Beltaine

HedgeWitch Days!

May, 2015

Sneaky Parenting and a Wedding Day!

Hi my lovelies….and Beltane blessings to all of you guys out there!

Now, as you can imagine, the process of me writing this column doesn’t happen on the 1st of each month, the day of Pagan Pages publication. It’s just as well too as I am, especially the moment, swamped with 100 things on my list to do and very few crossed off. So it is lovely this month to be able to take a few moments out to have a natter with you amidst the chaos that is permeating every corner of my home and life. Today’s date is the 17th April as I am writing, and I am sure as you are reading this on the 1st May my time in between the two dates will be filled with stress, worry and above all extreme tiredness!!!

My daughter is getting married!

Oh yes lovelies, I am the mother of the bride, who knew that the role would involve so many, many duties? It has been a seemingly endless round of months in which so many decisions have had to be made. You know the kind of thing, colour scheme (I was never aware just how many shades of green there are out there), seating plans (who gets to sit where is a political minefield), favour bags (wow, really?) everything down to the shade of lipstick of the bride and the buttercream filling for the cakes (Ummmm, ask me on the 30th April how well THEY turned out) has been discussed and pondered and fretted about. Weddings it seems today have taken on a new, almost spooky life of their own, demanding that jobs on the list be ticked off as quickly as the money flies out of my purse! I am sure my own wedding was never this organised, and mine was a healthy size of 50 people, this one is a small do for 20! So why, you ask, am I rambling on about this wedding in my Pagan Pages column? Because, my lovelies…

  1. If I don’t talk to someone I may just be dragged away by men in white coats, kicking and screaming about apple green and ivory lace.

  2. It has taken over my entire existence including every room in my home.

  3. It is a Beltane Wedding!!!

My frustratingly difficult, but incredibly beautiful eldest daughter has decided to get married on May 1st. She said that it was the perfect day for the wedding, being Beltane. She has chosen to wear a wedding dress that is called ‘the Fairy’ and her theme is natural and white, like a spring day. Her bouquet is loosely tied just as though the flowers have just been picked from the hedgerow. Her make-up will be natural as will her hair,

That is to be bedecked with a sprinkling of tiny pearls and blossom.

Of course all old traditions are being observed, something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue.

Throughout this whole wedding process I have sat back and watched this now all grown child of mine as she has made her choices and I have listened avidly as to why she has made them. Along with being extremely proud and have also become extremely aware that I have been the ultimate ninja of sneaky parenting. Over the years I have subtly explained the traditions and ways of the path we walk to both of my girls, over and over again at every opportunity. I have always been keen for them to make their own decisions on what path the follow, in fact I believe that we don’t actually come to our path until we are really ready to embrace it. I hope that throughout their growing up period I have never forced my beliefs onto my girls, but instead tried to explain the festivals and their links to the old ways in gentle relevant conversation. During the traditional holidays of Easter and Christmas (noooo, not the C word lol), I have thrown myself into the middle of it all, as we do with our kids, but have also passed along pieces of information about the wheel of the year and the celebrations that accompany each turning point. As a parent you are never entirely convinced that anything you have said will actually go in one ear and stick inside that head of theirs, the chances are that your words will instead go flying all the way through to the other ear and out the other side into the dimension known as ‘I am not interested!’ But we parents are nothing if not persistent! Year after year we witter on about the olde times as year after year the eye rolling gets more exaggerated and the ears get deafer. And then suddenly, one day you are treated to the most wonderful reward for all your efforts! As one would drip feed a small plant and watch it flourish I am now being blessed by all the subtle honouring and recognition of our past traditions that I have ‘dropped’ into their lives through my daughter and her decisions.

May day, the time of the union of the Goddess and her young suitor, the day of traditional handfasting, the ultimate day of the maiden and her beauty being rivalled by no other is THE perfect wedding day for my English rose baby girl. The reception will be lit by candles, representing the Beltane fires of old, where cattle were driven through the smoke as blessings and chants filled the air on their way to the summer pastures and good sweet grass. Spring flowers bedecking both the bride and the tables honour the time of the year in Mother Nature, turning the wedding feast into an enchanting altar. Although all of these wonderful things can be seen to be ‘normal’ wedding adornments their meaning to us on our spiritual path is so much more magical. And the most magical thing of all for this old hedgewitch is that she GETS it, she understands and has actively planned and designed her wedding with the magical meanings in mind. The ceremony is a registry office service and the venue is a local hotel, so although no one is being handfasted per se, it is a symbolic union of the maiden and her lord, the day of making a commitment to another.

My sneaky parenting technic seems to have resulted in a wedding that is so much more than just a marriage, it is a magical life event that I am so blessed to be part of.

