Full Moonlight Dance

by Karen Beth

Under the full moon light we dance,

Spirits dance, we dance,

Joining hands we dance,

Joining souls rejoice.

Album Cover - click to play clip of Full Moonlight Dance
play clip of Full Moonlight Dance

Recording of 5/4 arrangement by Susan Robbins on the Libana CD/album A Circle is Cast available at the Libana home page


Our Altar

Example of a Typical Altar Arrangement

A Kindlers altar is primarily a place around which to gather, and since every gathering is a bit different, the altar will often have differences. Nothing on the altar is necessary or required. In fact, the act of coming together and setting the intent that the ground around which we gather is our "altar" we believe makes it so.

Still we believe that having particular ritual tools and symbols, in a particular arrangement on a central altar can help focus the group. The pattern of lights, textures and smells set the mundane-chatter-mind at ease and attract the inner-spirit-child. "Oh, I recognize this - it's time to come out and be with my friends and sing, dance, play and learn together in the realm of Spirit."

Below is one of our more scaled down/functional altars making it easier to see what goes where and why:

Kindlers Typical Altar Setup Ritual Center of Altar - Spirit Ritual South of Altar - Fire Ritual East of Altar - Water Ritual West of Altar - Air Ritual North of Altar - Earth

Ritual West - Air

We begin with the westward direction of the altar and immediately begin with controversy - which is fitting for the direction that brings us our weather. Many pagans of European-influenced traditions will insist that West equates with Water and East with Air, because for many Europeans the largest body of water was in the West and the weather-bringing Winds originated from the East. The East was also, for centuries, the primary source of influxes of trade, cross-cultural contact and sociopolitical change/upheaval in the form of bands of Eastern invaders.

Kindlers lives on the East Coast of the US in the DC region. In our modern world culture, trade and change can come from almost any direction, but we do notice that the largest body of water is to the East and most of our weather blows in from the West. So that is where we have placed those elements on our altar.

At West you might typically find the following:

  • Censing/smudging needs - we tend to use a plain open censor filled with sand and charcoal for burning bulk incense or joss sticks, but you might also find sweetgrass braids, a smudgepot or thurible.
  • Fan - both symbolic of Air and useful for smudging.
  • Bell indicating the first vibration of Creation, and the carrying of sound through the Air.
  • Flint/striker to indicate the spark of In-spiration (may also be at South).
  • An Athame or double-edged knife ( perhaps even a sword ). The double edged blade represents the ability of the Sacred Intent and In-spiration to cut through any matter. Since this has overlapping connotations with Fire as well, you will most likely see the athame starting in the West and crossing into the the South as well. Because it cuts to the heart of the matter, it's often very close also to the Center.

The cycles West and Air correspond with are dusk, Autumn equinox, harvest, waning moon/third quarter, ebb tide, one's golden years. West and Air also correspond with communications, travel, weather, the written and spoken word, trade, technology, the breath of inspiration, analytical science or logic, left-brain thinking, reason and intellect, the mind.

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Ritual South - Fire

At South you might typically find:

  • A lamp, candle or other fire source.
  • A representation of the Sun.
  • Matches, flint, striker.
  • Athame (see West ).
  • Wand. The wand requires some consideration. The Wand like the Athame can cut the air and point in the direction of one's intent, so it could be thought to live in the West with Air. Wands are often made of wood, crystal or metal so could be placed in the North with Earth. We tend to put the Wand at the South. Wands can either fuel the Fire, grow towards the Sun or point the way, (like the Lamp) through the constantly changing mundane world to the flame of Spirit.

    We tend to set the Wand across the Athame so they are conjoined, just as Fire and Air are joined in the process of censing, the union of which serves as a means of purification and/or consecration.

The cycles South and Fire correspond with are noon, Summer solstice, flowering season, full moon, high tide, parenthood and/or working life. South and Fire also correspond with intent, passion, choice, knowing one's truth, the spark of one's inner flame and call to Spirit, the will.

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Ritual East - Water

At East you might typically find:

  • Chalice, drinking horn or other drinking vessel
  • Pitcher or Ewer, or even a simple bowl or any other vessel for water
  • Cauldron
  • Shells or other symbols of Water
  • Ritual drink and libation bowl
  • Divinatory or scrying tools

The cycles East and Water correspond with are dawn, Spring equinox, growing season, waxing moon/first quarter, neap tide, late childhood as it moves into young adulthood. East and Water also correspond with holism, pattern recognition, gestalt, the sum-greater-than-the-parts, feelings, the subconscious/unconscious, the artistic, right-brain thinking, instinct, intuition, the emotions.

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Ritual North - Earth

At North you might typically find:

  • Salt cellar or some other container of salt (may also be at East)
  • Container of flour/meal, sand, peat, or earth
  • Candle snuffer
  • Flowers, crystals or other treasures from the Earth
  • Mortar and pestle or other implement for rendering herbs (may also be at East)
  • Boleen, curfane, white handled knife, or other practical implement often used for snipping, cutting herbs and so forth
  • Ritual food, cookies, fruit and so on
  • Brighid's crosses, statuary, amulets, pentacle/pentagram
  • Scourge
  • Drums and noisemakers

The cycles North and Earth correspond with are midnight, Winter Solstice, fallow season, new moon, low tide, birth/Wiccaning and/or death/Croning. North and Earth also correspond with generation and creativity, nurturance, rest, respite, rejuvenation, grounding, protection, sustenance, support, solidity, manifestation, the body.

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Ritual Center - The All/the One/Spirit

At the Center you might find the following:

  • God and Goddess candles
  • Unity candle representing the One, the All, Spirit
  • Statuary/icons/objects representing the God/Goddess/Spirit
  • Chain, braid or cords; lemniscate, Moebius, spiral or yin/yang

The Center can be thought of as the union of the opposites in the cycle. It can be thought of as the entirety of the cycle - of all cycles. Yet it is that which is beyond or before any cycle as well. The Mystery which finite words or reasoning just cannot capture.

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Hey - Why Counterclockwise instead of Clockwise?

Most pagans from most traditions will start with the East because that's where the sun rises and move clockwise or deosil 'round the circle to the North - always in the apparent direction of the Sun looking outward from the vantage point of a person standing on the Earth. Fair enough, we all have a natural experience of this apparent Sun-motion (at least in the Northern hemisphere).

But we Kindlers believe it's also important, especially when trying to contact the connection to Spirit that exists within all of us, to look inward. We believe our society already does enough outward looking and seek to balance that. So, in our Circles, we concentrate on the Earth-motion and therefore start with the West and move counterclockwise or widdershins 'round the circle to North, finally spiralling inward to Center.

Many pagans might consider this backwards or rather as a form of banishing or sending away these energies - our intent is that we are in-voking all the energies of the magickal world to Center so that we may contact Spirit, which after all not only lives outside of us and all around us, but within us all.

How to join or find out more about us

We invite others in the DC metro area interested in our path to join us and find out if this is a direction for you to explore. If you are interested in learning more about us or have questions about the ideas we are exploring, please contact us.

All genuine seekers are welcome. If this is not what you are seeking, then please seek elsewhere and blessings be with you.