Thursday, May 10, 2012

Our Whole Beltane


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.

pre-rit    sacrifice gathered

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.

omens by the well

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.

giving 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

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.

Maypole   dancing the Maypole

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.

Maypole dance

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.

clouds   clouds like wavesbillowing clouds  body of cloud

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Everything Comes Out now

over the last few days we have seen the first:
  • red eft
  • bats
  • redwing blackbird
  • hummingbird
  • dragonfly
  • iris blooms
  • lily of the valley
  • tiny to be peaches
  • sprouted seeds
  • 4 Leaf Clover

Friday, May 4, 2012

the Earth soft and full

under my feet as I walk through the lush grass in my socks. Mower broken our lawn is shaggy, like my son’s hair. I love the violets and strawberry flowers everywhere.

First Bats fly in front of the large rising moon.

We dance around dandelions gone to seed in the dusk.

I could roll endlessly on the Earth, on this eve of our ritual, this full moon, this May when the air is so perfect, the weather just right, and the greening begun.

The day is long and new and the wishing star is a planet.

So much to do, sleep beckons, colored ribbons lie on the table.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

When wealth was measured in Cows not Coins- bits of rants about this season of Beltane

passing through the gates of smoke and fire
this is the time of year when it is all about the dew as Samhain is about the frost.
all the different forms that water takes in this water cycle and both mist and dew are manifestation of the vaporous or the seemingly (seemly, seedily, steamily,sexily) formlessness into tangible material

This time is about the courtship displays and the building of nests. The bees aren’t buzzing around for their personal jollies, they are feeding the hive.
Thinking about energy and transference and banks and batteries and storage and sharing and use.
the growing god is the dying god, it has to die to be reborn
the thing about the flower and the bloom and the blossom it is like bud- bloom- blossom it may take a few days maybe a week but you know these flowers aren’t going to last forever.

fire dancers

Linking this Celtic fire holiday with labor and making a livelihood which is more of a people relationship than we give it credit for. The seasonal livelihood opportunity thing when does it start and when does it end. in Samhain we are very aware of what is disappeared of the spirit,and Beltane to a certain extent is about our awareness about what connects us to other people. what compels us.
the sun wants to rise again. there is a connection between the sun and earth and coins- it is this roundness. And there is the spindle- the World Tree or the May Pole, when you slice it you get the circle, the coin.
Later religions put a split between the material and spiritual world that did not exist among the original cow people.
We worship our Earth Mother, she is our wealth and our body, we eat her and she is in us.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

the May

Grape blossom
All the fruits  and trees have blossomed. Marsh marigold and woodland violets cover the ground near the rushing stream. Tadpoles, like sperm, suffuse the now filled tidal pools. Finally this rain has made the lushness of summer come to the woods, the air dark with barometric pressure and sweet.
May Day May Day, though the Hawthorne has not yet bloomed. It is still days from our Beltane ritual, but the heady fecundity of life surrounds every step.
Our May poles are rotted to shortness; we walk the far property, past the waterfall which cuts off all other sound. The new property of untapped potential and mystery is raw like an adventure. There is a log bridging the stream. He picks it up and hefts and balances and carries it over rocks and through branches across the gully to the field.
It will be perfect.