I went to a full moon ritual last week. The moon was yellow and low and large.
We met in the parking lot of a city park then trekked into the woods a little ways to a favored grove of trees. The light was dim within the circle of trees and very soon turned dark. The evening's high priestess spoke to us about the moon in Pisces and the collective unconscious, within and without us.
She led us through a meditation - approaching a body of water, observing the moonlight on it, entering it, receiving a message from the fishes, surfacing.
Imagining myself plunging into cold ocean, in the dark, reaching deeper to meet the fishes, lungs clenched and burning, blood flashed cold, skin grated and bruised against rocks - it occurred to me how much work just reaching the fishes would be. Was there ever, is there now & nearby, a spiritual path that uses activities like that to cultivate spiritual, mental, and emotional strength? You hear about it in movies. Is it real? Can I craft something like that for myself? Is there a spiritual director who might use that approach? Where are the challenges that strengthen, sharpen, open, make tender, render perseverence, mercy, compassion, hope?
I never want to go to these goofy rituals. They feel skimming and superficial. But they keep me connected at all. They bring me back to the newspaper on the floor (before I piddle all over the house) and give me a place to start.
The fishes swam past.
[thanks to Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird for the puppy on the newspaper image. :) ]