A Deeper Look into Atheopagan Moon Observances

Not long ago, I posted about a wonderful idea that arose during the weekly Saturday Atheopagan Zoom mixer: to corollate the 13 Moon cycles of the year with the 13 Atheopagan Principles.

This enables us to have “themes” for each Moon cycle of the year, and to more deeply contemplate each of the Principles as its cycle rolls around.

So I floated the idea before, but no details about how each of these Moons might be celebrated. Here is a more fleshed-out presentation of these Moon themes and what we might incorporate into our celebrations of them.

Note that because the Moon cycles do not mesh regularly with the solar calendar, these Moon observances will move around the year, falling on different dates and even different months than they did in a previous year.

Atheopagan Full Moons 2020-21

Moon NameObservances and Themes
SKEPTIC’S MOONDecember 29, 2020
A celebration of critical thinking and science! Honor scientific heroes, discoveries and advances, and give thanks for the benefits they bring to your life. If you have binoculars or a telescope, take a look at the Moon and observe its detail–that’s a real ball of rock, 200,000 miles away, exerting gravitational effects on us that Life depends on!
REVERENCE MOONJanuary 28, 2021
A Moon for celebrating the Sacred Earth and Cosmos. Reflect on the extraordinary beauty and intricacy of the Universe and of Life on Earth. Perhaps a moonlight hike? Or reading (or writing) some reverent poetry?
GRATITUDE MOONFebruary 27, 2021
What reasons do you have to feel grateful? Write them down! Name your many blessings, and give thanks. Raise a toast to them, and the good fortune that has given them to you.
HUMBLE MOONMarch 28, 2021
We are small and temporary creatures. What do you need to get moving on, before you run out of time? Is there some way your ego has been getting in your way–or the way of others? Reflect on these questions this month.
LAUGHTER MOONApril 27, 2021
It helps to have a little perspective! Life is many things, but one of them is absurd! Perhaps it’s time to watch a comedy and just give yourself over to laughter for awhile.
RITUAL MOONMay 26, 2021
This Moon cycle is about our praxis: the things we do that make us Atheopagans. So get out in the moonlight and do a ritual: lay out a Focus, “charge” moonwater, read some Tarot, create a new tool, etc.
What kinds of people in your community do you not have much connection with? Maybe you can support a minority-owned business this month, or make an effort to connect with people who are different than you.
LEGACY MOONJuly 24, 2021
When you are gone, what will you leave behind for future generations? If you don’t think you will have much of a legacy, consider what you can do to pay forward the gifts and blessings you have enjoyed in your life, even if it’s just kindness to children.
What can you do to help others? Is it time for a round of charitable giving, or volunteering? Maybe you can do some kind of community-focused project as your “ritual” for this month.
Remainder of 2020
PLEASURE MOONSept. 2, 2020
Time for a little hedonism! What gives you real, bodily pleasure? Maybe this full Moon is a good night for a delicious feast, or some sex, or a hot bath, or all three!
Is there a topic you have always wanted to learn more about? How about a culture you want more deeply to understand, or an artist whose work you would like to explore? It’s a world rich with knowledge and creative works–hit the books or Interwebs and learn something new!
INTEGRITY MOONOct 31, 2020 (Blue Moon, Halloween)
Time for a frank assessment: do you owe someone an apology? Or a debt? Is it time to “come clean” about something, or stand up for what is right? This Moon cycle is about keeping your internal “chart of accounts” in the black. Do what you must to know you are acting with good character.
KINDNESS MOONNov. 30, 2020
Time to spread a little love around! Who do you know who could use a boost, a kind word, a compassionate gesture? Who have you had conflict with who you can try to view with a compassionate lens? This Moon cycle, redouble your efforts to be a kind and compassionate person.

All dates shown are GMT. Dates may change by one day depending on time zone.

Midsummer 2020

In the Northern Hemisphere, the long days are upon us*! These are the days of Midsummer. Click here for all the previous posts about this Sabbath.

To me, Midsummer is the celebration of the prime of life–of robust, confident adulthood (rather than the urgent young adulthood of May Day), and, in the agricultural cycle, of relaxation and ease between the earlier plowing, sowing and planting and the later harvest Sabbaths.

Many Midsummers I have celebrated have been times to deliberately, conscientiously goof off: to relax, eat and socialize with friends. Perhaps to go to the beach, which is a fine Midsummer tradition.

