This Friday, December 28, will be the final full moon of the year: the Full Cold Moon, or Long Night’s Moon, as named in native tradition. As has become tradition for me, I will be walking a labyrinth under the full moon: to reflect upon the good this year has brought, and to release what has been painful or unfulfilled.
Walking the labyrinth regularly and intentionally throughout the year has become an important part of my spiritual life, and never more important than at the turning of year. The singular, circling path makes tangible the many cyclical ways our lives run: the cycle of seasons, the round of months and moons that return regularly–always the same, always different. The path I will walk on Friday is the same path I have walked in months past–and yet because my heart is full of new questions and experiences, it will somehow be a brand new path.
A year ago, I returned home from the Full Cold Moon labyrinth with a poem circling in my head. I had embarked the previous December on an ambitious and terrifying attempt at changing my health and life for the better–and indeed, the year had seen me through many, many changes. I walked that path at the end of 2011 in absolute wonder and gratitude for the encouragement and love of my family, and for the strength to change that seemed to have come from somewhere–from some higher or deeper source than my puny, fearful spirit.
The changes have continued into 2012, and I look back upon the year with the same gratitude.
For those whose lives have changed dramatically–for those who yearn for but see no hope of change–for all those who face the turning of the year with dread, or with hope, I offer it here again.
Year’s End Moon
I saw the circle of this passing year reflected tonight,
bright-face, in the Long Night Moon–
saw its meandering steps traced in that sacred path, lined
in stone and light trembling through endless turnings, passages–
saw at each turning the choice–the fear–the dark corridor
where failure’s familiar chuckling voice waited in welcome.
But my feet know a different dance at the turning of this year.
Sister Moon witnessed my steps tonight: at first hesitant,
then stronger as memories carried me, surer as I moved
from strength to strength, smiling up into her brilliant light.
I am, and am not, she who stepped into the circle a year ago–
a new song sings me now into the dance, under the full cold moon.
Friends, where has this passing year taken you? Where will the path in the turning of the year lead you?