On the second New Moon past Winter Solstice, the women in red gather at Amy’s house, turning it into the Red Temple for a day. A smaller, more intimate circle by design this year, our group was grounded and focused on the spiritual work that awaited.
Creating the Red Temple
This New Moon is the original pre-wall-calendar date for Imbolc, an old Europe festival of returning light, plus Celtic celebrations of the goddess Bridgit that got co-opted into Candelmas, a Catholic holy day.
We gathered to celebrate the New Moon in Aquarius, which falls halfway between Winter Solstice and Spring Equinox. This mid-winter lunar moment sets the Chinese New Year.
The Moon globe was lit and ready, glowing amid a sea of red.
The dancing cat with pink pussy hat (a veteran of a few women’s marches) awaited the women.
The infamous Vagina Hall was also ready and lovingly draped in red by Kristi.
Terry realized something crucial was missing from the vulva and grabbed a red napkin. Voila! A clitoris.
It’s very important to have a dragon present for the Chinese New Year.
The women brought food in various tones of red.
The red pepper hummus had a heart!
Forging the Bonds of Sisterhood
We were grandly honored with the presence of goddessmother Jo Wharton who brought divine feminine awareness to Dallas through classes, circles and retreats. Everyone wanted to sit with her, including her youngest mentee Collette.
Jo’s presence attracted Bette, center, another grand dame who’s known for gathering people into ceremony.
So many women in red!
Enjoying food and great conversation.
Old friends gathered.
Stories were shared.
Jeanne was looking stylish as usual.
Ella was stylin’, too.
Red women included mother-daughter pairs (Kira and Kristi ) and a few female dogs. This one’s Chloe.
The house queen Mabel was a bit anxious about the crowd, but happy to see old friends.
The women in red grabbed the drum or percussion tool of their choice and began to circle up.
Goddessmother Jo took her place of honor.
Glee as the ceremony part of the afternoon begins.
Kristi (with drum) grounded us with yogic breathing.
Amy gave a rap on honoring the darkness of the New Moon and the interplay of light and dark in the yan-yang symbol.
We performed the Our Mother embodied prayer, or tried to as Amy kept forgetting the words.
The Vagina Hall awaited our procession and imminent transformation.
Down the hall and out into the bright New Moon afternoon.
Smudging for Clarity
We gathered outside around the sacred hibachi. Amy shared the properties of the herbal smudge to be used, a Lunar Purification blend based on mugwort and myrrh with sandalwood, buchu (aka the werewolf herb), and more.
On to the hot coal the herbs went!
Martha was an enthusiastic — and barefoot — smudger!
She’s gonna smudge that negativity right outta her hair!
Dodi contemplated the smoke.
Thorough smudging is the key.
Terry paused before entering the smoke.
Melanie clears the way for her many travels.
Joyce smudged the heart chakra.
Susannah cleared her heart as well
Carol smudged her feet so that every step may be a prayer to the Earth,.
We even “smudge the goods” as Collette demonstrated.
Using the sound of percussion to aid the smoke in moving negative energy out.
All of it accompanied with vigorous songs to the divine feminine.
Around the circle in song.
Sending Up Smoke Prayers
Amy elucidates on the Manifestation blend, a mix of seeds and resins that hold energy. This and the Lunar Purification blend were made in Amy’s kitchen with help with Dodi and Kristi, created with prayerful intent for this ceremony. Each woman held a portion in their hand, fusing it with their intent for the upcoming year.
Collette considered her dreams.
Martha, aiming for new horizons.
Kathy, grateful for her gifts and radiant about her future.
Ella, possibly the only person ever to do smoke prayers wearing elbow-length gloves.
Suzanna accompanied herself on drum as she smudged.
Kristi held forth her dreams for a spiritual pilgrimage to India.
Dodi went wordless and deep with her dreams.
Stephanie called for clarity.
During the smoke prayers, the clouds dispersed, allowing the transcendent sunlight, fused with the energy of the New Moon wrapped in its coronal rays, to bless us.
Jeanne, connecting with the Earth, connecting with herself.
The afternoon of ceremonial ecstasy eased down each woman blessed her circle neighbor with holy water from the sacred well of Bridgit, all the way from Ireland courtesy of Jo. After that we formed two lines, raised arms and grasped hands to create a birth canal. One woman passed through the canal at a time to shouts of encouragement and blessing from the women.
In conclusion, we attached colorful ties to the Prayer Tree whose branches are festooned with years of prayerful intent.