October Full Moon: Our Stories, Our Selves
On Thursday, October 5th, we begin the month with the Full Moon, known in October as the Blood Moon. This Moon is also called the Hunter’s Moon and the Shedding Moon. (This year it is also technically the Harvest Moon, as it falls closest to the Autumn Equinox that happened last month on the 22nd.) The Sun is in Libra, the month is five days old; it’s time to begin with gratitude for apples, gratitude for falling leaves, for goofy Halloween movies, for old friends and new ones. Appreciation for making it through these nine months of the year so far, of sticking to some things and leaving behind others, and remembering to drink water and take deep breaths, and the appreciation that you’ve shown yourself. You love yourself by releasing the grip of perfection and criticism. Speaking to yourself a bit more sweetly, or lavishing praise on yourself for doing the dishes or smiling at a stranger, or stepping into your power more, or taking naps more, or standing in the moonlight more. Or if you haven’t yet done any of these this is a reminder that we’ve got a Full Moon today, and if nothing else, you can stand under her reflected light for five minutes, put your crystals out, take a bath, write in your journal, smile to yourself, start where you are, talk to your cat, or your plants or your face in the mirror. Speak out loud who you are and what you want and what is coming to you!
October is the month that Samhain begins – some witches’ New Year. For many Pagans and practitioners, the Wheel of the Year begins at Samhain. This month marks the end of the harvest and the descent into darkness. Before there was light, there was darkness. We can step into this darkness, and work with its gifts. At this time, this month, it is believed that the veil between living and dead is the thinnest. This is the time to remember, to memorialize, and reflect on who helped make us who we are – and thank them. To honor and respect those who have shaped our thinking, our behavior, those who are in some part responsible for our facial features, our blood types, how many eyelashes frame our eyelids.
For those of us whose stories have traditionally been silenced by others, silenced by our own sacrifices, or stolen, it is imperative that we speak and share them. Witches believe that one of our many responsibilities in our lifetime is to work on healing ancestral wounds. We can work on forgiving and acknowledging ancestors who have passed on, as well as ancestors we have never met. Through this, we have not only the ability to work towards healing our lineage, but also healing future descendants – whether they are related to us via blood or not. We work towards healing our past and our future through the work we do in the present. There is always now, and now is always changing based upon our inner and outer work and actions. To make amends with the past is to send good luck into the future.
During this Full Moon, reflect on the different parts of your identity, those inherently “you” and those that have been nurtured through others.
Are there any that came from someone else in some way? To honor your ancestors, your lineage, your family, or your chosen family is to honor yourself, as well as place yourself in the web of the collective. Write down any stories about your family. Write down any poignant memories of people who influenced you deeply. Write a story about your life, one you’d like to be known for and remembered. Think about ways, moving forward, to befriend elders, or nurture the relationships you have with the elders in your life.
Dear heart, it is time to tell your story: to bring forth, in ceremony, with awareness of where you came from, and how that background, in part, makes you who you are. If it is time to write your memoir, write it. No one else will. If it is time to learn the language of your ancestors, begin. If it is time to do research on your background, ask questions of the elders in your family or community, begin this process. Take a DNA test, research the traditions of your blood and bones. On this Blood Moon, start harvesting in a tangible way. One day it might be time to pass on this knowledge. For some of us, that one day is now.
We’ve been trained to keep our stories to ourselves – particularly if shameful, and shameful, in this culture, certainly does cover a lot of ground and many fuzzy definitions. We have all seen the heartbreak of hiding, covering up, survivor blaming, and gaslighting: in our school systems, some of us didn’t learn about internment camps, the accurate history of slavery in this country, or the genocide against Native Americans in North America. If we are women, shame has been thrown at us by trying to make us feel uneasy with our bodies, or for covering up too much, not covering up enough, our periods if we get them, hair, appearance, and other markers of the patriarchal paradigms’ idea of “femininity”. If we are gender non-conforming or trans, the shame thrown at us can be around our identities, bodies, and freedom. So many attempts of dehumanizing us; the shame that cloaks abuse, that shame that tries to keep us all quiet.
It is time to take back what is ours, to no longer feel ashamed of speaking up. Indeed, we are in a time where our shared stories are saving us, serving as lighthouses and motivation.
In telling our stories, in framing and contextualizing our own narrative, we are asserting our choice. Our autonomy via the voice. Our knowledge. We need every remembering. Every last one. We need to encourage the telling of other people’s stories – particularly those who are historically marginalised – through asking our loved ones about their life, through listening compassionately, through sharing and talking in groups, buying books and zines about people’s stories, recounting the contributions of others, signal boosting others’ accomplishments, and educating each other as much as possible. The following suggested ritual to honor the Full Moon is by building an altar to meaningful ancestors. You may feel called to honor some. With that comes offerings, prayer, gratitude, and the promise that you will continue to remember, and continue to pass on the gifts that they have given you.
With some, you may be called to forgive. To make amends, to attempt to let go of some of the hurtful patterns or imprints that have been passed down to you. To understand that in doing so, the load lessens psychically, emotionally, mentally for you, for your community, for your future self. For people you haven’t met yet, as well as their children and community members.
And lastly, during this Full Moon, attend to yourself. Your present and future self. Your stories. The ones that are yours and yours alone. Commit to telling them, to sharing them, in a way that feels accurate and authentic. Whether it is a dance, a zine, a class, a garden, an archive, or something else entirely, make a promise to follow through. Do it for your chosen family, for the greater collective. Do it for you. Do it for the healing that blossoms open our heart when our stories are listened to and our unique gifts are truly seen. That is a great offering for us, a true promise to humanity. After we’ve exhaled our last exhale, when our bones are dust and ash, our stories and our sharing are what remain.
As the witch adage says: “What is remembered lives!”
What stories is it time for me to share? How will I do this?
What needs to be exorcised out of my life at this time? How will I do this?
Who do I need to forgive at this time? How can I do this?
What are some promises I’m making to myself in service of my authentic voice, my unique stories?
Where will I no longer let shame or fear hold me back?
What could come of this, if my behaviors were led by love?
Sarah Faith Gottesdiener is a designer, art director, artist and intuitive living in Los Angeles.
She got her undergraduate from Smith College and her MFA in Design from CalArts. She has worked for brands like Sephora, Nickelodeon, Ace Hotel, Wieden + Kennedy, and Nike.
Sarah’s teaching experience includes art, design, visual literacy, and more at Otis College, Scripps College, and (FIDM). Her Many Moons workbooks share insights in how to work with the main phases of the Moon. She teaches tarot and moon beaming workshops at various spaces, and gives intuitive Tarot readings to interested parties.