A Beltaine Ritual

April 26, 2002
Unitarian Universalist Church of Fort Lauderdale

                  A Ritual for Beltaine
           As modified and rhymed by Shining Spirits
     April 26, 2003 at the UU Church of Fort Lauderdale


Call to worship:    (HP and HPS move through the crowd
chanting)

"Oh, do not tell the priest our plight,
Or he would call it a sin;
But - we have been in the woods all night,
A-conjuring summer in!"

(The crowd is drawn into the circle.)

HPS (rings chime three times): 
"Be ye far from us, O ye profane, for we are about to
invoke the power of the Goddess and the God. Enter
their temple with clean hands and a pure heart, lest
ye defile the source of life."

HP: 
"Be it known that the Sabbat is about to begin. 
Let none be here but of their own free will."

HPS: 
"Be it known that the practice of our religion involves
secrets, even in this, the Outer Court. Share with no 
one on the outside the names of those gathered in this
Beltaine Circle today."

HP: (Strolls about reciting "A Tree Song" by Rudyard
Kipling.)

"Oh, do not tell the priest our plight,
Or he would call it a sin;
But - we have been in the woods all night,
A-conjuring summer in!
And we bring you news by word of mouth -
Good news for cattle and corn -
Now is the Sun come up from the South,
With Oak, and Ash, and Thorn!

Of all the trees that grow so fair,
South Florida to adorn,
Greater are none beneath the Sun,
Than Oak, and Ash, and Thorn.
Sing Oak, and Ash, and Thorn, good folk,
(All of a Beltaine morn)!
Surely we sing no little thing,
In Oak, and Ash, and Thorn.

Oak of the Clay lived many a day,
Before Ponce De Leon arrived with his band;
Ash of the Loam was a lady at home,
When Seminoles fled far inland;

Thorn of the Down saw New Miami Town
(From which all our cities were born);
Witness here be the ancientry
Of Oak, and Ash, and Thorn.

Yew that is old in Churchyard mould,
He breedeth a mighty bow;
Alder for shoes do wise men choose,
And beech for cups also.

But when ye have killed, and your bowl is spilled,
And your shoes are clean outworn,
Back ye must speed for all that ye need,
To Oak, and Ash, and Thorn!

Elm she hateth mankind, and waiteth
Till a gust of wind be laid,
To drop a limb on the head of him,
That ever trusts in her shade.
But whether a lad be sober or sad,
Or mellow with ale from the horn,
He will take no wrong when he lieth along
'Neath Oak, and Ash, and Thorn!

Oh do not tell the Priest our plight,
Or he would think it a sin;
But--we have been out in the woods all night
A-conjuring Summer in!

And we bring you news by word of mouth --
Good news for cattle and corn --
Now is the Sun come up from the South,
with Oak, and Ash, and Thorn!

Sing Oak, and Ash, and Thorn, good folk,
(All of a Beltaine morn)!
And we shall bide till Judgment Tide,
By Oak, and Ash, and Thorn."

HP/HPS: "And now, let us begin."

(HPS rings bell three times.)

(HP casts the Circle with athame moving deosil.)

Chant: "We cast the Circle Round and Round
          By its magick, we are bound."

(HP returns to altar and HPS rings bell three times.)

(HP places point of athame in salt.)

HP:  "As Sea Salt is Life, let it purify
          this space that we make sacred."

(HPS places three portions of salt in the water with
her athame.)

HPS:  
"Let this Sacred Salt combine
with Water Pure to make a brine,
Cleanse our Circle, wash it bright,
We'll raise some power through this rite."

(HPS takes up salt water and proceeds around Circle.)

Chant: "With water and salt we purify."
     Our sacred space between Earth and sky."

(HPS returns to altar and HP rings bell three times.)

(HP takes up feather and proceeds around Circle.)

Chant: "Fire and Smoke in the Air,
        We see Witches Everywhere."

(HPS rings bell.)

HPS: 
"The Circle is cast!
The Bell is rung,
The Candles are lit,
The Chant is sung.
The Book is opened,
The Altar is set, 
The Cauldron is stirred,
The Group is met.

We now proclaim to everyone
That our Ritual has begun."

(HP taps altar three times with Athame)


QUARTER CALLS:

HP:  "By her sweet breath which is air,
      By the fire, her spirit fair,
      By water which fills her place of birth,
      And by her body, our sacred Earth.
      By these names, our quarters call,
      May the Spirits join us all.
      North and South and East and West,
      All by Mother earth are bles't."

(Calling the Directions: With athames, wands, or hands
raised, all draw invoking pentagram, starting from the
top, then down to left; gives the salute and kisses
blade.)

"All hail the element of Air,
Spirits of the East.
Come be with us this evening,
breathing the breath of reason,
And join our Circle."

"All hail the element of Fire,
Spirits of the South,
Come be with us this evening,
Warming us with your passion,
And join our Circle."

