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Beltane Ritual

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May Day Magic, Beltane, Faeries and FERTILITY FESTIVAL

May Day Magic, Beltane, Faeries and FERTILITY FESTIVAL

Beltane means "fire of Bel" or "bright fire" - the "bale-fire". (English - bale; Anglo-Saxon bael; Lithuanian baltas (white)) Bel (Bel, Bile, Beli, Belinus, Belenos) is the known as the bright and shinning one, a Celtic Sun God. Beli is the father, protector, and the husband of the Mother Goddess. So this is a traditional Fertility and Sacred Marriage Festival of the Sun to the Earth. The Bel fire is a sacred fire with healing and purifying powers. The fires further celebrate the return of life, fruitfulness to the earth and the burning away of winter. The ashes of the Beltane fires were smudged on faces and scattered in the fields. Household fires would be extinguished and re-lit with fresh fire from the Bel Fires.

As Beltane marks this handfasting (wedding) of the Goddess and God, it too marks the reawakening of the earth's fertility in its fullest. This is the union between the Great Mother and her Young Consort, this coupling brings new life on earth. It is on a Spiritual level, the unifying of the Divine Masculine and the Divine Feminine to bring forth the third, consciousness. On the physical, it is the union of the Earth and Sun to bring about the fruitfulness of the growing season.

 

This Festival is one of the 8 Wiccan Nature festival celebrations in the Great Round of the Year. It is the 3rd of the Fertility festivals in ancient celebrations the first of these being Imbolc  Feb 2nd,  the 2nd the Spring Equinox.  This is the mid-point between Spring and Summer. Mother nature shows Herself alive again, flowers are blooming, new life is sprouting, birds are mating and busy building nests, bees are buzzing.  This is a celebration for the upcoming apex of Light and Life to come at Midsummer’s Eve, the Summer Solstice. Every stage along the way of the unfolding of the Year it’s birth, growth, harvest, death and renewal in the Year is celebrated by pagans, Native Americans and indigenous peoples all over the world since the beginning of time. Beltane was a very auspicious time in Celtic lore.


Beltane is marked in the Heavens as the rising of  the Pleiades star cluster just before sunrise on the morning horizon, whereas winter (Samhain/Halloween) begins when the Pleiades rises at sunset. The Pleiades is a cluster of seven closely placed stars, the seven sisters, in the constellation of Taurus, near his shoulder. The Pleiades looks like a tiny dipper-shaped pattern of six moderately bright stars (the seventh can be seen on very dark nights) in the constellation of Taurus. It stands very low in the east-northeast sky for just a few minutes before sunrise. The Pleiades were very important to many ancient cultures. Some Native American tribes say that their Ancestors were Star Beings who came from the Pleiades. In Japan, the modern car Subaru means Pleiades and 6 of the stars are shown on it’s symbol. {We’ve always driven Subaru’s partly for this reason.}

 

The Ancients believed that the Wheel of Time would not turn without human intervention, People did everything in their power to honour and call and beckon the Sun and His light, for the earth would not produce life without the Sun’s warmth, his Love. We usually don’t think of the Sun as a Loving God anymore. It is important to honour these Nature Festivals, or turning of the Wheel of the Year, our ancestors did so for thousands of years. Not so long ago when we lived off the land, grew our own food, harvested our own food we needed to be directly in touch with the earth and Mother Nature herself. It was and is She who birthed us, our ancestors, gives us the gift of Life and nourishment, and Honouring and respecting her power was and is of great importance. If we’re not in Right Relationship with other Nature then woe be to those who feel her wrath- and we have- Hurricane Katrina, the Great Tsunami in Indonesia, earthquakes, mudslides, drought, flooding etc.  There was an old margarine commercial “It’s not nice to fool with Mother Nature?” As we’ve been trying to fool Mother Nature for many years now and continue to do so in the Industrialized world, balance can be attained by participating in these kind of Ancient Festivals. Neo-tribalism is a necessity now. Nature abhors a vacuum. It’s up to each one of us to fill the vacuum of industrialized chemicals, farming, GMO, disregard for Nature, the Feminine the Goddess. This is definitely a “walk tour talk” side, an extension of  Earth Day.

 

Faeries

Beltane and Halloween divide the year into two primary seasons winter and summer. In the Celtic and Native American Traditions winter and summer began earlier than in our modern calendar. This is the Festival of Life and Halloween the Festival of Death.Beltane, like Halloween is a time when the veil between the Faery Worlds and the human world is thinnest. It is a magical “no time” At this day the Faeries come out carefree and full of mischief. In Ancient times people would place rowan tree branches on their doors and windows as protection.

 

May Day is a magical day so be aware of  incidents that may occur. The Queen of the Faeries is said to ride out on her white hose and trying to entice people away to Faeryland. Legend says that if you sit beneath a  tree on Beltane night, you may see the Faery Queen in all Her Glory or hear the sound of Her horses’s belles as She rides throughout the night. The Scottish ballad, Thomas the Rhymer, describes how Thomas chooses to go the Faeryland with the Queen and has not been seen since.

