return to the round room whenever you might need guidance during the darkness.

Cakes and Ale

Release of Raven
Majestic Raven!
You who inspire transformation and change
Messenger of the Gods
We thank you for your presence in our circle tonight
Blessed Be!

Quarter Releases
Open Circle

More Energy

This recent weekend, we had our coven meeting and it was really nice. We did a few of the energy exercises described in my recent blog, as well as one that Aislin had tried before. In addition to being fun, it was really good to practice moving our energies around within our bodies, and from one person to another.

Energy Pushing Exercise
Aislin said that she thinks that this exercise might be in Penczak’s Inner Temple book.
One person is the ‘pusher,’ the other is the ‘receiver.’ Both parties stand facing one another and they might close their eyes to improve their concentration. The pusher begins to direct energy toward the other person with the intent to push the receiver, making her lean back. The other people act as observers, as both pusher and receiver will probably have their eyes shut.

This was a great exercise. We switched partners throughout the exercise, which was my original plan- but time really flew by quicker than expected- so we’ll have to do the other exercises next time.

Energy Play Exercises

I posted a tweet in regards to energy exercises, as my group will be doing some of that this weekend. I asked if anyone had any fun ideas. I got nothin'. But that's okay. Here are a few exercises that we've done before.

Energy Balls
Sit down.
Take a few deep breaths and ground yourself using the common tree meditation. Place your roots deep into the ground. On an exhale release all your tension and anxiety. Begin to draw up energy from the ground, into your roots. Feel it flow into your legs, into your torso, and up into your arms. Feel this energy flow into your hands. Let it flow into your cupped hands, creating a small ball of light the size of a pingpong ball. "See" this ball, and use your will to grow it into a tennis ball. Note the color of your energy ball. Change the color of the ball. Now expand your hands and expand the size of the energy ball. Practice changing the size and color of the energy ball.

Partner Energy Ball Practice
Sit across from your partner. One person creates an energy ball in their cupped hands. Their partner sits across from them and cups their hands. The person with the energy ball transfers it to their partner. The partner then changes the size or color and passes it back to the original person. This goes on for awhile, then the partners can do a pass and then discuss what they think they received, and then what they changed.

Group Energy Ball Practice
Sit in a circle. One person creates an energy ball, and passes it to the person on her left. This ball is passed around the circle a few times so everyone can get attuned to the energy. The second time, each person changes the ball a little bit. It's kind of like the old game telephone.

Projecting and Receiving Energy into the Body (Partners)
One partner lays down and the other kneels over them, palms down over the first persons body. The partner laying down closes her eyes. The kneeling partner chooses a part of her partners body to focus on, and begins to channel light healing energy into her partner. The partner laying down is responsible for being receptive to the energy and try to feel where the energy is.

Shields and Energy Balls (Partners)
One person puts her shields up, and another creates energy balls and tosses them at the shield. Then, switch.

Don't be disappointed if you don't guess the color of your partners energy ball, or can't correctly guess where your partner is feeding you energy. Practicing is important, but these exercises are meant to be fun. They will help you get attuned to your energy, as well as the energy of your partners. One thing that is really important is - ground at the end of your energy practice. You are exchanging all kinds of energy, so make sure to ground out any energy that isn't yours.


The full moon of April goes by many names- one of those names is "Raven." So, I was doing a little research on the folklore of Ravens throughout time, and stumbled onto a great resource at Druidry.org. You can obviously tell its a Celtic related site, due to all the western European knowledge. :)


Native American

According to Jamie Sams and David Carson, in their excellent book Medicine Cards (which accompanies a beautiful deck of animal cards), Raven's medicine is magic. She is the Great Mystery of the Void.

Black, to Native Americans, is a color of magical power, and only to be feared if misused. Raven symbolizes the void - the mystery of that which is not yet formed. Ravens are symbolic of the Black Hole in Space, which draws in all energy toward itself and releases it in new forms. The iridescent blue and green that can be seen in the glossy black feathers of the raven represents the constant change of forms and shapes that emerge from the vast blackness of the void. In Native American tradition, Raven is the guardian of both ceremonial magic and healing circles. She is also the patron of smoke signals.

Raven's element is air, and she is a messenger spirit, which Native American shamans use to project their magic over great distances.

In many northwestern American Indian traditions, Raven is the Trickster, much like the Norse Loki. Observing ravens in nature, we find that they often steal food from under the noses of other animals, often working in pairs to distract the unfortunate beasts. Anne Cameron has written several northwestern Indian tales (Raven and Snipe, Raven Goes Berrypicking, Raven Returns the Water, and others) with the Raven as Trickster theme.


Ravens are considered a solar symbol in Chinese mythology. The three legged raven lives in the sun, representing the sun's three phases - rising, noon and setting. When the sunlight hits their glossy black feathers just right, they seem to turn to silver.