So although I am overrun with lace and green ribbon and my wrinkles are getting deeper by the day, Goddess help me, I am immersed in the glow of the magic of my path, and have a feeling of immense pride in the young woman my daughter has become. Now I wonder what daughter 2 will pull out of the bag to surprise me, Kids eh? They never cease to amaze me!

Well, my lovelies, I will get off and get back to these favour bags, thank you guys so much for listening to me witter on, my sanity is somewhat restored!

I hope you have a blessed Beltane

*And to Alexandra and her consort Anthony*

May your life together be filled with abundant blessings, love and grace.

May you walk together as one through any trials that come your way

And may you always have magic in your hearts

Love you too too much

Mum xxx

Celebrating the Old Ways in New Times

May, 2015

Celebrating the Old Ways in New Times

Midsummer 2015

 

Ladies and Gentlemen, I have done something completely out of character as Midsummer approaches.

I have come to the conclusion it is not important to be right.

Not always.

Like many of you, I have opinions. Strong ones. Opinions I always said you were all entitled to.

Before you tell me opinions are like toes, we all have them, and mine don’t make me special, let me assure you that I have always worked very hard to ensure my opinions are the best possible ones! You see, I am an educated person. I back up my opinions with facts and research, and I can prove my point to almost everybody. And if I am proven wrong, I just say I have learned something, and change my opinion. So I am always right!

That is very important, right?

But with my fortieth birthday looming just ahead, I have changed my mind about that.

After years of facilitating discussions in person and online, I have seen relationships crumble because people just HAVE to be right. Including me.

One of the big contention points is, not surprisingly, religion.

For Pagans, being part of a minority religion, if we are out of the broom closet, we are bound to get some grief from family or co-workers at one time or another. If you are like I have always been, you are not going to stand for that. You might also get upset just by the fact they express a religious opinion or belief that goes against yours, even if it is not directed to you.

Some family from mom’s side was always very vocal about being anti-gay. Mom was very vocal about being anti-anything-besides-Catholic. My father’s side of the family is conservative Southern Christian and I always say some of them believe separation of church and state is wrong and that the USA needs to be an Xtian theocracy.

I don’t handle listening to such sentiments very well. I can’t just not say anything in response to what I consider wrong. I can’t not try to get people to agree with me that god is too big to fit into one religion. I can’t not try to get people to agree with me that their way of life is not necessarily the right way for everybody. I can’t not call people on what I feel is total BS.

I just can’t. Can I?

Sure I can. We all can.

Nearing forty, I realize I am becoming more set in my ways. So is everybody else. I have had the chance to really think about what I believe. So has everybody else. I know what works for me and what makes sense to me. So does everybody else.

Some of my family is SO conservative, and while I am not 100% Liberal, compared to some of them, I am a total anarchist.

Many heated debates happened amongst us. In private, family members who agreed with me told me so. When I asked why they did not speak up, they all said the same thing…that it was not worth it to argue. I did not see it that way. All I could see was that I thought somebody was wrong, and I had to make sure they knew what I felt was right.

It got to the point some of us decided we were no longer speaking. Sometimes I initiated it, sometimes they did. You could absolutely tell whose child I was because I acted just like them. I did not care. I felt I was justified and that I had family who were intolerant, and that I did not need that in my life.

Then, eight months ago, my life changed. Completely. The changes meant I couldn’t work, and I spent a lot of time at home. Alone.

I also got a lot of visits.

Some were from people who did not share my political or religious views, but people who I love and have known a long time, nonetheless.

I also made a new friend, who came to see me every week, and some weeks, it was the only visit I got. She did not share my religion or my political beliefs.

I learned that none of it mattered.

I reconnected with some family as well. It took me three days to work up the courage to tell one family member I thought it was important to have a relationship, differing beliefs aside. She agreed.

I cried for the rest of the night after that because I was so happy.

Sometimes it takes being alone for a short time to realize how important it really is to have people in your life. Agreeing to disagree for the sake of getting along is not as difficult as I always told myself it was. Truthfully, when people wrote me off because they disapproved of my beliefs, it made me even less sympathetic to their beliefs. I wrote some people off too. I know that their reaction was the same as mine had been in the same situation.

We spent a lot of time creating hard feelings when we could have been discussing other things and enjoying life together instead. I realize it is not possible to have a relationship with EVERYBODY. But it IS possible to have more relationships if one is open to relationships with people who are different than them.

It is a good shift of mindset to have nearing Midsummer.

Midsummer is the longest day and shortest night of the year. Historically, it was celebrated with bonfires. We find the theme of chasing off disease, malevolent spirits, and misfortune with bonfires at many pre-Christian celebrations our Sabbats are based on.

Now, in parts of Europe, the Pagan Misdummer celebrations have changed focus, but some traditions are close to the same.

