Beltane Ritual and Handfasting
Performed April 29, 2000
Ft. Lauderdale C.U.U.Ps
Designed by Eustacia Blackstar, Circle of the Sun
Please do not copy or pass along without permission.
(email Eustacia)

Note: This ritual was performed for 200 people in an open field during
daylight hours.  Three couples were handfasted. If it is to be performed
for a large group, I suggest the Quarters be called across the Circle in
order to hear well.  As the Quarter Calls are rather feminine in feeling,
it would be best to have the callers be women.  For the Cakes and Ale
portion, have at least four participants from each Quarter serve.  Rehearsal
is a must.  At the very least, the opening rhyme should be memorized. The
more effort that is put into costuming, altar decoration and other special
effects, the better. A large and small fire were prepared.  The Maypole was
decorated. Drummers played when appropriate.

(Ring bell center circle)
Crier     Oye, Oye, Gather in the West. Be it known that the Grand Sabbat
of Beltane is about to begin. 

"Door to Fairie" is played on tape)

(After all are gathered)
You must enter the Circle in Perfect Love and Perfect Trust.  Let us begin
therefore, by leaping the fire, which is an ancient act of purification.
(You may want to explain that this is optional and not recommended for
children.)

(Participants will be lead down a short path to jump over a small fire
that has burned to coals.
"Jump the Fire" may be played on tape or there will be a chant: "Jump the
fire.  Higher! Higher!")

(After the Circle forms, The Procession begins: Banner, musicians, fairy
w/fairy dust, and HP. HP goes to front of altar and raises his arms)

HP  As we have done before in many incarnations,
we gather on this blessed day to celebrate Beltane.
The fertile summer season has begun.  
We come to praise the bountiful Goddess 
and her God consort 
who unite today in sacred marriage.  
Come to me, my Lady.  
For it is in the joining of male and female 
that all life begins.

Procession continues: Robin and Marian, May Queen on horse #1 with May King,
more fairies, robed altar priests, robed Quarter callers, handfasters, HPS
on horse #2.

(HPS enters on horseback and rides around Circle with wand raised. She
dismounts and stands in front of the altar with fairy and HP)

HPS
On Beltane Eve the balefires burn
As we assist, the seasons turn.
Welcome Summer! The joy you bring.
Blessed be the Sun God King.

Fairy
Gather then the morning dew,
For potions to make dreams come true.
Fairies now may come to play,
As we greet the first of May.

(Fairies come together, dance or pass out candy)

HP
'Round the Maypole dance we might
That God and Goddess will unite.
And earth and beast and home shall be
Blessed with fertility.

(Maypole is carried into Circle. A wreath is placed on it by the May Queen.
It is planted in the ground.)

(HPS casts Circle with wand)  I cast the Circle 'round and 'round.  By its
protection we are bound.

(HP and Fairy carry around salted water, smudge stick and feather.)  By earth
and air, fire and rain, the Circle is closed.  We must remain.

HP  Beltane is an ancient fire festival.  
As you hold the sacred flame, 
receive its blessing 
of passion and energy.  
(Pass four glass candles. 
Each Quarter starts a candle.)

So mote it be!

HPS If you believe, and remain a child at heart, Beltane is the season
to see fairies. Let's call to them now!

East
Children of the Air, fairies all, hearken to this Beltane call!  Bring
winds of magick, breaths of Spring. Let our lives with music sing.

South
Children of the Fire, fairies all, hearken to this Beltane call!  Bring
sparks of laughter. Passions enflame.  Let us all be glad we came.

West
Children of the Water, fairies all, hearken to this Beltane call!  Bring
waves of gladness. Cares wash away. Quench our thirst for love today.

North
Children of the Earth, fairies all, hearken to this Beltane call!  Bring
fertile thoughts and keep us grounded, as we strive to be well rounded.

HP  Blessed spirits, fairies all, 
hearken to this Beltane call.  
The Lord and Lady we invite.  
Come to us this Beltane site.

HPS  And if you choose to hear our plea.  Bless us with fertility

(Note:  HP and HPS should not be "tied" to the altar but should move about
the Circle as much as possible to facilitate hearing and inclusion.)

HP  If you care to, you may be seated. 
We offer sweets to the fairy spirits.  
(Fairy places offering on altar)  
Come to us and show us your ways.  
Teach us herb lore, 
divination, 
and all of nature's lessons.

Meditation:
HPS  Close your eyes.  Breathe deeply.  Visualize a natural wooded setting.
Sit down beneath a large tree with your back against it.  Feel its strength.
Connect with its life force.  Relax in this setting, letting all your
tensions and worries pour into the tree, down through its roots and into
the soil.  You feel renewed and completely alive.

Now look around you.  
Be aware of the wildflowers, 
the ferns and the sunlight 
as it glimmers 
through the leafy green canopy 
above your head.  
Take another deep breath 
and go deeper into your mind's eye.  
Do you see a tiny flicker 
of light that catches your attention?  
Do you hear a faint whirling sound 
like tiny wings? 
Perhaps you hear 
the soft tinkling of bells. 
All these things signal 
the presence of a fairy. 
If you see nothing, 
consult the child inside you, 
for he or she surely will.

If a fairy seems present, welcome it and ask it politely if it could teach
you what you most need to know at this time.  A flower fairy might reveal
an herb's usefulness to heal you.  A stone fairy might show you how to
meditate with a particular stone.  A divination fairy might give you a peak
into the future.  Spend a few moments with the fairy and learn from its
wisdom.

("Here in the Woods," may be played on tape)

When this experience is complete for you, 
you may open your eyes.  
Remember 
that you can always return 
to the woods.  Many lessons 
can be learned from the fairies, 
if you will only listen and believe.