The Shinto Goddess, Amaterasu is sometimes represented as a giant raven, Yata-Garasu.


Brahma appears as a raven in one of his incarnations. Ravens are also sacred to Shiva and Kali.


In Aborigine mythology, Raven tried to steal fire from seven sisters (the Pleides), and was charred black in the unsuccessful attempt.

Middle East

To Egyptians, ravens represented destruction and malevolence. However, Arabs call raven Abu Aajir - the Father of Omens.


In the Hebrew/Christian tradition ravens were considered unclean, representing impurity, mortification, destruction, deceit, and desolation. Ravens were cursed by Noah for not returning to the ark with news of the receding the flood.

Yet, conversely, the Bible also says that ravens were the protectors of the prophets; they fed Elijah and Paul the Hermit in the wilderness. Also, ravens helped St. Cuthbert and St. Bernard.

In contradictory Christian traditions, ravens represent the solitude of the holy hermits, yet also the souls of wicked priests and witches.


Since ravens can be taught to speak, and have such a complex vocabulary of their own, they are connected symbolically to both wisdom and prophecy. But in Europe, at least from Christian times, ravens have several strikes against them: black is considered a negative color; ravens are carrion eaters; and they have a symbiotic relationship with man's oldest enemy, the wolf. In many western traditions raven represents darkness, destructiveness and evil. They are sometimes associated with deities of evil and of death. Both witches and the Devil were said to be able to take the shape of a raven.


Raven is the messenger of the Sun Gods, both Helios and Apollo. She is also associated with Athene, Hera, Cronos and Aesculapius.

Northern Europe

The pagan Danes and Vikings used the raven banner on their ships, in Odin's honor. These flags, usually sewn by the daughters of great warriors and kings, were tokens of luck on their voyages. Houses where ravens nested were also thought to be lucky.

Odin had two ravens - Huginn (thought) and Muninn (memory) who flew about the world, delivering messages, gathering knowledge and reporting back to him. One of Odin's many titles is Hrafna-Gud, the God of the Ravens. Odin's daughters, the warlike Valkyres, were sometimes said to take the shape of ravens.

In the Elder Edda's cryptic poem, the Grimnismal, a verse refers to Odin's ravens:

Huginn and Muninn, every day
They fly over earthground.
I fear for Huginn,
that he may not return.
But even more, I fear
for the loss of Muninn.

In the Norse shamanic tradition, Odin's ravens represent the powers of necromancy, clairvoyance and telepathy, and they were guides for the dead. This poem expresses a shaman's fear of his loss of magical powers. (Source: The Well of Remembrance by Ralph Metzner, Shambala, Boston, 1994)

Central Europe

On Walpurgisnacht, April 30th, German witches fly to Brocken Mountain in the Harz Mountains for the great witches' Sabbath in the shape of their familiars - ravens and crows.

Western Europe

In Beowulf, an Anglo Saxon poem, is written " . . . craving for carrion, the dark raven shall have its say, and tell the eagle how it fared at the feast, when, competing with the wolf, it laid bare the bones of corpses."

In Shakespeare's Macbeth, Lady Macbeth sees the raven as a herald of misfortune as it "croaks the fatal entrance of Duncan."

In England, tombstones are sometimes called "ravenstones".

Among the Irish Celts, Raven was associated with the Triple Goddess, the Morrigan, who took the shape of Raven over battlefields as Chooser of the Slain. She was a protector of warriors, such as Chuhulian and Fionn MacCual.

Raven is also the totem of the pan-Celtic Sorceress/Goddess Morgan le Fay, who was also called the Queen of Faeries. In some tales, she is Queen of the Dubh Sidhe, or Dark Faeries, who were a race of tricksters who often took the form of ravens.

Irish and Scots Bean Sidhes (Banshees) could take the shape of ravens as they cried above a roof, an omen of death in the household below.

Tha gliocas an ceann an fhitich or Fice ceann na fhitich are Scots Gaelic proverbs meaning "There is wisdom in a raven's head."

"To have a raven's knowledge" is an Irish proverb meaning to have a seer's supernatural powers. Raven is considered one of the oldest and wisest of animals.

Also a bird of wisdom and prophecy, Raven was the totem of the Welsh God, Bran the Blessed, the giant protector of the Britain, the Isle of the Mighty. After the battle with Ireland, Bran was decapitated, and his head became an oracle. Eventually Bran asked to have his head buried in what is now Tower Hill in London to protect Britain from invasion. Bran's Ravens are kept there to this day, as protection against invasion. During World War II, Tower Hill was bombed, and the ravens were lost. Winston Churchill, knowing full well the ancient legends, ordered the immediate replacement of ravens, and they were brought to Tower Hill from Celtic lands - the Welsh hills and Scottish Highlands.