Instead of lighting fires and leaping over them in honor of the old gods, the festivities are oft done in honor of St. John the Baptist instead.

Midsummer, as celebrated in the Celtic lands, the Slavic Nations, and the Germanic ones are the places many of us who are Neo-Pagans and Heathens draw our traditions from.

In The Gardnerian Book of Shadows, which can be found free on sacred-texts.com, is a ritual for Midsummer. Flowers are arranged around a cauldron filled with water, referred to as the waters of life. The ritual focus is on an invocation of the sun, on its longest day to bless both earth, and people.

In ancient Ireland, the bonfires were built, and it was customary to see who could leap highest over the flames. It was believed the height of the highest jump was how high the crops would get. The animals were lead around the fires, oft clockwise, to bless them.

Stonehenge, in Wiltshire, England, is technically a group of things including wooded posts, buried antlers and animal bones and teeth, cremations, ditches, and small holes, as well as the large stones it is famous for , and initial materials has been dated to as early as 8,000 BC. The site was used over a long period of time, and even today, the site hosts rituals and educational tours. So technically, including today’s use, that gives a window of 10,000 years from evidence of first use of the site to today’s use of the site. Pretty cool!

The Midsummer sun rises in alignment with a large sandstone rock that is called the Heelstone. An avenue a couple of miles away was built that aligns with the Midsummer sunset. Evidence of large fires between the two suggests they were perhaps connected.

If this is true, they had at least an all day celebration and ritual and possibly a procession from where the sun rose to where it set.

In Denmark, healing wells were visited in pre Christian times, and bonfires, which are still part of today’s traditions were built. In mediaval times, it was the time for harvesting medicinal herbs.

In Sweden, Maypoles are used as opposed to for Beltaine. This is due to climate. Flowers cannot be found in abundance naturally as early as Beltaine. The Divine Feminine and Masculine are united in the dance, that significance being forgotten due to Christianization, but superstitions are not lost. Single people put flowers under their pillows in hopes of dreaming about future mates. Winter leaves are also burned in fires, perhaps to drive away winter…or in more mundane terms, “danger of last frost”!

After Midsummer, of course, days will shorten again, and nights lengthen. So this is a celebration of the sun at it’s greatest strength, and magically, an attempt to focus that power into strength for an abundant harvest to come. The strength is focuses on the crops, livestock, and the people.

For your own celebrations, may I suggest a prayer and simple personal working to add in there somewhere?

I know I am not the only opinionated Pagan whose family members or loved ones disagree with.

Would you consider changing your role in those conversations? Would you consider being the one to first say. “Let’s agree to disagree!” and then change the subject. Would you consider being the one to reach out to a loved one who will not change, one who would allow the relationship to be compromised, and simply tell them they are more important to you than how you disagree on beliefs?

I realize not everybody will be receptive to you when you do this, but here is a prayer and working for the purpose if you would like to do so.

First, you have to be ready to do this. Really ready. Because I guarantee, your loved one will not change their views. I guarantee that you won’t either.

There will be millions of opportunities to get into an argument with them forever and ever.

They might even TRY to get you to.

But, it takes two to fight. So, you can be the one to decide that arguing or fighting stops.

Even if you aren’t specifically a witch, your will for peace is a powerful spell indeed!

Here goes.

Set up your altar or ritual space as usual for a working.

Get an image of your loved one or loved ones who you want to have more peaceful communications with.

Get a candle which will provide the only light for your working. Use more than one candle if it helps you to see better.

Get a mirror to look into.

Get a few pieces of paper and a writing implement.

Get a small cauldron or other fireproof container because you will be burning some paper.

Get a gift or offering for your loved one. This can be discarded after ritual or actually given to them sometime in the near future.

Get a small gift or offering for yourself, also. Make sure it is something you like and that you will enjoy.

If you are like me, and you cry easily, get tissues.

And last of all, get a hot or cold drink of choice.

I say get something to drink, because of something my mom always did. When I was a kid and I had cried, she would get me a tall, cold glass of tea or something else yummy. She said crying dehydrates you. I do not know if this is true, but the drink always made me feel better!

I am assuming you have already had discussions with your loved one and have been unable to settle differences of opinion. If I am wrong, please put this article aside, and go talk to your loved one asap. Magic is useless if you have not first done the mundane work communicating your feelings and trying to patch things up.

If you are ready to do the working, light the candle to start.

Cast circle and invoke your gods and or guides or not, however you prefer.

Then, write a letter to your loved one. In it, communicate your feelings. Communicate also that you feel your relationship is more important than arguing over who is right, and that you have decided to stop arguing. Say whatever you want to in the letter. It can be as long or as short as you like. While you are writing, put the energy from all these feelings you have, as well as your hopes for better communications into this paper.

