by Claire du Nord
More “Sneaky Business” in the Broom Closet: My First Esbat
It has been my experience that practicing Witchcraft in a Broom Closet can be exciting and full of adventure, near mishaps, close-calls, and great feats of perfect timing! Why would I have expected my first “official” Esbat to be any different? Welcome back, Broom Closet Witches, to our fourth article on Broom Closet Witchery! Claire du Nord here, a High Priestess in the Temple of Witchcraft tradition.
My first Full Moon Ritual or Esbat took place both outside and inside on a cold New England winter night. I had high hopes that my first Esbat would be a serene, “spiritual”, awe-inspiring, etc., etc. experience, under the glow of silvery moonbeams. . . But it was not to be. Well, glass half full – not entirely to be.
My place of residence at the time was one rented room in a house owned by my landlord (who occupied the rest of the house) while I was a student in Witchcraft I and working on my Master’s degree. My landlord didn’t know about my Witchcraft practice.
I was lucky to get to see the Moon at all for the few minutes that I did, thanks to the fact that my landlord went for one of his unpredictable “nightly” walks. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have had the opportunity. Well, I could have gone ahead with my Esbat plans regardless, but it would have meant that I would have had to explain to him why I was going outside in the cold and dark, why I was going to be standing in the front yard, staring up at the Moon, with a piece of paper in one hand and a flashlight in the other, and that I am a Witch. Uh, no. Not unless I had suddenly gotten the notion to uproot myself and find another place to live within 30 days.
He went out for his walk at about 8:15 pm. His walks usually took about an hour, so I figured I would have plenty of time. (A bit of foreshadowing here.) I waited until he had been gone about 10 minutes, and then I slipped outside. I had to wear my down parka with a hood (which just happened to be black), as it was so cold outside. When I got outside, I was disappointed to find that the Moon was nowhere to be seen! I could see stars, but no Moon! I looked all around, and then I saw it creeping up behind the row of trees on the hill in the distance behind the neighborhood. I was thrilled! My Esbat was not going to be a disaster after all! (A little bit more foreshadowing here.)
So as not to raise suspicions from the neighbors on either side or the neighbors whose house sat smack in front of ours, I stood in the driveway between my car and a big pine tree to the right of it. At that point, I could see the Moon in front of me. I had my flashlight in one hand and my printed copy of the script of the ritual that I had planned in the other. I was just about to turn on my flashlight to be able to read the script when I heard footsteps! It was my landlord! He had apparently made one “short circuit” around the neighborhood rather than his usual “long circuit”! I held my breath! Thankfully, he kept walking . . . past me, past the house, and then disappeared down the road without noticing me! Phew!
I went back to gazing at the Moon, and wow! By that point, a ring had appeared around it that was mesmerizingly bluish! I wanted to stay there forever, but I had only been standing there a few minutes when I “sensed” a warning and “intuited” that my landlord had cut his walk short, was about to return, and that I should go inside immediately so as not to “get caught”.
On my way back to the front porch steps, I “intuited” that I could cast a circle and gaze at my crystal ball (which I kept hidden in my room), as an alternative to completing the Esbat ritual outdoors. So, as I was walking up the steps, “Plan B” took shape in my mind. I got into my room about three minutes before I heard my landlord come through the door. He must have been very near the house as I was going up the front steps and inside.
So, after the sounds outside the door of my room told me that he had settled himself down after his walk, I silently cast a very much unplanned indoor circle and then sat down to gaze into my crystal ball, which was a small rose-colored glass one that I had purchased many years prior but had never really done anything with. I was expecting to see something in the crystal ball, but after a while, I realized that the crystal ball was just a substitute for the actual Moon, and that I was just supposed to gaze at it with the intention that I was gazing at the real Moon, since my outdoor Full Moon Ritual had been cut short so abruptly. After a while, it really felt as if I was gazing at the actual Moon, and I was very happy to have had two experiences in one and to have learned that there are always creative options, substitutions, and open-ended experiences when you are practicing Broom Closet Witchery!
I hope this article has been helpful, and until next time – Merry Meet, Merry Part, and Merry Meet again!
Claire du Nord