A place of pause, renewal, and connection for seekers


Descent Week Four: Release and Renewal

For Seekers – Seasonal Observances

Why fear ye the Dark Queen, oh men?

She is your renewer.

-Dion Fortune 

This year brings an alignment of the new moon and the Winter Solstice on Sunday, the 21st in the Northern Hemisphere; day and night echo the dark, whisper its song back and forth to each other. And in that mysterious song, we are invited to the release that leads to re-birth.

In the nights leading up to the new moon, the moon’s crescent grows smaller and smaller as it rises at 3am and sets in the mid-afternoon. The new moon then is invisible to us for about 24 hours. The dwindling light and new moon dark can guide us toward transformation in our own lives. We may choose to follow the moon literally in its moon-thly permutations or adapt it to other times when we need the same energy and flow.

I see the work of release and re-birth in the moon-thly cycle as flowing in four (not cleanly linear) phases:

DeathRELEASE – Recognize Death: Loss is a presence in our lives.  We make plans and they are not realized. We lose jobs and favorite jewelry. Our bodies change as we age. Physical death claims our loved ones. To ignore loss requires a barricade of psychic energy be built between us and reality. Maintaining the barricades drains energy away from the movement toward new life. The first phase of renewal is to dare to acknowledge what is dead in your life, what is unrealized, what you want to or must release.

water05RENEW – Honor Grief, Practice Purification: The feelings and changed realities that flow from the encounter with death call to be honored. Let your tears flow. Scream out into the dark night. Burn what no longer serves. Bury broken bits in the earth. Celebrate with chocolate bliss. No need to think too much about what to do. Rather be lead by your emotions and instincts. The dark of the night helps you follow your wild nature to truly encounter death. (Of course, do this safely. Below we’ll ask a Goddess to travel with us. If you think you also need physical support, ask a friend to be with you or do your ritual with a group.)

Nut DGTREST – Let the New Gestate: You have worked hard and now rest is your reward. It is easy to ignore this phase in our busy world, but it holds the purpose of the whole process as well as its greatest gift. This is where new life emerges. The death experience and your grief rituals are compost for a new seed planted in the womb of the new moon dark.
Lady of the Lake

WISH – Communion with the Seed: Sit with your seed to come to know it. Yes, it comes from you, but it is born of a mysterious process that opens up new potential. The seed may want to reveal new gifts, dreams, desires, or directions to you. Delight in finding them. Let yourself wish for how you would like to see this seed grow.

In this fourth week of Waiting with Dark as we approach the Solstice, we are invited to flow with an evolving ritual throughout the week that incorporates our candle work and the phases above.

START OF THE WEEK (15th – 17th):  You light one candle and invite one Guide / Dark Goddess to lead you through the dark of this week.  Spend some time getting to meet your Guide and make your requests for guidance and help.

END OF THE WEEK (18th – 20th): You light no candles at night but let the Dark and your Guide help you through the process above.  Depending on your schedule you may want to give themes to each day, such as Friday is for release and Saturday for renewal. (You may want to light one candle in the mornings to invite the day to return.)

SOLSTICE / NEW MOON (the 21st): Let yourself rest. Go out and play with others. Light as many candles as you wish. Attend a bonfire. Be open to seeing the new seed you’ve planted.

NEXT MONDAY: This is the day that is actually a little bit longer so light all your candles and make some wishes or plan for growing the seed.

… Black-winged night

Into the bosom of Erebus dark and deep

Laid a wind-born egg, and as the seasons rolled

Forth sprang Love, the longed for shining, with

wings of gold.

– Aristophanes


  • Yes, the images are from the Dark Goddess Tarot: Death-La Santa Muerte; Renewal – La Llorona; Rest – Nut; and Wish – Lady of the Lake.
  • The quotes are taken from Demetra George’s Mysteries of the Dark Moon.
  • This is the final week of four weeks of Waiting in the Dark as part of the Descent and Return of the Light series. You can catch up with the themes of the week past (Elemental Gratitude, Opening to the Ancestors, and Dark Power) or just take up the release and re-birth part of this seasonal ritual to prepare for the Winter Solstice.
  • Want to make sure that you don’t miss out on future seasonal rituals and offerings? (And, oh, I have something cooking for the time around the Summer Solstice) Be sure to sign up for my newsletter.
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