Once you have finished this, set that next to the image of said loved one, and put the gift, which is an offering for your loved one there with it.

Next, get another piece of paper, and write a letter to yourself. In it, validate your own feelings of hurt, or upset over things your loved one has said or done. Also acknowledge your own role in continuing whatever issues you have had with one another. Pledge in this letter to work on better communications. Be prepared that you may be the one called to reach out to the loved one, especially if you are estranged from one another. Be prepared you may have to be the one to agree to disagree and put your own opinions aside in order to keep the peace. Put the energy from these feelings into your letter as you write it.

Place this letter next to the mirror and place your gift to yourself there.

On another piece of paper, write how badly communications have gone in the past, and the hurt feelings you both have experienced because of it. You can list the various arguments, or scenarios of misunderstandings if you want. Write as much as you need to, focus putting the energy and hurt feelings into this paper, all of it.

Go back to the letter to your loved one. Read it aloud directly to the image of your loved one. Then read your letter to yourself, while looking in the mirror. Next, place the image of your loved one beside the mirror, and read aloud the third letter to the representation of them, and the mirror to yourself. When you have finished, fold the third letter in half with the side of the paper that has the writing on it inside. Slide this into a blank piece of paper to conceal the writing if needs be. As you fold this paper over or conceal the writing into another piece of paper, will that those hurt feelings and strained communications are becoming a thing of the past and replacing them will be good communications and better times.

Put the letters in a stack any way you wish. Then still yourself for a moment and when you are ready to let go of the hurt, resentment, grudges, reluctance to make up, or whatever upset you might feel, burn those papers. Know in your heart that you are letting go and destroying those bad feelings and all that will be left is the love and desire for a good relationship from now on.

Once the papers are burned, bury the ashes, laying to rest the bad times, or release them to the wind, completely letting them go .

Extinguish your candle or candles, close circle and banish as usual, and either discard the offering to your loved one, or give it to them sometime in the future. Keep the offering you gave to yourself and enjoy it.

Congratulations. You decided to be a peacemaker. You decided your relationships are more important than being right or arguing over opinions or beliefs. You decided we all have different beliefs and we can love each other and have good times and happy lives together despite those differences. You have good priorities and your loved ones are truly blessed to have you.

I think Midsummer is a good time to do this for two reasons. One, in Summertime, we have a lot of gatherings. The weather is nice and often, we see more of each other then. You might “run into” them, and before you do, a working to ensure better relations is an excellent idea. Which leads us to number two. Rather than dreading seeing somebody, use the powerful energy at this turn of the wheel, which is strong for creating life. The Sun is at its strongest and generations of people have used the power of this time for blessings, strength, and growth.

Over the past eight months, I learned that materially, you can lose everything, but if you have loved ones, they will get you through your worst times. There will come a day when you are doing well, and they are not, and it will be your turn to help them.

When all else is lost, as long as we have one another, there is reason for hope, and where there is hope, there really is life.

May you and your loved ones have a long, happy life together.

Blessed Midsummer, and Blessed Be.

 

Beltane Correspondences

April, 2015

Also known as: May Day, Bealtaine, Beltane, Bhealtainn, Bealtinne, Festival of Tana (Strega), Giamonios, Rudemass, and Walburga (Teutonic), Cetsamhain (opposite Samhain),Fairy Day ,Sacred Thorn Day, Rood Day, Roodmas (the Christian term for Rood Day, Old Beltane, Beltain, Baltane, Walpurgis Night, Floriala (Roman feast of flowers from April 29 to May 1), Walpurgisnacht (Germanic-feast of St. Walpurga), Thrimilce (Anglo-saxon), Bloumaand (Old Dutch)

Date: May 1

Animals: Swallow, dove, swan, Cats, lynx, leopard

Deities: Flower Goddesses, Divine Couples, Deities of the Hunt, Aphrodite,

artemis, Bast, Diana, Faunus, Flora, Maia, Pan, the Horned God, Venus, and all Gods and Goddesses who preside over fertility.
Tools: broom, May Pole, cauldron
Stones/Gems: emerald, malachite, amber, orange carnelian, sapphire, rose quartz
Colors: green, soft pink, blue, yellow, red, brown

Herbs and Flowers: almond tree/shrub, ash, broom, cinquefoil, clover, Dittany of Crete, elder, foxglove, frankincense, honeysuckle, rowan, sorrel, hawthorn, ivy, lily of the valley, marigold, meadowsweet, mint, mugwort, thyme, woodruff may be burned; angelica, bluebells, daisy, hawthorn, ivy, lilac, primrose, and rose may be decorations, st. john’s wort, yarrow, basically all flowers.

