Monday, 2 December 2013

New Moon Blessing

“We are conditioned by our lack of night vision to experience the dark as terrifying.”
~Demetra George

Artwork by Brian Froud

In his classic book The Rites of Passage, Arnold Van Gennep says that all major life transitions contain the same basic structure – a three-stage process of Separation, Transition, and Incorporation – eventually leading to a change in status (i.e., from child to adult; from woman to mother; from married to divorced). Others have said that for women, the process may be more like the transformation of a butterfly, re-framing the stages as Enclosure, Metamorphosis, and Emergence – a much more dark and murky inward path leading to a total transformation.

Events like marriage, childbirth, the death of a loved one, a health crisis, or a divorce are clearly transitions that change us. But there are other, less obvious circumstances that create the conditions for a rite of passage to occur, moving us into that cycle of transformation, separating us from what we know or submerging us into a state of enclosure. The creative process is one of these. 

After we let go of old identities, but before we emerge as artists, writers, small business owners, or whatever our creative gifts long for us to be, we enter a space of conscious incubation – a protected state where growth and change can be held in a kind of sacred trust within, until we are ready to share it with the world.

Within the dark womb of the creative process, many of us may find ourselves avoiding parties and other social events, staying close to home, and engaging in activities that replenish, rather than consume our energy. Particularly for those of us who are changing careers, becoming writers and artists, finding our voice for the first time, dismantling old identities and trying on new ones – we are creating and birthing ourselves anew, and this is painstaking work. We are in the trenches of our lives, creating the very things that will later help us to fly.

Dreamwork is my sure and steady guide as I work my way through this process. Sometimes, even months later, I realize important messages that seemed encrypted at the time. On December 12, 2012 (12/12/12), I dreamt:
I am in a café having tea, waiting my turn to enter the space next door. I am both excited and anxious to find out what I will learn. Finally, the time is right, and I enter a very spiritual space – a small dome-like structure that resembles a church, with rounded walls that are painted blue. The ceiling seems to go up forever, and hanging from it are ancient tapestries, blowing gently on a mild breeze. On the walls are intricate gold writings in a language I cannot read. I see a beautiful, old, Tibetan singing bowl and pick it up. But I can’t play it because inside it is a large, black egg, muffling the sound.
This dream has stayed with me, the images always fresh in my mind. And over time, its meaning continues to unfold. Carl Jung said that black is a symbol of the unconscious and that which is hidden from view. Like the darkness of the New Moon, the black egg and the sacred space in which I found it symbolize the time for inner reflection and learning, stasis, gestation, lying fallow, the dreamtime, and of exploring the shadow and subterranean realms. Black occupies the liminal world between thresholds – between life and death, beginning and ending, growth and decomposition, stasis and renewal.

Before my new voice is strong enough to “sing,” I need to find my way, find my story, find my words, and learn my language, on my own terms.
“We travel through the dark of the moon whenever… we face the loss of that form which has given our life a structure and sense of identity… What has been is no longer, and what is to come has not yet appeared.” ~Demetra George
In this space between worlds, before we become something new, before we are ready to emerge, we are tender and vulnerable, hoping that we can move beyond the judgments that have plagued us, the “shoulds” that loom over us still, and the drive for perfection that can stop any creative process before it even begins. And so we retreat, working away at our modest creations until we feel strong enough to bring them out.

Perhaps it is not a final destination we seek, but the ability to give ourselves permission, again and again, to be both initiate and witness in this birth.


  1. Dearest Kristen, you say: "...Before my new voice is strong enough to “sing,” I need to find my way, find my story, find my words, and learn my language, on my own terms..."

    Perhaps we are already 'strong enough', and what needs to grow inside us, what needs to be nurtured, is an awareness of that strength which we already possess, which already is ours to use for the purpose for which it is intended for each of us as individuals.
    Sing your beautiful song, sister! Sing!

    1. Yes, Emma, your words ring true for me. Thank you friend.