Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Moving From the Season of the Dead

Today marks the full moon of the Death Moon, but it is also the middle of the first week of Advent, the season of preparing for Christmas. I have been feeling this tension of energies this week and have been reveling in it.

The Death Moon is the first moon of the year and as such it is the time of cycle change. It is a time to work on handling transitions and changes in our lives. It is a time to meditate on the fact that stagnation is crippling and stifling, only through change do we stay dynamic and alive. We have just celebrated Halloween and the lives and ghosts of our Beloved Dead are still forefront in our minds. It is the time of bare, skeleton trees, giant moons on frosty nights and dry leaves scraping and scuttling along the pavement. It's a time of stillness before the wheel starts creaking into motion again.
photo by mikeropology

I am decorating and advent creche again this year but with a little change from last year. It is traditional for Waldorf schools and families to decorate their nature tables and light their advent wreaths in a very specific order. The first week of advent is dedicated to the realm of the earth, stones, crystals and bones. The second week is dedicated to the realm of plants, the third to the realm of animals and finally the fourth week is dedicated to the realm of human beings. The nature table or creche is decorated with figures that represent these realms and verses are read at the lighting of the candles on the advent wreath that speak to these realms. I find it a very powerful visual representation of the movement, as Ann Druitt's book All Year Round says, out of "a season of remembrance for the dead, into a time of preparation for that which is to be born.”

This year I was out of town celebrating Thanksgiving with my friends and came home on Sunday, full of love and gratitutde, to decorate my creche. I cleared my altar of the Halloween decorations (photos of my grandfather, deceased friend and childhood dog, figures of owls, salmon, ammonites, a sage smudge, candles, etc.) and set it up with my creche background. I set up four tall candles and added a number of shells, stones and crystals to the table. Every night this week when I come home I see that stark, bare creche. It is clearly waiting, just like we are waiting, for the rebirth of the light in just a few short weeks.

The first light of Advent is the light of stone–.
Stones that live in crystals, seashells, and bones.
The second light of Advent is the light of plants–
Plants that reach up to the sun and in the breezes dance.
The third light of Advent is the light of beasts–
All await the birth, from the greatest and in least.
The fourth light of Advent is the light of humankind–
The light of hope that we may learn to love and understand.
-attributed to Rudolph Steiner

Are you feeling the energies of the Death Moon or the Advent season this week? Or are you feeling both? How are you marking the turning from the season of the dead into the season of that which will be born? Do you celebrate Advent? Have you had to turn on the heater yet? :)

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