A sigh whispers around the watching people, faces turned towards the Full Moon as the dark edge of the Earth’s shadow starts to flow across it. With care, the small fire at the centre of the clearing is smothered, and in the darkness the group falls silent in anticipation.
The half-light and half-dark Moon heralds the arrival of the procession.
From between the trees and out of the darkness a small group of women slowly walk into the clearing, led by an old crone wearing a bright red cloak and leaning heavily on a staff. Each of the women wears a black cloak and a veil covering her face. The procession pauses and turns to look upwards, and the white hair of the representative of the Old One reflects the disappearing moonlight.
At the moment when its face is covered in darkness, the Moon starts to glow red with the colour of blood. In reverence, the people sit so that they may feel grounded in the Earth. The Old One and her attendants move gracefully amongst the people, sharing small clay cups filled with a richly spiced red wine. Each cup is a blessing of the spirit of life from the Old One and is given by the women who hold her energies in their menstrual phase. Usually withdrawn from the world at the time of the Full Moon, these Red Moon women – menstrual women – step back into the world at this sacred time as the Old One’s blood fills the Full Moon. For a moment the Old One’s power ventures from her dark cave out into the world.
The Red Moon women sit next to the Old One, and from the forest the Crone women emerge – the long-lived elders who radiate the power of the Sacred Feminine. They too sit by the Old One, a sea of dark cloaks around a single red centre. The women start to softly hum.
A soft sliver of moonlight starts to reappear, and the people join in the humming, the sound moving in waves and washing gently over everyone. When the Moon is once again half-light and half-dark, the Old One, helped by her attendants, stands.
From the group of people, a woman also stands. She is heavily pregnant, her long hair braided with flowers. She walks to the fire and uncovers a pot that holds glowing charcoal. With the help of two young girls she lights the fire, and the flames crackle and their light dances over the faces of the watchers. The Mother then offers the Old One a large, round loaf of bread made from a rich dough filled with dried fruits and nuts and sweetened with honey. The Old One places her hand over the bread in blessing and breaks off a piece to eat. The Mother divides the loaf, and with her young attendants carries the pieces to everyone around the fire. The bread is the richness and the abundance of the physical world that wraps the spirit. Each spirit is part of the one spirit of the Universe, and each body is part of the single physical body that wraps the universal spirit.
The Old One bows to the Mother and then turns her back. With the Moon nearly full, the Old One, the Red Moon women, and the Crones leave the fire and return to the darkness. With the blood blessing running through them, the people start to sing and dance and welcome the beauty, joy, and sensuality of life!