Incense: frankincense, lilac, rose.

Symbols and Decorations: maypole, strings of beads or flowers, ribbons, spring flowers, fires, fertility, growing things, ploughs, cauldrons of flowers, butterchurn, baskets, eggs

Food: dairy, bread, cereals, oatmeal cakes, cherries, strawberries, wine, green salads.

Activities and Rituals: fertilize, nurture and boost existing goals, games, activities of pleasure, leaping bonfires, making garlands, May Pole dance, planting seeds, walking one’s property, feasting

Wiccan mythology: sexual union and/or marriage of the Goddess and God

It’s association with fire also makes Beltaine a holiday of purification.

Wiccan weddings are frequently held on or around Beltaine.

Beltane Correspondences

May, 2014

Also known as: May Day, Bealtaine, Beltane, Bhealtainn, Bealtinne, Festival of Tana (Strega), Giamonios, Rudemass, and Walburga (Teutonic), Cetsamhain (opposite Samhain),Fairy Day ,Sacred Thorn Day, Rood Day, Roodmas (the Christian term for Rood Day, Old Beltane, Beltain, Baltane, Walpurgis Night, Floriala (Roman feast of flowers from April 29 to May 1), Walpurgisnacht (Germanic-feast of St. Walpurga), Thrimilce (Anglo-saxon), Bloumaand (Old Dutch)

Date: May 1

Animals: Swallow, dove, swan, Cats, lynx, leopard

Deities: Flower Goddesses, Divine Couples, Deities of the Hunt, Aphrodite,

artemis, Bast, Diana, Faunus, Flora, Maia, Pan, the Horned God, Venus, and all Gods and Goddesses who preside over fertility.
Tools: broom, May Pole, cauldron
Stones/Gems: emerald, malachite, amber, orange carnelian, sapphire, rose quartz
Colors: green, soft pink, blue, yellow, red, brown

Herbs and Flowers: almond tree/shrub, ash, broom, cinquefoil, clover, Dittany of Crete, elder, foxglove, frankincense, honeysuckle, rowan, sorrel, hawthorn, ivy, lily of the valley, marigold, meadowsweet, mint, mugwort, thyme, woodruff may be burned; angelica, bluebells, daisy, hawthorn, ivy, lilac, primrose, and rose may be decorations, st. john’s wort, yarrow, basically all flowers.

Incense: frankincense, lilac, rose.

Symbols and Decorations: maypole, strings of beads or flowers, ribbons, spring flowers, fires, fertility, growing things, ploughs, cauldrons of flowers, butterchurn, baskets, eggs

Food: dairy, bread, cereals, oatmeal cakes, cherries, strawberries, wine, green salads.

Activities and Rituals: fertilize, nurture and boost existing goals, games, activities of pleasure, leaping bonfires, making garlands, May Pole dance, planting seeds, walking one’s property, feasting

Wiccan mythology: sexual union and/or marriage of the Goddess and God

It’s association with fire also makes Beltaine a holiday of purification.

Wiccan weddings are frequently held on or around Beltaine.

Beltane Correspondences

April, 2014

Also known as: May Day, Bealtaine, Beltane, Bhealtainn, Bealtinne, Festival of Tana (Strega), Giamonios, Rudemass, and Walburga (Teutonic), Cetsamhain (opposite Samhain),Fairy Day ,Sacred Thorn Day, Rood Day, Roodmas (the Christian term for Rood Day, Old Beltane, Beltain, Baltane, Walpurgis Night, Floriala (Roman feast of flowers from April 29 to May 1), Walpurgisnacht (Germanic-feast of St. Walpurga), Thrimilce (Anglo-saxon), Bloumaand (Old Dutch)

Date: May 1

Animals: Swallow, dove, swan, Cats, lynx, leopard

Deities: Flower Goddesses, Divine Couples, Deities of the Hunt, Aphrodite,

artemis, Bast, Diana, Faunus, Flora, Maia, Pan, the Horned God, Venus, and all Gods and Goddesses who preside over fertility.Tools: broom, May Pole, cauldronStones/Gems: emerald, malachite, amber, orange carnelian, sapphire, rose quartzColors: green, soft pink, blue, yellow, red, brown

Herbs and Flowers: almond tree/shrub, ash, broom, cinquefoil, clover, Dittany of Crete, elder, foxglove, frankincense, honeysuckle, rowan, sorrel, hawthorn, ivy, lily of the valley, marigold, meadowsweet, mint, mugwort, thyme, woodruff may be burned; angelica, bluebells, daisy, hawthorn, ivy, lilac, primrose, and rose may be decorations, st. john’s wort, yarrow, basically all flowers.

Incense: frankincense, lilac, rose.

