What Lights Us From Within
Wolf's Moon - Seeing in Two Directions
Another year over and another just begun … with the hustle and bustle of the holidays now just a memory, there is finally room to breathe and roam within the deeper recesses of our own being. We know the sun has steadily begun its slow return, but right now there is a quiet interlude to look inwards and ponder life’s questions. At the same time we can gaze outwards at the broad white expanses of snow, illuminated with the cold radiance of the moon and know that Nature is resonant with our contemplative process.
During this deepest time of midwinter it is the lunar wanderings of wolves that gives rise to the January full moon’s name, ‘Wolf’s Moon’. As packs howl hungrily in search of sustenance, each haunting cry can make humans wonder if they too are asking the moon their ‘big’ questions. The naming of full moons harks back to northern and eastern Native American tribes who kept track of the seasons by giving distinctive names to each recurring full moon. The names served as a reference to the particular energies and rhythms of Nature that could be accessed and harnessed during that time of year.
Energetically, full moons are conducive to releasing old ways and paradigms. The January 4th full moon, following so soon after the close of the old year, gave us a prime opportunity to see in two directions at the same time – backwards to the old year and forwards to the new. We traditionally use the first weeks of a new year to set resolutions but sometimes we can forge ahead too quickly, setting ourselves up for failure by fixing lofty goals without having spent sufficient time reflecting on lessons from the past. If we do take the time though, there is a quiet magic available to us during January, beautifully symbolized by the Wolf’s Moon.
The wolf's ‘teacher or pathfinder medicine’ is highly respected in Native traditions and all humans have long been enthralled with the mysterious wolf. Who among us has not wondered what inner knowledge glows in the depths of a wolf's unfathomable eyes? Perhaps it is because wolves are actually not so very different from us. They too live in highly complex social structures, instinctively understanding that maintaining the unity of the pack is crucial to their collective survival. At the same time they also recognize that each individual wolf makes a vital contribution to the whole. Although every member must conform to a strict ‘ranking’ within the pack, each has a unique and valuable role to play. As Rudyard Kipling observed: “… the strength of the Pack is the Wolf, and the strength of the Wolf is the Pack.”
We all resonate though, at some point in our lives, with the ‘lone wolf’, the one that leaves the comfort and familiarity of the pack to travel out into the unknown. This is the wolf who embraces the process of trial and error, who learns to trust themselves and their intuition through confronting external obstacles as well as inner fears. Self-reliance is cultivated with each hard-earned lesson the lone wolf puts to the test, as well as faith and trust that all efforts, both large and small, will ultimately be rewarded.
When all is said and done, somewhere along its heroes' journey every wolf must take a break, to rest and contemplate, in silent reverie, all that has gone before. This is its time to pay homage to the moon and her teachings of how to both reflect and absorb … the light from within as well as the light from without. In taking this time the wolf, like the moon, is granted rebirth and renewal. When at last the wolf arises from this brief respite - refreshed, enlightened and able to face the rest of the journey with new-found courage - it listens once more for the haunting cries of its pack. For it knows, as all heros do … it must return to share all that it has learned.
There is much humans can take note of in the lone wolf's story. When a busy season of play, hard work, celebration or just being in the company of others has ended, we, like wolves, need an ‘alone’ phase, a time of review and going within. This is an especially beneficial practice during the darkest part of the year. And, if we are discerning, this ‘lone wolf’ time can be gainfully spent ‘seeing in both directions’ as we reflect upon our past, present and future experiences before rejoining the ‘pack’.
With this issue, Under the Dancing Moon is celebrating its first year anniversary. As some of you know I have a special relationship to wolves and it is to their spirits that I dedicate this particular edition. I am deeply grateful for the assistance and guidance my pack continually provides in my art, with my shamanic work and in helping me serve the greater good. They are my sustenance, something that lights me from within while the moon outside illuminates the long cold nights. I hope you too also take a well-deserved time-out during this deep winter interlude to reflect and be guided by whatever it is that lights your way.
I will have some exciting things to introduce as the year progresses … new workshops, new art pieces and new projects. In the meantime I invite you to treat yourself to an Art Spa session, Symbol Quest workshop or a one-on-one self-discovery session during the rest of this month or in February... to help chase away those winter blues. New this season is my full day Celtic Illuminations workshop with one spot still available for Saturday January 31! So why not illuminate your own inner depths this winter… and you might find a little wolf magic is there helping to guide the way!
May you enjoy the dance!
Artist & Healing Arts Practitioner
Dancing Moon Designs
Illuminating the Creative Spirit ...