Raven was the favorite bird of the solar deity, Lugh (Irish/Scots), or Lludd (Welsh) the Celtic God of Arts and Crafts. Lugh was said to have two ravens to attend on all the His needs (similar to Odin and his ravens).

Many Celtic tribes and clans descend from animals. An ancient clan called the Brannovices, the Raven Folk, once existed in Britain. To this day, the Glengarry MacDonalds of Scotland have a raven on their heraldic arms, and their war cry is Creagan-an Fhithich - Raven's Rock, a landmark on their ancestral lands.

The Scottish Goddess of winter, The Cailleach, sometimes appears as a raven. A touch from her brings death.

Giving a child his first drink from the skull of a raven will give the child powers of prophecy and wisdom in the Hebrides.

Scottish Highlanders associate ravens with the second sight. An excellent book on the subject is Ravens and Black Rain: The Story of Highland Second Sight by Elizabeth Sutherland (Corgi Books, Great Britain, 1985)

In Cornwall, as in England, King Arthur is said to live on in the form of a raven, and it is unlucky to shoot one.

"Have not your worships read the annals and histories of England, in which are recorded the famous deeds of King Arthur, whom we in our popular Castilian invariably call King Artus, with regard to whom it is an ancient tradition, and commonly received all over that kingdom of Great Britain, that this king did not die, but was changed by magic art into a raven, and that in process of time he is to return to reign and recover his kingdom and scepter; for which reason it cannot be proved that from that time to this any Englishman ever killed a raven?"- Don Quixote by Cervantes

The Welsh Owein had a magical army of ravens.

In Welsh folklore, the raven is also an omen of death. If the raven makes a choking sound, it is a portent of the death rattle. A crying raven on a church steeple will "overlook" the next house where death will occur. A raven could smell death and would hover over the area where the next victim dwelt, including animals. Ravens were heard to "laugh" when someone was about to die. Welsh witches, and the Devil, would transform themselves into ravens.


This section really was great for summarizing the symbolism prevelent in the cultural folklore above.

Raven is a contrary spirit. On the negative side, Raven represents the profane, the devil, evil spirits, the trickster and thief, war and destruction, death and doom, the void.

Yet in many cultures Raven also represents deep magic, the mystery of the unknown, death and transformation, creation, healing, wisdom, protection, and prophecy.

Raven is both the symbol of the sun, and the symbol of a moonless night. She is the birth giving light in the center of our galaxy, and the black hole in the center of the universe, to which we are all traveling to our eventual extinction.

Raven is the fatal touch of the Calleach in winter, the wisdom of Odin, the vessel of prophecy given to a seer, the mighty protector of the Western Isles, and the healing message of an Indian shaman.

Raven is a complex bird, both in nature and in mythology.

Invocation of Raven
by Susa Morgan Black

Morgana of the Dark Moon Night
Onyx bird, bold in flight
Raven, come to us now!

Keeper of the sacred well
Where the faerie spirits dwell
Raven, come to us now!

Guardian of the Blackthorn Tree
Home of the feared Banshee
Raven, come to us now!

Teacher of warriors, and of sex,
spells that heal and spells that hex
Raven, come to us now!

Bean Sidhe by the river bed
Washing shrouds of the newly dead
Raven, come to us now!

Twin birds of memory and thought
Who brought the knowledge Odin sought
Raven, come to us now!

Raven with his bag of tricks
Always getting in a fix
Raven, come to us now!

Stalwart guardian of the Land
The sacred bird of mighty Bran
Raven, come to us now!

Wise One of the Second Sight
Who foretells our human plight
Raven, come to us now!

Raven, Oldest of us All
Watch over us and hear our call
Raven, come to us now!
Evocation of Raven for Healing
by smb
Bird whose magic is revealing
The hallowed mystery of healing

Spring is here... finally.

Last night, I finally felt a little bit inspired. I finally put together my spring altar. I had to put some of my spring things away, because I didn’t want it to look like Spring threw up on my altar. I added my new chalice, and my new wand (from Kentucky). I need a new bottle to hold my water, as my blue one has chipped at the mouth of the bottle. That’s a bummer. I also got my salt dish out of the cupboard, and returned it to its happy rightful place. :)

I also had a chance to meditate last night, and was able to see Brid in a very different way- a way that I might more easily relate to her. Pretty cool, though I wish I was an artist and could sketch Her as she came to me last night.

I’m planning on meditating more often- especially since I have my iPod of twinkleritual music, now. My husband is awesome about leaving me alone for meditation time. Also, I’m trying to trade away my Medieval Scapini tarot deck- it’s just not my thing, and I’d love to play with a new deck.