Noticing that there was almost the dark green of summer, but not quite, but there were leaves everywhere and only the last few trees were in just-leaf. Imperceptibly since Equinox the landscape had filled in and was lush. First weeding and the garden flowers.
Waking up that day was much better and easier, even with 5 more minutes. Cloudy and cold but I knew the sun would come out. Coffeed, made quiche, cleaned kitchen and house, set up sacrifice. Was able to shower while the guys made the fire, what would be our sacred fire. Bringing wood or song or flame or mis-attention together. Wet feet from the grasses, smoky fire, articulate anticipation.
Extreme Morris Dancers on YouTube like the clowns in the trees with their athletic interpolation of the May -a vision to inspire but not quite here
Illness claimed some of our expected crew and we waited for the time. Our neighbor arrived just as we began the pre-rit rant, a continuation of days of discussion about the holiday and the season. Summer and end of Winter, what we have and what will be, the uncomfortable adolescence of growing things, energy transference, long days and the mist and smoke.
The smoke and the mist of the Da’Naan burning their boats after arriving on the lush green island so they could not go back- and that was Beltaine.
I go to the circle with our wine glasses for the waters and to tend the fire and light smudges that were set upright in butter for our purification as another car pulls up. Half of the family we were waiting for arrive and we settle in. Getting things to light is work, the flame is not a given and always needs breath, an act which focuses me like a prism.
Assembled not all together, gentle gong simple starts a simple ritual. We are here to honor the Gods, Gods who give meaning to life. Silly walks notwithstanding.
The plantings grow and fill what used to be empty slope. Suddenly we have 9 fruit trees and the peach is so very large it could be 3.
Find yourself on the Earth. Everyone sits (though I want to stand as if ready for action), and we all readjust either to the smoke or the damp or aloneness. Giving back to the Earth Mother, offering our gratitude and then standing on her moist moss and hearing the rushing stream. Breathe in and feel where that breath goes. Wow, just to the edge of my lungs, to the bend in my waist not even near my feet grounded on the soft land. Feeling the sun on my skin and breathing in that light through my skin, through my body with the sound of the rushing stream permeating me. Birds always making their point.
I get to call our directions, orienting us to the space and the sun and those energies which I have learned to associate with them. the East of the stream and the new day and our creativity, the South of the magnolia- our trust and our blood and our environmental lessons, the West of our neighbors and the setting sun and that introspection that is the brown bear, and the North of the garden and healing energy and the color purple and the white buffalo. And then the up and down and the center, we are all part of the whole.
Meant to acknowledge each of the plantings around the circle, our sacred tree circle. The moment different each time.
Simply the well, that which goes down deep to the darkness, but also from where things flow. Sacred well, flow within us. I am the only response.
Simply the tree that which connects us, like our spine, from the below to the above. Sacred tree, grow within us. Is my voice only in my head or out loud?
This fire, this good fire, not too hot, not too blazing- that which consumes. Sacred fire, glow within us. Though maybe only I answer, I can feel each of us with the fire, glowing.
Calling upon Mananan to open the gates, let the gates be open and then offering for the outsiders. Swirling the clabbered milk to coalescence as Bryan talks about those who don’t play nice, who we don’t want to offend but who we don’t need to bring inside. And then our special insider Bridget. Dear Bridget, Goddess of our hearth and our grove and of Bards and our words.
Simple offerings in our hot fire.
Then our Kindred- first our Honored Dead, people who were alive and now are not. As Bryan pours libations I put last years dried herbs in the fire. Simple, smooth, rolling on. The Spirits of Nature and Place, this place, these places, animals, the woods, clouds, rocks, the rushing stream, the cat, everything around us. And our Gods & Goddesses, those shining ones. And then straight to the season, gentle, smooth, simple.
And then our individual praise offerings, all different and yet on a wavelength. New beginnings, wishes fulfilled and the strength of the good fat. Prayers for positive growth, for getting to where we would like to be, silent prayers of thanks and healing.
Simple, each person and sacrifice giving way to the next. Our final sacrifice of yarrow and wormwood and St. John’s wort from last summer. Bryan goes to our well at the stream for the omens, falling with ease from the bag intertwined as a frame, each rune overlaying the other.
We each notice that the stream is suddenly muddied, mysteriously rushing with cloudy water.
From the Ancestors: Wunjo or Joy, let’s enjoy ourselves and the gifts from our ancestors, laugh at jokes from our dead humans.
From the Spirits of Nature & Place: Os or Ansuz- the voice. Pay attention to what you cannot see, listen quietly to nature to find those 4 leaf clovers.
From the Gods & Goddesses: Eiwaz or Horse, the relationship between horse and rider, and if the Gods are giving you a horse, ride it.
For the Season: Jera or Year, the cycle of harvest.
With that in mind are we ready for the waters? Yeah. Many glasses, easily poured and handed out. Drink those waters, and suddenly all the glasses are back in the basket.
Simple and easy.
And another friend shows up always off time as we simply offer thanks.
Manishevitz thanks, fat and bones thanks, all the sage thanks. thank you Kindred Spirits, thank you dear Bridget and Mananan, thank you Earth Mother, thank you anyone we may have missed.
Let the gates be closed.
And then the May Pole, even number turned odd and it seemed that wouldn’t work. So I volunteered to make merry for the dancers. Simple and silly the maypole was wound and unwound with meditation and teamwork.
And really, I thought later, we could have all danced together, one extra with two ribbons, but blocking and direction misdirected necessitated giving way
We walked back for light brunch of eggs and eggs and chips and cake and coffee. Simple.
But mainly it was the clouds, the dark and light, or the light behind the dark, or the almost rain and thunder rumbles and then the hot sun and then grey again. And the sunlight on the plants, the colors of summer filling the trees, the blooming of the rest of the flowers, the freshness of the air, the robin’s nest, the 3 red-tailed hawks, the coming and going of friends, the quiet and the rushing of the stream.