I could hardly believe my eyes when I turned over the card I had chosen as the focus for this article: Moon 1, Moon of Initiation! For those unfamiliar with, or new, to the Avalonian Cycle of Revealing, Moon One marks the start of our yearly Cycle which begins on Calan Gaef. Perfect timing!
I confess that I actually considered drawing a second card because I thought, “Oh, no one is going to believe I randomly chose this card!” But instead, I reached for my Mythic Moons of Avalon book and, as if Goddess knew I needed a reminder that She is always guiding us, the book fell open to–you guessed it—Moon One, Moon of Initiation. Who am I to second-guess The Lady?
SOA tradition teaches that the Moon of Initiation is a time of “starting a new Cycle, gathering resources, assessing situations, seeking solutions, acknowledging personal power, and honoring inner wisdom.” (p. 50, The Avalonian Oracle). Still, I made an effort to see the card as if for the first time; no preconceived ideas. I asked, “What is that crone doing all alone in that vast field with that sickle in her hand? What brought her there? Why doesn’t she just allow the field to naturally succumb to the turning of the seasons?” What work she has ahead of her!
The crone is, of course, Ceridwen, and from her story, we know that she has two children. One child, a daughter, Creirwy, is light and beautiful to behold. The other, a son, dark and ugly in the eyes of the world. Regardless of her son’s physical appearance, Ceridwen desires to help him find acceptance in a world that She knows is deeply prejudiced against physical malformation. To compensate for Her son’s outward appearance, She determines to concoct a brew that will bestow wisdom and the gift of prophecy upon him.
To help her son, Ceridwen must gather herbs to make this powerful, transformative, life-altering brew. (Ah yes. This is why we find her standing with her sickle in a field of Mugwort in our card!) See how vast the field is. This is not an easy task, but love for Her son requires it; and the work is Hers alone to accomplish.
While rereading Ceridwen’s story, it occurred to me that Her children could represent the dual nature of Ceridwen Herself–of ourselves: the Light and the Dark. In our Avalonian Tradition, we see ourselves as a reflection of the Goddess. Her stories become “our” stories. Might we then interpret Her daughter, Creirwy, whose name means “Jewel”, as a symbol of Sovereignty; and Her son, Afagddu, “Utter Darkness”, as a symbol of Shadow? Don’t we all possess these dual natures to some greater or lesser extent? I contemplated what Ceridwen, in the Moon of Initiation card, could share with us about the work of this Moon, particularly regarding how we assess situations and seek solutions, all while delicately navigating the shadow.
When we recollect that in our Avalonian Tradition we seek to see the Goddess stories as our stories, then it is also true that we can emulate them. Ceridwen reminds us to look upon those parts of ourselves that we deem dark and ugly, not with shame, but as She did with Her son, with love. And then She put that love into action. She does not seek, however, to eradicate his deformity (as we do not seek to eradicate our shadow), but instead sought to bestow gifts–especially the gift of wisdom–to help him mine his Utter Darkness for the treasures hidden within.
It is also of interest that Ceridwen chose to create a potion that would contribute to Her son’s wholeness, and help him to evolve, rather than create a potion to correct his physical appearance. Certainly she could have accomplished that if she desired! With her decision, She teaches us that we do not have to destroy a part of ourselves in order to grow. Instead, we must nurture and love those parts.
Alas, even a goddess’s plans can go awry, and as we learn, Ceridwen’s precious brew is not consumed by Her son as intended. Perhaps this is why Utter Darkness remains as our shadow, forever to be part of our dual nature, forever to be mined for the treasures it hides and the growth it offers.
I hope you will consider pondering this powerful card yourself, and sharing your own thoughts and interpretations. May Calan Gaeaf and the Moon of Initiation mark the beginning of a Cycle filled with growth and self- love!
Elisa – Seer Matron