Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Chapter 14 - 1st Full Moon

As Nola drove to Owen's for their first Full Moon she thought how grateful she was that, even before she knew Owen existed, she had planned to be off every Friday in December and be on vacation from December 19th until January 7th. She had felt from the beginning that Owen would want active teaching. It seemed that the only thing that worked for him was having her there in person. He always did his homework but he wanted face to face. Email didn't seem to work for him. Sometimes she teased him that he was working her harder than her corporate job. She usually did an astrological chart on her students because she had found it surprisingly helpful. Owen was a Taurus with an Aquarius Moon and Scorpio rising. His need for one on one was, in her experience, true for most Earth signs. But his facile mind was influenced by his Aquarian Moon. He loved to learn and philosophize. His charm, intensity and forthright fun was all Sagittarius.

It had only been 2 days since she had been at Owen's for the Solstice. One day if you counted the fact that she rarely left his house before 1AM. Now she was headed back for the Full Moon. Meana smiled and then Nola started musing as she drove. She remembered early in her relationship with James when she thought that it was natural for people in love to want to do things together. But James often seemed put upon when she asked if he wanted to go to a movie or a coffee house or well anywhere really. There was a turning point right after they got married when he said that her problem was that she wanted him to be everything and that she needed to find her own interests. It had hurt, mostly because it wasn't true. She was and always had been independent in thought and action. She could do things by herself or with others but she wanted to experience her life with James. Wasn't that the point of being married? But she was nothing if not a survivor and that comment had eventually led to her attending pagan classes and finding her first pagan teacher.

Over time she stopped worrying about the fact that James didn't attend the few and far between work social functions. She always went alone and over time had actually come to prefer it. She stopped worrying about the fact that James seemed uncomfortable at her family functions and focused on bonding with his family at their family gatherings. The fact that James preferred not to go to her family functions really stopped mattering once they had Jamie. As long as she brought Jamie her family was happy. They would ask about James but a happy child is a great diversion. When Jamie was little and needed more mom time, she had spent her time learning via eMail and only occasionally traveling to be with other Streghe. James preference was to stay home. He loved making sure that his family sat down to dinner every night. He was a committed dad. His schedule made it easy for him to get Jamie back and forth from school. The rest of his life revolved around his art: music and acting.

She had figured out the pattern associated with any of James' new artistic endeavors. There was the learning the script or score period. This was a time of intense focus and study. James worked to become the part or the music and forgot about everything else, except, she smiled, cooking dinner. Then there was the regimen of rehearsals. This often meant that they would tag team at the back door or right after dinner. Her job meant she had to be at work around 7AM and sometimes she didn't get home until after 5PM or 6PM. Rehearsals started around 7PM and who knew when they would end. Next was the intense pre-show week when everything had to come together. She, and now Jamie, had learned to walk lightly and to just listen when he vented or stressed. Then there was the glory period of performances. James never failed to do an amazing job. The whole process ended with the week of vegetation and recovery.

James' focus on his own endeavors and preference to stay home had made it easier focus on her own interests, whether that was being a mom, or her pagan studies, or teaching classes at a local pagan store PreKatrina or creating a PostKatrina neighborhood organization with Board Meetings every Wednesday for practically 2 years and to attending endless 'planning sessions' sponsored by the New Orleans City Council or the Greater New Orleans Foundation or the City Planning Commission. PreKatrina if someone asked her if she would become a neighborhood activist, she would have thought they were crazy. But Katrina changed everything and almost everybody. PostKatrina she had opened her home for many of the neighborhood meetings. She could tell that her, now 12 year old, daughter had learned what it meant to truly participate in civic society. Since the meetings were often at her home she never had to worry about leaving Jamie home alone when James was in rehearsal. She smiled thinking that how much fun that she and Jamie had together whether they stayed at home or went to movies or out to a girl’s lunch or anywhere really. Sometimes it bothered James that Jamie didn't seem to be as open with him, despite the fact, or perhaps because, he was home more often they spent more time together. Nola knew that much of it was because so often James didn't realize that he was so busy in his own head that he didn't seem like he wasn't really there. But she didn't worry about it because she knew her daughter loved her dad. And that dad loved daughter.

She came out of her reverie as she reached Owen's driveway. She opened the gate and drove in and there was Owen waiting in the driveway. Because she had left her altar set up at Owen's, all she had were the flowers for the altar. Owen was in the driveway by the time he opened her door and walked her in. He hated it when she left and was thrilled to have her back so soon. He was actually hoping that he would be able to talk her into coming back on their regular Thursday. But he knew she had company and might make him wait an interminable 10 days before she would return.