 

FERTILITY

Young men and women wandered into the woods before daybreak of May Day morning with garlands of flowers and/or branches of trees. They would make love in the woods, and dance around the Maypole. Pre-Christian society's thoughts about human sexuality and fertility were not based on guilt or any such concept as original sin, but seen as a joyous natural expression of human passions. Life was seen as a joyful dance, rich in all beauty to be celebrated not defined ordered, made lawful.


The Maypole is an important element to Beltane festivities, a tall pole decorated with long brightly colored ribbons, leaves, flowers and wreaths. Young maidens and lads each hold the end of a ribbon, and create a revolving dance around the base of the pole, interweaving the ribbons. The circle dancers should begin, as far out from the pole as the length of ribbon allows, so the ribbons are taut. There should be an even number of boys & girls. Boys should be facing clockwise and girls counterclockwise. They each move in the direction that they are facing, weaving with the next, around to braid the ribbons over-and-under around the pole. Those passing on the inside will have to duck, those passing on the outside raise their ribbons to slide over. As the dances revolve around the pole the ribbons will weave creating a pattern, it is said that the pattern will indicate the abundance of harvest year.

 

beltanemaypole.jpg

The Maypole dance as an important aspect of encouraging the return of fertility to the earth. Traditionally the Maypole is hung with flowers and fruits, breads cookies hung from trees and bushes.  The pole itself is not only phallic in symbolism but also is the connector of the three worlds. Dancing the Maypole during Beltane is magical experience as it is a conduit of energy, connecting all three worlds at a time when these gateways are more easily penetrable. As people gaily dance around and around the pole holding the brightly colored ribbons, the energy it raises is sent down into the earth's womb, bringing about Her full awakening and fruitfulness.

Flowers, flower wreaths and garlands are typical decorations for this holiday, as well as ribbons and streamers. Flowers are a crucial symbol of Beltane, they signal the victory of Summer over Winter and the blossoming of sensuality in all of nature and the bounty it will bring.

 

BELTANE FIRES
On Beltane eve the Celts would build two large fires, Bel Fires, lit from the nine sacred woods. The Bel Fire is an invocation to Bel (Sun God) to bring His blessings and protection to the tribe. The herds were ritually driven between two needfires (fein cigin), built on a knoll. The herds were driven through to purify, bring luck and protect them as well as to insure their fertility before they were taken to summer grazing lands.

 

The Bonfires are lit in the South. Participants, in an act of purification and for luck jump over the fire calling out loudly what it is they wish each time they jump. Lovers jump the fires together, holding hands to cleanse their relationships of petty disharmonies. Whatever it is you wish to cleanse from your life-claim it and so it shall be.

 

WATER
Water is another important association of Beltane, water is refreshing and rejuvenating, it is also imperative to life. It is said that if you bathe in the dew gathered before dawn on Beltane morn, your beauty will flourish throughout the year. Those who are sprinkled with May dew are insured of health and happiness. There are other folk customs such as drinking from the well before sunrise on Beltane Morn to insure good health and fortune.

 

MODERN RITUAL

If you can’t manage a bonfire, simply lighting a small fire will do. Intention is everything, so light a small fire in your home safely, write down what it is you want to dispel from your life and burn it in the flames. Or you could do a Jack be nimble Jack be quick and jump over a candle on the floor, very carefully for luck. If you are in a partnership cleanse it of disharmony, rekindle your vows. Drink water empowered with Love by focusing on sending love to even a glass of water or a pitcher of water, as Dr, Emoto has shown sending love to water changes its’ crystalline structure. Empower the water with love and pour it on yourself your plants, your garden your threshold, your loved ones. Festoon your doorknobs with flowers, or hang flowers outside your home.

DANCE

Dancing around a Maypole may not be easily done these days, so simply imagine the May Pole the ancient boys and girls with the colored ribbons in their hands interweaving in and out to form the spiral pattern around the pole. Enjoy, celebrate, send prayers to the Sun and the Mother Earth. Dance with the Faeries, invite them into your home and your heart.  Right on cue the Planet Venus, Goddess of love and beauty just entered her home sign of Taurus yesterday. The lovely planet is at her best in Taurus. Make love, be sensual, romantic, soak in a lovely flower strewn bath, this is Taurus energy. Participating with the thousands of neo-pagans, witches and all other indigenous peoples at this time helps boost the energy, Honoring the Sacred Marriage of the Earth and the Sun without honors the Sacred Marriage within. This is the entire goal of Alchemy, of turning lead into Gold. When we each do our parts to come into balance within ourselves in our local environment the Earth and the Sun, balance is restored throughout the Universe.

Enjoy!


 

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