But this is the (first?) year of COVID-19. I will not be gathering with loved ones this Midsummer, nor flocking to the coast with many others. It’s time to do something new.

Accordingly, on June 20, I will:

  • Arise with the dawn to greet the Sun with my Dawn Prayer.
  • Refresh my Sun Broom.
  • Drink golden wine and eat delicious, perfectly ripe peaches.
  • Kindle a fire in my back yard fire pit and enjoy the temperate evening (carefully, as wildfire season is nearly upon us).

I invite you to join me in these! And lastly and for this year only…

This last is so exciting! We’ve been ready with the documents for about a week now, but wanted to hold off on filing so the “birthday” of the organization will be the solstice.

When I light the candles on my Focus that evening, I will light an extra one for The Society, marking its birth into the world and my wishes for its successful future.

Please feel free to join me if you like! I wish you a joyous Midsummer and the deep pleasure of the long evenings.

*In the South, of course, we are approaching Yule. the shortest day of the year. If you’re there, merry Yule! Here are prior posts about celebrating the birth of the new Sun.

A Walpurgisnacht/May Day Vigil Ritual Menu

As we collectively shelter in place to slow the advance of the novel coronavirus COVID-19, the world and the Wheel continue to turn. Spring is rolling around into summer (at least, in many places in the Northern Hemisphere), and we have come to that major pillar of the annual celebrations of many Pagans, May Day or Beltane, and the night before, which is known by many as Walpurgisnacht.

While we may not be able to conduct the usual festivities, we can still observe this Sabbath in all its richness while sheltering in place.

This ritual is a vigil: staying up all night either alone or with a partner or family. If you wish, you can sleep a few hours between the Walpurgisnacht elements and the May Day elements, but it’s good to be a bit sleep-deprived for May Day; it helps with being more emotionally open and vulnerable.

Walpurgisnacht activities:

  • Build a “bale fire” (Bel-fire), preferably in a safe outdoor location like a fire pit or cauldron, but if not, in a fireplace. Burn the dross from the previous year: list on slips of paper or index cards every single thing the past 12 months have brought that you are finished with and want to clear out of your awareness and life*, and burn them in the fire. Hooray! You are free of them!


    Beltane Fire

  • Enjoy your vigil fire, and keep it fed throughout the night (or until you plan to go to sleep). You can cast aromatic herbs or incense on the fire on occasion, or for an exciting burst of fire, a handful of non-dairy coffee creamer. Know that people have sat vigil over a Walpurgisnacht fire for many centuries.
  • Make May wine for the next day: recipe here.
  • Deep in the night (at least midnight), contemplate your face in a mirror by candlelight. See how you have changed over time, how you are still a growing and evolving person. Silently vow to grow, support, and care for yourself as the year unfolds. If anything more comes up that you want to be done with, throw that in the fire, too.

May Day activities:

  • While we may not be able to dance around a Maypole this year, we can still make a plant or flower crown if the materials are available; even a simple ivy crown is festive for the day.
  • Have May wine…with breakfast! Float a berry or slice of ripe fruit in the wine and enjoy a special celebratory meal. Sit outside if you can, feel the Sun and the fresh air.
  • Hang blessing ribbons in the trees where you live, with wishes for the coming cycle and the year’s harvest.
  • If you have young children, play some kind of game and designate the winner the May Princess or May Prince (decide in advance what special privilege they have just for today!)

    May Queen

    May Princess

  • Celebrate an online ritual. The Humanistic Paganism website has compiled a number of them for you to enjoy and participate in.
  • Celebrate the season of sowing (and which many associate with sexuality) with some sacred sex: either with a partner(s) or by yourself. Or, if that’s not your thing, try some of these ideas.
  • End the day with a feast dinner and a celebration of love and family.

We are sequestered and held apart from one another at a time when our traditions urge us to be together and loving. It’s hard for many of us. We are social creatures and being separate is not our natural state.

For myself, I hope these traditions and offerings have given you some ways you can enjoy May Day in these so-challenging times.

Love and the joys of the season to you!



*I do not recommend trying to include the coronavirus among this dross. We are far from finished with it—and vice versa—and if you “make yourself a liar” in this way it will undermine the effectiveness of the rest of the ritual.