Symbols and Decorations: maypole, strings of beads or flowers, ribbons, spring flowers, fires, fertility, growing things, ploughs, cauldrons of flowers, butterchurn, baskets, eggs

Food: dairy, bread, cereals, oatmeal cakes, cherries, strawberries, wine, green salads.

Activities and Rituals: fertilize, nurture and boost existing goals, games, activities of pleasure, leaping bonfires, making garlands, May Pole dance, planting seeds, walking one’s property, feasting

Wiccan mythology: sexual union and/or marriage of the Goddess and God

It’s association with fire also makes Beltaine a holiday of purification.

Wiccan weddings are frequently held on or around Beltaine

Simple Spells and Rituals

May, 2013

Happy and Blessed Beltane to everyone!  For obvious reasons I decided to share some easy and enjoyable Beltane rituals with you this month.  Witches usually celebrate Beltane on May 1st, although there are a large amount that prefer to celebrate around May 5th, when the sun reaches 15 degrees of Taurus.  Whatever works for you is fine.

Beltane is said to be the oldest known holiday, and it is of course still one of the four fire festivals in modern Pagan traditions.  It is also a fertility holiday.

There are a lot of ways to celebrate Beltane, the best known of which is probably the May Pole, but because I am a solitary practitioner and the May Pole just isn’t much fun alone, I’ll cover a couple of other easy and enjoyable rituals!

My favorite is a Beltane planting ritual.  This can be done as a family, with friends, or alone, depending on your personal situation.  If you have a yard that is going to be your planting spot do your prep work such as tilling, turning in compost, etc. ahead of time to allow for more fun and less work.    And if you don’t have a yard, or you’re having friends over to participate, then use pots instead.  Also worth noting if this date is still not past the safe planting date for your area, you may want to use seed starter cups and move them inside until that time.

It’s not necessary to cast circle unless you just prefer to do so, but definitely plan on spending time enjoying this connection with the earth.  To start, take time to either stand barefoot, or even get down so your hands and feet are all touching the earth.  Allow your self time to enjoy the feel and smell of the newly turned soil.  Connect with all the wonders around you, the early spring flowers already in bloom, the sun shining, you get the picture.  If this is being done with pots, pour the potting soil into a container that will allow everyone to connect by placing their hands in.  After you have allowed yourself this time to connect, begin planting.  If you have a deity of land or agriculture you wish to call on, by all means do so.  Take time to enjoy each part of the ritual including the watering at the end.  Think about the elements and their power, the life circle, the things that bring you joy at this time of year.  When you have finished the planting, enjoy some of the foods that are symbolic of Beltane, such as oatmeal cookies and milk, or fruits such as cherries, peaches, melon, as your libation.

One other quick ritual you can do is to tie ribbons to a small tree, or a hedge to be used as prayer ribbons throughout the year.  To bring fire into the ritual, remove the ribbons that have been tied throughout the year in prayer, and drop them into a fire that has either been built in an outdoor pit, cauldron, or whatever type of fire container you have, to symbolize that they have been heard, and add new ribbons to replace them.

Because of Beltanes connection with the earth and fullness this is an ideal time to perform prosperity magick.  It’s also a good time to make offerings to Mother Earth and the nature spirits.

However you choose to celebrate your Beltane I wish you Brightest Blessings!

The Tree of Life

May, 2013

Honouring Our Descendants at Beltane

 

At Beltane it is said that the veil between the worlds thins, just as it is said to do at Samhain. Beltane – also known as May Day or Walpurgisnacht – traditionally marked the beginning of summer, and is directly opposite Samhain, the beginning of winter, on the Wheel of the Year. At Samhain many Pagans choose to use this thinning of the veil to honour and work with the spirit of their ancestors. Accordingly, why not balance this by honouring and working with the spirit of our descendants at Beltane?

 

I believe every moment of the present is a magical blend of the wisdom inherited  from the past and the chance to create the future. With every choice we make we are constructing the future our descendants will inherit in their turn. Just think about that for a moment. What a responsibility – and what an amazing gift! We have a great opportunity in every minute of every day to create – or at least tip the balance towards – a peaceful, abundant and just world.

 

When I speak of descendants, I don’t just mean those who inherit our genes. I believe my ancestors include not only ancestors of blood (my parents, grandparents, great-grandparents etc.), but also ancestors of culture (those who shaped the society I live in – inventors, craftspeople, healers, warriors, artists, philosophers, musicians, politicians, psychopaths and philanthropists alike) and ancestors of choice (those heroes and heras who inspire me with their words, thoughts and deeds). Together these three types of ancestors have made me who I am today.

