When my doula clients would share with me that the pregnancy they were going through was not like the previous one, I often gently reminded them that they weren’t the same women anymore. Their bodies were starting from a different baseline. They were older. They carried the history and experience of any previous pregnancies in their bodies now. They carried the experience of motherhood. Perhaps they practiced different self-care or a different spirituality, ate differently, moved their bodies more or less often, lived some place new. All of those factors could add up to a completely different baseline when the current babies were conceived. And the babies were all different too — different, unique combinations of miraculous genes, different fingerprints forming, different minds, spirits, & personalities coming into being. So, of course, this experience was different than the last. It was its own unique ritual beginning from a new and unique place.
When an Avalonian woman comes before the full moon every month and once again commits to the work of a lunar cycle, every Moon is different, too. Every moon is different because we are different. Every moon is different because She is different. It is its own unique ritual.
Each moon has its own energy — occurring within a cosmological framework, but still unique from last year’s full moon in Pisces, for example. Other alignments are different. The earth’s relationship to the moon is always changing, the lunar elliptical orbit creating unique cycles as the synodic and anomalistic cycles dance and weave within and through each other. Layer over that, the analemma, the sun’s relative position or path in our planet’s sky and one already has an array of exponential variations. Weather patterns, seasonal shifts, other planetary movements, isostatic lift, tectonic movement, changes in the geographic location of where a woman chooses to engage her lunar ritual work, etc. These all combine to create a unique set of circumstances that define the energetic weave of every fresh lunar cycle at the moment we engage it.
We are also different. The work we’ve done in last lunar cycle’s quest for our Sovereignty is now within us — the challenges faced, the choices made, the blessings, the losses, the joy, the grief, the elation, the exhaustion, the measure of our success or failure to come just that much further into our own. And the work is never wasted. Even when we feel we’ve missed the mark, we’ve learned and grown in that process.
The black-cloaked Avalonian woman, illuminated only by the light of a unique moon, who brings herself before the Ladies of the Isle in ritual space is not the same woman she was just one lunar cycle ago. The miraculous gift in this is that we can always begin again. Somewhere out there in the vast stretches of the cosmos, one cycle is ending and another is beginning. We always have the choice to engage once again.
In the Avalonian Tradition, this is Rhiannon’s time — the Sovereign Lady of the Otherworld who rode out across the Land on Her White Mare to take charge of Her own destiny. With equal parts humor and devotion, this is also the time at which I occasionally quip, “Ride or be ridden.”
Change is coming. Change is always coming. The Earth spins, Her plates shifting beneath us, Her waters churning, storms brewing one moment, mountain tops falling away the next. The Moon dances around the Earth, coming closer in a breath, only to spin away the next. The Sun rises into the Earth’s sky and sinks into darkness. Creating a new slant of light over and over and over again.
Change is a way of life for all of creation. Cycles keep cycling whether or not we will it.
We keep cycling, too. We are not apart from creation. We are a part of creation and as such, we are subject to the cycles in motion around and within us. Every moon, every motion, every breath is different. Some days we are too tired, too worn down, too lost to hold onto that. But others… Oh, those other days, when we can hold it? When we can embrace it, feel the power of it and weave it into the fabric of our lives? Those days when our bones sing out in celebration of this different woman, this different moon, this different breath of Cycle? When we can raise up those unique moments and move in concert with the cycles around us?
Those are the days we stand strong in our Sovereignty, not in resistance to change, but in sacred partnership with it.
Stasis is cosmologically impossible. Every moon is different. And in the Quest for Sovereignty there is no finish line.
So, choose. Know the work of that Quest is never wasted and choose.
Ride. Or be ridden.
Kate M. Brunner is a writer, healer, ritualist, & member of The Sisterhood of Avalon. She is also a current resident of Heartwood Cohousing in Colorado & the Children’s Services Manager at Pine River Library. Kate hosts seasonal women’s gatherings, labyrinth rituals, and workshops on an assortment of women’s spirituality and community herbalism topics. During 2017, she will present at the SOA’s annual online conference, AvaCon, & at the second annual Ninefold Festival in Ithaca, NY this autumn. Kate is a contributing writer at One World Herbal Community and is also published in Flower Face: A Devotional Anthology in Honor of Blodeuwedd and The Goddess in America: The Divine Feminine in Cultural Context.