Tonight is the full moon. I am on a ship off the coast of Alaska farther North than I’ve ever been in my life and traveling farther still. It’s an apt analogy for my spiritual journey: Farther than I’ve ever been, yet farther still to travel.

A couple of months ago I mentioned that I often feel embarrassed about the ritual aspect of my pagan practice. I had hoped that by confronting that issue I could conquer it. This has not happened yet.

I want it to feel organic yet memorable and remember-able for the next time. I want there to be a certain permanence, or a framework to tie one ritual to the next. Is a ritual a ritual if you do something fundamentally different every time?

Or is the act of doing a ritual, all that is required to be a ritual?

The moon peeking out from behind the clouds

Probably… but I want the comfort of tradition. It’s just a matter of finding a balance between structure and improvisation. A solid foundation on which to dance, so to speak.

Despite not having figured out what I’m doing to celebrate the full moon doesn’t mean I haven’t given the full moon a lot of thought. I named each of the moons to fit my place on this planet. From the Quiet Moon of January to the Cold Moon of December each moon is named for the weather and seasons of my home in San Diego. June is the Garden Moon when my vegetable garden is lush and green, and already providing salad greens and early tomatoes.

Here in Alaska, perhaps not so much.

With the Solstice only a few days away, the dusk so far north extends far into the night. I made no plans for a ritual tonight. I merely took a walk around the deck at dusk, admiring the sunset from the bow and the moon-rise shortly after from the stern. The wind whipping my hair, the churn of water below, a sky painted by the glow of both sun and moon. It’s an elemental experience, and for tonight, that’s enough.

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