First, a few thoughts to chew on: We love the imagery of the moon shedding and refilling, because that is what happens from our point of view. We love asking the moon to help us "let go" and "release" and "welcome transformation." These are very helpful, powerful prayers.
But it's also good to remember that the moon is never dark or full, or waxing or waning – this is only our perspective of it, from here on the spinning earth, with the moon orbiting "backwards" around us.
In truth, she is always fully facing the sun. She always has her eyes fully on this source of light and life. There is this constant intimacy and devotion between the sun and moon. When we see the dark moon, that is a moment of pure intimacy between them that they don't share with us. It's like the parents shutting the bedroom door from the kids on a Saturday afternoon.
At the full moon - especially that moment at sunset and sunrise these few days each month, when the sun and moon are both visible, and both shining in this eternal intimacy – this is like the parents dancing in the living room in full view of the kids, and inviting them to join in the frolic.
So, the image of the moon shedding and refilling is very powerful and useful to us. And so is this idea that the moon knows it will always be going through its phases, because that is the nature of things. But she always keeps her trust and vision pointed toward that never-dimming, never doubting light. This is an image we can also bring into our own lives. In the dark times, when doubt, or anger, or confusion spreads across our face and our life, we can remember that the source of life on earth is still there, always shining, and we can do our best to keep our eyes on it, knowing that we too, will move through our current phase.
It's good to pray under the full moon because she delivers such a sense of magic. So, make any prayer you want, fill them with pure vulnerability, and ask the moon for help.
I want to suggest two difficult prayers you can make. You can make these with the full moon tonight, but really they are good any time.
First, a prayer that in the biblical tradition is called "praying for your enemies:" Love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who mistreat you and persecute you.This kind pf prayer is found in many spiritual traditions, and the reason is two-fold. First, making this kind of prayer is designed to release you- the one making the prayer. For any of us to make substantive change in our own life, or in the community or world, we need to act from a place of freedom from hatred. Obviously this is incredibly difficult. But all authentic spiritual work asks us to do hard things. Praying for your enemies involves asking Spirit to heal them of the wounds and energies that weigh them down, that twist their humanity and shrink their spirit. One caveat in making a prayer like this: be vigilant if any arrogance on your part creeps in. If you find yourself praying for your enemies to become a better, kinder, more loving person like you are, maybe double back around and ask Spirit to lift arrogance from you, and show you where you need to do more work.
Second: a prayer for optimism. Ask the Moon and Spirit to help open your optimism in this time that is so filled with gloom, discouragement, anger, and vitriol. We can simply not survive well without an optimistic goal to work toward. Allow yourself to envision and fantasize an optimistic future that you want to work toward, and ask Spirit to help you take it in and hold it in the bones of your bones. Nothing has ever come into this world through human hands that didn’t start first in prayer space, otherwise known as the imagination. Work on making your imagination healthy and optimistic and ask Spirit to help you with that.
I leave you with my adaptation of an old Scottish Moon Prayer:
When I see you, bright moon,
It becomes me to lift my eye,
It becomes me to bend my knee,
It becomes me to bow my head to you
And send my thanks to you,
For coming again to light the dark night.
Beautiful eye of night,
Dear one of the heavens,
Guide on the night-path,
I bless you and thank you.
Many have passed beyond
In the time between the two moons,
But I am still here, enjoying this lovely earth.
Help me to bless this world in my own way
As you do, again and again,
Moon of my Moon,
Beloved of my heart,
Moon of blessings.