 

Each of us, then, will have the chance to one day become an ancestor of blood, culture and/or choice. In this way, although I myself have no children, I will have descendants. I have a dearly-loved nephew, cousins and three beloved Goddess-children. But there are also the descendants I will not necessarily ever meet – those to whom I will unknowingly pass the legacy of my actions and choices during this lifetime. To me this brings a sense not only of responsibility but also opportunity.

 

If you would like to work with the spirit of your descendants this Beltane, I suggest first building an altar to them. If you already have a permanent altar for your ancestors, you may like to make this new altar next to it. You could even put a photo or other representation of yourself between them to signify that you are the connection between the two. Place photos or items to represent any descendants of blood that you may have, or the children that you plan to have in future. Add pictures or items representing the gifts, skills or wisdom you would like to pass on. You could also have representations of the kind of world you would like to have an active role in creating.

 

It may be helpful to meditate before you start, to clarify your vision and your wishes. What is the worst future you believe is likely to happen? What is the best? What can you do in the present and the immediate future to tip the balance towards the best future and away from the worst? What special gifts, talents or skills can you offer? What changes can you make in your daily life that will have a positive effect?

 

At Samhain, some people lay out a feast for their ancestors, cooking the foods their beloved dead enjoyed while they were alive, or the traditional foods of their cultural ancestors. Usually this feast is then shared by the living celebrants, though a portion of food is set aside for the spirits. In working with our descendants, it is harder to know what they will enjoy eating. So how about making your best recipe as an offering? You know the one – it’s the dish you’re always asked to bring to pot luck suppers, or when the family gets together. Making such a dish is an act of love, and what better offering could there be? Share the meal amongst those gathered – but remember to set aside a portion for your descendants.

 

If you would like to continue working with your descendants after Beltane you could maintain a permanent altar for them. I would also suggest regular meditation or trancework to connect with their spirit and find out what they would like from you.

And most importantly, remember that you are a conduit between the past and the future. The past is fixed, but the future is constantly in flux, tweaked and nudged by our every move. That gives us power. Let’s use it wisely, compassionately, mindfully. Let’s work towards being the best ancestors we can be.

Betane Correspondences

May, 2013

Also known as: May Day, Bealtaine, Beltane, Bhealtainn, Bealtinne, Festival of Tana (Strega), Giamonios, Rudemass, and Walburga (Teutonic), Cetsamhain (opposite Samhain),Fairy Day ,Sacred Thorn Day, Rood Day, Roodmas (the Christian term for Rood Day, Old Beltane, Beltain, Baltane, Walpurgis Night, Floriala (Roman feast of flowers from April 29 to May 1), Walpurgisnacht (Germanic-feast of St. Walpurga), Thrimilce (Anglo-saxon), Bloumaand (Old Dutch)

Date: May 1

Animals: Swallow, dove, swan, Cats, lynx, leopard

Deities: Flower Goddesses, Divine Couples, Deities of the Hunt, Aphrodite,artemis, Bast, Diana, Faunus, Flora, Maia, Pan, the Horned God, Venus, and all Gods and Goddesses who preside over fertility.

Tools: broom, May Pole, cauldron

Stones/Gems: emerald, malachite, amber, orange carnelian, sapphire, rose quartzColors: green, soft pink, blue, yellow, red, brown

Herbs and Flowers: almond tree/shrub, ash, broom, cinquefoil, clover, Dittany of Crete, elder, foxglove, frankincense, honeysuckle, rowan, sorrel, hawthorn, ivy, lily of the valley, marigold, meadowsweet, mint, mugwort, thyme, woodruff may be burned; angelica, bluebells, daisy, hawthorn, ivy, lilac, primrose, and rose may be decorations, st. john’s wort, yarrow, basically all flowers.

Incense: frankincense, lilac, rose.

Symbols and Decorations: maypole, strings of beads or flowers, ribbons, spring flowers, fires, fertility, growing things, ploughs, cauldrons of flowers, butterchurn, baskets, eggs

Food: dairy, bread, cereals, oatmeal cakes, cherries, strawberries, wine, green salads.

Activities and Rituals: fertilize, nurture and boost existing goals, games, activities of pleasure, leaping bonfires, making garlands, May Pole dance, planting seeds, walking one’s property, feasting

Wiccan mythology: sexual union and/or marriage of the Goddess and God

It’s association with fire also makes Beltaine a holiday of purification.