HPS  Children of the God and Goddess, we have created sacred space.  We
have invited the Lord and Lady. We called on the fairies to create here
a truly a magickal realm. Now it is our duty on this Beltane eve to ensure
the fertility of the coming season.  As a representation of what we hope
to achieve, we will unite three couples in the sacred Rite of Handfasting.
This is the magickal joining of a loving couple for a year and a day, or
"as long as love shall last." 

Will the Handfasting couples step forward.  It is said that you wish
handfasting before the Gods. Is this so? (It is.) Are there any impediments,
legal or otherwise why you should not be joined for at least a year and
a day? (There are none.) Hearing none, we will proceed with the consecration.

Altar Priests (place wreaths on the heads of the couples and anoint each one)
You are consecrated in the names of the Lord and the Lady.

AP#1     The Lord and Lady have taught us that Handfasting is to form an
equal partnership, tied together by the tenuous bonds of emotion and love.
It is the most fragile of relationships and yet the strongest.  It is
fragile because it requires exactly the right mix of freedom and
inter-dependence, of caring and of sharing, of being together and of being
alone.

AP#2     It is strong because it involves the unseen forces of something
we call love, mutual devotion, concern for the happiness of the other, joy
in each other's company.  There is no stronger force than this silent bond
of love.
  
AP#3     Remember that this joining is only a symbol of what already exists
in the silent places of your hearts.  It is yours to define, yours to make
real and yours to live.

HPS     Ladies, have you considered these matters and are you very clear
regarding the expectations of the Lord and the Lady? (I am.)

       Then repeat after me: Lord and Lady, in this place of power, I ask
       of you this: As I breathe your energy into my body, grant that I
       might see the divine in all.  Grant me the hand of he whom I seek.
       Allow me to become his soul mate and to care for and comfort him.
       Allow me to accept with gratitude the love that he offers me.

HPS  Lords, have you considered the matters of which we have spoken, and
are you clear regarding the expectations of the Lord and the Lady? (I am.)

        Then repeat after me: Lord and Lady, in this place of power, I ask
        of you this: As I breathe your energy into my body, grant that I
        might see the divine in all.  Grant me the hand of the one whom I
        seek.  Allow me to become a soul mate and to care for and comfort
        the one who I love. Allow me to accept with gratitude the love that
        is offered to me.

HPS  Are there symbols of this union that you wish to exchange?

(Rings are place in a chalice)  APs hold up chalice. May these symbols be
blessed and consecrated.  May they ever be a reminder of the love shared
here today. So mote it be.

HPS  The time has come for you to speak the vows that you have yourselves
prepared.  (Each couple will exchange vows.) 

(APs return symbols)  Now exchange the symbols that will remind you always
of this day saying, with this symbol, I pledge you my love.

(The hands of the couple are joined with a red cord)
HPS These bonds symbolize the eternal coming together.  This is the binding
of the feminine powers of creation with the masculine powers of bringing
to fruition.

HPS  As the sun warms the earth to bring forth life, so shall you two
create something new by the blending of your energies.  And by so doing,
you represent us all in the great scheme. Beltane is the Sabbat of fertility.
As you make your love grow, the magick will spread far and wide and all the
land will be blessed.

HP/HPS  In the names of the Lord and the Lady, as is the tradition, we
proclaim that your hands are fasted.

So mote it be.  You may embrace. (Fairy throws "fairy dust")

(Remove bonds)

HPS  It is traditional for the handfasted couple to jump the besom.  This
represents the transition into a new life. (APs hold the besoms as the
couples step across.)

HPS  Go now together. Greet your brothers and sisters and receive their
blessings.

(Couples go around the Circle. There may be some souvenir that they would
like to pass out as well. During this time, "The Pagan Wedding Song" may
be sung.)

(Cakes and Ale are passed.)

(Chalices are lifted)
HPS  Now is the time to give thanks to the Gods for the fertile blessings
of Beltane.

AP#1 HPS  May we ever be aware of all that we owe and be grateful.

AP#2 HP  Eat and drink.  Share and be happy.

AP#3  And as we share, let us remember that all we have, we share with
those who have nothing.  So mote it be.

HPS  As the ritual began, so it will end. But our celebration will not end
here.  We will enact together the Great Rite.  The God and Goddess will
unite as we dance the Maypole. At the end of the ritual, our Handfasted
couples will lead us there.  Now let us dismiss the Quarters:

East

Spirits of air, sweet fairies of May
Thank you for this Beltane Day.
Fly away quickly into the wind
So the magic can begin.

South

Spirits of flame, fairies of fire
Grant me soon my deepest desire
Home with you now to your place in my heart
And merry meet, and merry part.

West

Spirits of water, fairies of dew
Help us make our dreams come true.
Away you must go to your home in the sea
Thanks for your message. The magick is me.

North

Spirits of earth, fairies of sand
Thank you for lending a helping hand
As you go off to your home in the mound
We'll always remember that you are around

HPS
Lord and Lady, spirits of power
Thank you for joining us this hour
As you return to your place in the light
Bless us and keep us this Beltane night.

Star Sings

HPS  The Circle is open but unbroken. Merry Meet. Merry Part. Merry Meet
Again.  Blessed Be.

All Sing: To the Maypole we will go etc, my fair lady. (Tune is London
Bridges) (Participants proceed to Maypole.  "Circles" or "Lord of the Dance"
is played on tape unless there is live drumming.)

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Altar:  altar cloth, lots of flowers, God/Goddess figures, dish of salt
water, smudge stick/feather, chalices for priests, Book stands, BOS,
head wreaths for all handfasters, three red cords, three besoms,
wand, tape recorder, cakes and ale, (powdered donut holes and ginger ale
work well) bell etc. A horse is great for effect if possible.

2008 Eustacia Blackstar. Unauthorized use is strictly prohibited.
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