After only 4 meetings, it had already become habit for them to start in the kitchen with a glass of wine. Tonight is was Brunello di Montalcino. Nola let out a small gasp when she saw the bottle. Owen just smiled. He had chosen the wine intentionally hoping for this reaction. Nola was marvelously easy to please.
"Is that really Brunello di Montalcino?" She said it almost with awe.
"I love the Sangiovese grape. I've heard of this wine but I've never had it."
"Well then tonight is your lucky night."
He had opened it when she called to let him know she was on her way. So he poured her a glass, refreshed his own and then sat back to watch.
She smiled as he poured, watching the dark red no deep purple liquid flow into the glass. He handed her the glass and she swirled it and then took a deep breath"
"Hmmmmm, Fruity, like berries." Then she took a sip, eyes closes as usual so she could focus on the flavor. When she opened them she said, "Oh my god, Owen that is heaven. Rich, cherries and raspberries with a hint of mint. I am ruined for other red wines."
"OK, then we can stop experimenting and just drink this then?"
"You tease. Of course not. Let's keep experimenting. This is such a fun addition to lessons." Then she crossed over to him and planted a kiss right on his lips. "Thank you Owen. Thank you very much."
He was pleasantly surprised but not enough that his arm didn't go around her waist and hold her there. He kissed her back and said, "You're welcome, it seems that tonight is my lucky night." If Grigori do back flips Settrano did one and Meana smiled.
Nola actually blushed. Thinking to herself that it was amazing it was still possible for her to blush at her age. She put her hand on his chest, thinking 'focus on the ritual' and then said, "I'm going to change into my robe. Then I'd like to step outside into the Moonlight before we start the ritual. Did your robe arrive?"
He managed to refocus even with her hand on his chest and said, "Yes. It's here. So I should change too I guess. Then I can meet you in the back yard."

Her robe was folded into the top of her ritual box so she went back to the living room to get it and Owen went upstairs. She changed quickly. Went back to the living room and took the items necessary to set the altar out of the box and placed them on the floor. She wanted to take another opportunity to let Owen watch circle casting from scratch. She pulled out the small black binder with the ritual. Then she went back to the kitchen. Picked up her wine glass and stepped out of the back door and into the moonlight. She shared a toast with the moonlight and took a few minutes to just stand bask in the silver blue glow.

When Owen got to the back door she seemed to be in the middle of a prayer. Her hands were raised, but then she lowered them to her forehead and then her chest and finally her hips and then she opened her arms wide again. She seemed to be finished so he stepped out. She turned to him and held out her hand. He walked to her. She took his hand and then tucked her arm around his. "Isn't it beautiful?"
And it was so he said, "Yes, it is." Then "What were you doing right before I came out?"
"The Rite of Union." and she paused before she said, "Here watch."
Then she started the motions all over again saying:

"Hail and Adoration to you O Source of my Enlightenment.
I pray thee impart to me thy illumination.
Enlighten my mind that I may see more clearly all things in which I endeavor.
Illuminate my soul, imparting thy essence of purity.
I reveal my inner self to thee
and ask that all be cleansed and purified from within.

It is essentially a Streghe's Lord's, or should I say Lady's Prayer. I start with my hands raised up, which isn't traditional but an addition I learned from my teacher that I think is most appropriate. It opens me up and acknowledges the source. Then I move into the traditional part of the gesture which puts the triangle of manifestation over your forehead. Here you do it. Go ahead make this triangle shape with your hands."
And he mirrored the shape she made with her hand and put it over his forehead.
"Then you move the triangle down over your solar plexus. Then you move it down over your pubic region or root chakra. Then I open the triangle and spread my hands. Shall we do it again together?"
"But I don't know the words."
"Don't worry. I do. You'll learn them."
"Hail and Adoration to you O Source of my Enlightenment.
I pray thee impart to me thy illumination.
Enlighten my mind that I may see more clearly all things in which I endeavor.
Illuminate my soul, imparting thy essence of purity.
I reveal my inner self to thee and ask that all be cleansed and purified from within."
And he was surprised at how calm and focused and open this left him. She waited before she turned to him and said. "Let's do it one more time, to help you learn and remember."
She flowed through the movement and repeated the words slowly to allow their meaning to sink in again. When she was finished she turned to him and said, "Well shall we start the ritual?"
"I don't know, that was pretty powerful in itself."
"Yes, it certainly is. But we're here and dressed, your new robe fits you quite nicely by the way, and it is wonderful to have someone with whom to share a full moon ritual. Shall we?"
And they hooked arms, dropped their wine glasses in the kitchen and went into the living room.

Nola cast the circle and did all the parts of the ritual. She explained the various parts, including why the Veglia she used was a slightly updated version of the one in the book. She did a short meditation using a generic description of a peaceful, happy place in nature allowing each of them to go where they where their minds took them and explained that the meditation allowed the energies and the lessons from the astral to flow into them with the Full Moon's energy. It was a Full Moon teaching session ritual. She allowed and encouraged Owen to ask questions before she took down the circle. She wanted to make sure that he understood what to expect, how the movement around the circle and the altar worked. All too often rituals could be chaotic with planning and execution and individual energies and anxieties getting in the way. She explained to him how she liked to do something change her focus from work or the mundane world, often a shower was a part of her preparation and that the Rite of Union in the moonlight was actually her last step. Her hope was that next time they did the Full Moon the ritual could flow smoothly and their energies could be aligned. A Full Moon Ritual should leave the participants reenergized but calm and better aligned with themselves and the universe.

Owen couldn't help but agree and look forward to the next one.

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