Wiccan weddings are frequently held on or around Beltaine

Beltane Correspondences

April, 2013

Also known as: May Day, Bealtaine, Beltane, Bhealtainn, Bealtinne, Festival of Tana (Strega), Giamonios, Rudemass, and Walburga (Teutonic), Cetsamhain (opposite Samhain),Fairy Day ,Sacred Thorn Day, Rood Day, Roodmas (the Christian term for Rood Day, Old Beltane, Beltain, Baltane, Walpurgis Night, Floriala (Roman feast of flowers from April 29 to May 1), Walpurgisnacht (Germanic-feast of St. Walpurga), Thrimilce (Anglo-saxon), Bloumaand (Old Dutch)

Date: May 1

Animals: Swallow, dove, swan, Cats, lynx, leopard

Deities: Flower Goddesses, Divine Couples, Deities of the Hunt, Aphrodite,

artemis, Bast, Diana, Faunus, Flora, Maia, Pan, the Horned God, Venus, and all Gods and Goddesses who preside over fertility.Tools: broom, May Pole, cauldronStones/Gems: emerald, malachite, amber, orange carnelian, sapphire, rose quartzColors: green, soft pink, blue, yellow, red, brown

Herbs and Flowers: almond tree/shrub, ash, broom, cinquefoil, clover, Dittany of Crete, elder, foxglove, frankincense, honeysuckle, rowan, sorrel, hawthorn, ivy, lily of the valley, marigold, meadowsweet, mint, mugwort, thyme, woodruff may be burned; angelica, bluebells, daisy, hawthorn, ivy, lilac, primrose, and rose may be decorations, st. john’s wort, yarrow, basically all flowers.

Incense: frankincense, lilac, rose.

Symbols and Decorations: maypole, strings of beads or flowers, ribbons, spring flowers, fires, fertility, growing things, ploughs, cauldrons of flowers, butterchurn, baskets, eggs

Food: dairy, bread, cereals, oatmeal cakes, cherries, strawberries, wine, green salads.

Activities and Rituals: fertilize, nurture and boost existing goals, games, activities of pleasure, leaping bonfires, making garlands, May Pole dance, planting seeds, walking one’s property, feasting

Wiccan mythology: sexual union and/or marriage of the Goddess and God

It’s association with fire also makes Beltaine a holiday of purification.

Wiccan weddings are frequently held on or around Beltaine

Meditation Moment

May, 2012

A Sacred Union

Beltaine is a time of pleasure, joy, and sacred sexuality.  It is the marriage and consummation of the Goddess and the God according to Wiccan and some other Pagan mythologies.  This meditation seeks to unite the God and Goddess within you.

You need a quiet comfortable space, uninterrupted time, and possibly something to write with and on.  You may choose to have someone read this to you, or to record your own voice reading it with appropriate pauses so that you can meditate with your eyes closed.

Imagine you are lying in a hammock strung up between two palm trees on a Caribbean beach.  Sunlight sparkles on the turquoise water as the waves sing you to sleep.  A balmy breeze keeps you cool as you rock back and forth, back and forth, loving life, rocking back and forth, relaxing, relaxing, relaxed.

There is a tidal pool nearby, and you feel drawn to it.  You kneel beside the pool and look over the edge, expecting to see all sorts of colorful sea life.  Instead, you see that the bottom of the pool is black obsidian.  The pool forms a mirror, reflecting the darkest parts of yourself back at you, distorted by the waters of emotion.

Even the darkest parts of you are beautiful.  In the brilliant sunlight, on the beautiful, peaceful, healing beach, you can see yourself through the eyes of unconditional love.  You are looking into the eyes of the Goddess.  You are looking into the eyes of the God.  And Both are smiling back at you with total loving acceptance.

Looking into your own Divine eyes, you realize that what you sometimes see as a flaw is actually just a part of your wholeness.  The thoughts, behaviors, memories, emotions, and habits that upset or embarass you are all still a part of you.  You have denied them, repressed them, and turned them into your sacred Shadow.

Now you have the opportunity to embrace the darkest part of yourself and bring it into the light.  You have the power to transform those fears, doubts, and pains into new passions, adventures, and joys.

If you are ready, look into your eyes and promise to honor and cherish all of your Self.  Promise to love and take care of yourself in sickness and in health, for richer or poorer, for better or for worse, as long as this lifetime shall last.  Kiss your reflection if you feel moved to do so.  Perhaps you’d like to bathe in this sacred pool, or in the waves that beckon a few yards away.

If you are not ready to make that much commitment, ask your Self, or the Divine, what steps you can take in your day to day life to help you on your path to loving yourself and making your life the best one so far.  Listen, watch, feel.

When you are done, find your way back to your hammock.  Watch the brilliant oranges, reds, and yellows of the rejuvenating sunset over the violets, blues, and greens of the living water as you rock back and forth, back and forth, loving life as you rock back and forth, back to your body, relaxing, relaxing, opening your eyes.

Welcome back!

Now you might want to have a drink or a snack.  Perhaps consummate your new relationship with yourself?  All acts of love and pleasure…

Blessed Beltaine, Happy Mother’s Day, and make it a fantastic month!

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