Tales of a Southern Pagan Mom

Posts tagged “ritual altar

Beltane 2012

It’s been a while since I’ve done a Pagan Blog Prompts post, so I wanted to jump back in. This week is asking about Beltane and I wanted to share my Beltane celebration with you.

Our local group hosted our Beltane Ritual last weekend. It was *amazing*, and I am not just saying that because I was one of the hostesses. It truly was beautiful and joyous and just full of energy and love.

We have a lovely outdoor ritual space that we use for our rituals. It’s been home to several pagan groups in this area over the years, but for the past 5 years or so has been largely neglected. One of the areas just outside of the main ritual circle was a 15′ tall Maypole circle. The area around the maypole was completely grown up and over the last year or so, we’ve gradually cleared the space. We had a goal of Beltane in mind and I am so happy we reached it!

 My friend and co-hostess, Bridey from Forge and Flame (who also wrote about this ritual here) and I spent weeks on the prep and planning for this ritual. We both dressed in solid white and decided to use lots of ribbons and flowers for decorating. The entire circle was so alive and welcoming by the time we started – we greeted everyone with a kiss and symbolic ‘ritual bath’ with magnolia/jasmine/sweetgum leaf water and orange/Calendula blessing oil.

We had beautiful music and a couple of awesome drummers to accompany the tune as we danced around both circle spaces to raise energy, then used some non-traditional methods for calling the quarters and casting the circle. Bridey found several interesting alternatives to the quarter call that most people think of. We used a meditation call from The Path of Druidry, and used a suggestion from Ritualcraft on invoking the elements with sound rather than words.

It was interesting – and effective. I lovelovelove that this group is that we are not afraid to try new things. The energy in our circle is vivid and alive with ingenuity and inspiration. Since we don;t have a coven structure, no one feels inhibited or shys away from stepping outside of their comfort zone. Not everything goes exactly according to plan, but it’s always fun and fresh. None of us are so ‘snooty’ that we lose sight of why we’re in ritual together. It’s serious, yes, but it’s also a joyful occasion. That’s a two-way street, I think – those who have prepared ritual take time to make sure that it’s representative of the occasion (with all appropriate seriousness and solemnity when appropriate), but we’re all fallible, and so technological flubs, tongue-ties or losing your place in reading is looked at with an indulgent smile rather than a sneer. As one who frequently loses her place when reading aloud, I appreciate that.

We also did a couple of crafts – we made witch’s ladders; we provided a triple cord and a basket of beads in many colors and asked everyone to choose beads that represent the things they’re looking for or working towards this Beltane. I chose blue in a gradient  – from white to dark blue.

One of my favorite aspects from this ritual was our incense-making. We’ve done this at a couple of different rituals. We decide what blend to use, then put the ingredients into a mortar and pass it around the circle several times. Everyone present takes a turn grinding the pestle into the herbs and resins and oils, infusing the mixture with their intentions and love. This time, we made two blends; a Beltane blend (rose, rosemary, frankincense, cinnamon & sandalwood oil)  and a fertility blend (Dragons Blood resin, rose, holly, pine, & crushed (dried) Juniper berries).

We also performed the Chalice and the Blade ceremony. I’ve never gotten to do participate in that before, and it was a very powerful experience! Bridey was the Maiden and I played the role of the Young Lord; it was truly awesome.

All in all, this was such a great experience! Beltane is one of my favorite times of year, and so being privileged to host this ritual was very special to me. We also decorated the house for Beltane; I have a bouquet of the nine sacred woods on the front door, and fresh flowers on my altar. We ‘shook out the house’ (used a besom sprinkled with peppermint oil to dispel negative energy and freshen up the house) and have incense burning… it’s perfect for warm summery nights!

I hope that your Beltane celebration has also been full of love and prosperity!

Brightest Blessings!