Beltane Ritual by Julie Weltch
Imagine if you will, it is early summer, May’s Eve and the sun is just setting, its fiery orb slowly retreating towards the sea amongst hazy purple clouds. The hill you climb is leaving you slightly breathless but the momentum of the climb is felt with one accord throughout those who keep you company. All around you is the smell of burning kerosene from flaming torches held aloft by men and women in guise, their bells a tuneful chorus as they wave handkerchiefs on outstretched arms. When finally at the summit of the hill, the bonfire you all surround is set ablaze and the chorus rises, joined with song.
The heady celebrations have only just begun for before the sun rises on May morning, the Morris will have gathered again. This time their guises replaced with floral crowns and their torches replaced with sticks as they dance the sun up on May 1st.
After you have washed your face in the early dew of May-day morning, you might want to observe the occasion yourself with a ritual to welcome summer and celebrate the fertility of the earth. Here is a simple generic solitary ritual for your use or to inspire you to create your own.
On the altar:
A chalice of mead, wine or a fruit flavoured drink such as strawberry
A bowl of salt water
A censer and incense - 1 part frankincense
1 part dried rose petals
1 part cinnamon
1 part Hawthorn in whichever form you can acquire it
Few drops of jasmine oil
(or incense sticks in a holder of any of the above if more convenient)
A Beltane candle
Paper and pen
Ribbons in green, red and white
An offering bowl
Milk and honey or a floral wine
Decorations for your altar can be brightly coloured flowers, phallic objects, antlers, a besom, a cauldron and images of fertility deities.
Beltane solitary ritual
(If you cast a circle do so as the starting point of your ritual, example below)
Take up your athame and beginning at the east, walk deosil (clockwise) in a circle with your athame extended and concentrate your energy to the point beyond the tip of your blade. Envisage a circle of light and protection and when you have completed a circumference of your circle, light the incense and follow the circle once more to consecrate with air and fire and then again by sprinkling salt water to consecrate with water and earth, state mentally or physically that the circle is cast with good will for the purpose is of protection and to contain the energy created within to be released with best intent.
Address the elements:
Face the East: Oh element of air that lives in the breath of the east, I call upon your company that you might join your energy with mine to inspire and celebrate as the wheel does turn once more and we walk toward summer.
Face the South: Oh element of fire that thrives in the fiery heart of the south, I call upon your company that you might join your energy with mine to create and celebrate as the wheel does turn once more and we walk toward summer.
Face the West: Oh element of water that dwells in the flow of the west, I call upon your company that you might join your energy with mine with powers of cleansing and flow to celebrate as the wheel does turn once more and we walk towards summer.
Face the North: Oh element of earth that resides in the belly of the north, I call upon your company that you might join your energy with mine to complete this circle and celebrate as the wheel does turn once more and we walk toward summer.
Stand before your altar, arms beside you, palms up.
Statement of intent: I stand before you great mother Goddess and your consort, God of fertility and virility at this the time of your union to honour you and the earth and celebrate the occasion in your name. My petition at this time is that the sun should burn with the passion of your affection, warm the ground and stimulate the seed to grow within the womb of our sacred earth.
Light the Beltane Candle and state: The spark of passion lights the flame as the sun brings warmth to the earth, the God takes his Goddess in sacred marriage and brings to us rebirth, May time dance, may time sow, may time bring fertility, may the green grow.
Pour the offerings in to the offering bowl and raise it as an offering that you will later pour into the ground or leave outside for the Fae.
Beltane is a magical time so we will create a simple love charm.
Take up your paper and scissors and cut your paper into a heart shape, it does not matter how rough the shape is, just that it resembles a heart. Then take up the pen and in the heart write down as many things as you can think of that you love about yourself, it does not matter how many things, just ensure you fill the entire space.
Next fold the heart beginning at the edge furthest away from you, towards you and keep turning and folding so that the folds always fold toward you.
Next, tie your three ribbons together at one and plait them, as you do so, think about the words that you wrote down and the love that you have for yourself, think of good things that you have done and allow yourself this moment of unadulterated love for yourself.
Use this plait to bind your folded paper and tie tightly.
Place it on the altar while you complete the ritual and thereafter keep it somewhere safe and when you feel the need of a reminder, take it out and remember.
Take up the chalice of mead, wine or juice, raise it and state: I give thanks to the Great Goddess, the God and the spirits of this place and I honour you with this rite, may the wheel continue to turn and may we never forget the old ways and our connection to the earth. So be it!
Drink from the chalice.
Dismiss the elements.
Face the North: Element of earth, your grounding influence has aided my undertaking, I thank you and bid you farewell as you return to your earthly realm.
Face the West: Element of water, your cleansing influence aided my thoughts to be clear, I thank you and bid you farewell as you return to your watery realm.
Face the South: Element of fire, your warmth inspired my passion, I thank you and bid you farewell as you return to your fiery realm.
Face the East: Element of air, your wisdom aided my words, I thank you and bid you farewell as you return to the winds.
Take up your athame and walk widdershins (anti-clockwise) around the circle with your athame once again extended and this time, you will envisage the white light of protection retracting to the point of the blade. When you have completed the circumference of your circle, release the energy that you created within it to the universe, maybe as healing for someone who is ailing or maybe to send healing to mother earth. State, either mentally or physically that your ritual is complete.
Allow the candle and incense to burn out on your altar and take the offering bowl to somewhere where you can either pour it into the ground or leave as an offering.
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