During British Science Week, the moon was drawn down into Leicester Cathedral. Well, at least a 7m diameter scale model of it was, with hi-res mosaic images mapped to a 1cm = 5km scale.
Hanging from the ceiling in the nave, she was truly remarkable to behold, especially standing under her looking up.
It was a pleasant surprise to be asked to produce some materials that would connect with the exhibition on a spiritual level, and came from having led a waning moon ritual at Greenbelt back in 2014 which one of the cathedral staff had attended.
Five meditation stations triptych panels were written as part of the delivery, and as the phase of the moon on the Monday evening would be waning, it was appropriate to lead the “Rite of the Waning Moon” underneath and by the light of the silvery moon.
The stations have been very well received by those who engaged with them, taking them through the rhythm of Sister Moon in a journey with Christ. Information for the different phases, Sacred Texts from the Holy Bible, blessings to pronounce upon the moon (because Christians have by and large forgotten that they used to bless inanimate objects (and actually still do at the Eucharist !!!)), meditative activities which encourage the visitor to think deeply and connect with the Creator of the moon. Nowhere in the materials is worship of the moon encouraged though and this is explicitly stated in the materials.
Lots of positive comments have come in with regard to the way the materials have connected with various people. It is interesting that one comment from a Pagan was “The Christians are stealing our moon!” – it should be remembered that the moon belongs to no faith path, and shines upon all people, whatever path they choose to follow.
On the Monday evening, we were able to listen to a beautiful Evensong, with selections of various creation based passages from the Psalms and some sublime choral pieces.
Then, shortly before 8pm, people started to gather around in a circle, with the central table just beneath the Moon, all set for the Rite of the Waning Moon. Thanks to Nicolette, Lucy, Nigel, Fiona, Mike and Ruth, and everyone else who came along and either helped or partook in the celebration. After formally opening and welcoming everyone to the circle, we brought a blessing upon our Sister Moon. Then we used flash paper to hand over the guilt, shame, things we wanted to hand over to God for healing and forgiveness. We then blessed and shared cake and fruit juice with each other with the words, “Eat. May you never hunger… Drink. May you never thirst.” – blessings we pray for each other as we remember Jesus who said he was the bread and water of life. After a time of fellowship, listening to where we’d all come from and our own spiritual journeys, we finished with a closing blessing and the circle was closed again.
A huge “Thank you” to Karen, Peter and all the other Cathedral staff who have been a part of the whole Museum of the Moon and surrounding events during this British Science Week 2018. It was an amazing thing to see science and faith working together hand in hand during the event.
Photo credits: Matt Arnold, Pete Hobson, Lucy Coleman and Ruth Biggins – thanks everyone for sending me your images to use.