"All hail the element of Water.
Spirits of the West.
Come be with us this evening,
Bathing us with your emotions,
And join our Circle."

"All hail the element of Earth,
Spirits of the North,
Come be with us this evening,
Grounding us in your nurturing,
And join our Circle."

HP: "In this night and in this hour,
I call upon the Ancient Power,
Oh Goddess Bride and Consort Bright,
I ask you now to bring your light."

HPS: 
"In no way may these spells reverse,
or place upon us any curse."

(The HPS stands in front of the altar, assumes the
Goddess position (arms crossed). 

HP kneels in front of her, draws a pentacle and
invokes.)
HP:  "I invoke and beseech Thee, 
      O mighty Mother of all Life and Fertility.
      By seed and root, by stem and bud,  
      by leaf and flower, by fruit and gourd,  
      by Life and Love, 
      I call upon thee to descend, gracious Goddess, 
      into the body of thy High Priestess, Shining Spirits."

HP:  "See with her eyes, 
      speak with her voice, 
      kiss with her lips, 
      that your hidden children 
      may receive your wisdom."

HP:  "Now listen to the words of the Great Mother 
      who was of old, also called,
      Isis, Astarte, Diana - Hecate, Demeter, Kali - Inanna."

(HP steps aside.)

HPS: 
"We are between the worlds,
Beyond the bounds of time,
Where day and night,
Birth and death,
Joy and sorrow,
Meet as one."

HPS:
"I invite and invoke my Consort the God to be present
in your High Priest, Spelcastor."

(HP steps beside HPS.)

HP/HPS: 
"May you all be here in peace and love. We bid you welcome."

(Charge of the Star Goddess Starhawk version)

"I who am the beauty of the green earth and the white
moon among the stars and the mysteries of the waters...
I call upon your soul to arise and come unto me.
For I am the soul of nature that gives life to the universe.
From Me all things proceed and unto Me they must return.
Let My worship be in the heart that rejoices, for
behold -- all acts of love and pleasure are My rituals.
Let there be beauty and strength, power and
compassion, honor and humility, mirth and reverence within you.
And you who seek to know Me, know that your seeking
and yearning will avail you not, unless you know the Mystery:
For if that which you seek, you find not within
yourself, you will never find it without.
For behold, I have been with you from the beginning,
and I am that which is attained at the end of desire."

Call of the God Scott Cunningham

"I am the radiant King of the Heavens, flooding the
earth with warmth and encouraging the hidden seed of
creation to burst forth into manifestation.  
I lift my shining spear to light the lives of all
beings and daily pour forth my gold upon the Earth,
putting to flight the powers of darkness.
I am master of the beasts wild and free. I run with
the swift stag and soar as a sacred falcon against the
shimmering sky.  The ancient woods and wild places
emanate my powers, and the birds of the air sing of my sanctity.
I am also the last harvest, offering up grain and fruits
beneath the sickle of time so that all may be nourished. 
For without planting, there can be no harvest;
without winter, no spring.  
Worship me as the thousand-named Sun of creation, 
the spirit of the horned stag in the wild, the endless harvest.
See in the yearly cycle of festivals, my birth, death
and rebirth -- and know that such is the destiny of all creation.
I am the spark of life, the radiant Sun,
the giver of peace and rest, and I send my rays of blessing
to warm the hearts and strengthen the minds of all."


ANOINTING
 
(HPS and HP take up the smoking pot of sage and make their way
around the Circle anointing blessing everyone.)

HP/HPS:  
"The Goddess and the God are within you. Welcome to
this their Circle. Merry Meet."


A STORY OF THE SEASON

HP: "There was a time, in the ancient days so very long
ago, when young maidens (HPS: and even old ones) were
prone to pine away after young men (HPS: and even old
ones.) It was the custom in this far distant past,
that only the men could invite the ladies to dance.
Only the men could ask the ladies to go out for the
evening. Only the men could ask the lady of their
choice to wed. And most important, only the men could
ask the ladies to go a conjuring in the woods on
Beltaine Eve!"

HPS: 
"But there was a bright spot of hope in this dismal
scene. (Lovely young maid runs into the circle waving
her wand.) A young lass by the name of Sadie of the
Hawk happened along. Being a wise young maiden, she
reckoned right away the lack of fairness in this plan.
Just as the Goddess waited not to be chosen, neither
must a young lass. As the Goddess chose whom she
pleased, so must a young lass. So with the aid of the
Goddess, Sadie prepared a new design. She proclaimed a
special day in honor of the fertility of the Goddess,
and of the land. As woman is made in the image of the
Goddess, and IS the Goddess, truth be told, on this
special day it was the women who chose the men. On
that day the women would invite the men to dance. The
women would ask the men to go out for the evening. The
women would ask the men of their choice to wed. And
most important, the women would ask the men to go a
conjuring in the woods on Beltaine Eve!"

(Break here for actors. Sadie goes flitting about the
scene from man to man, finally choosing one. The two
of them go hand in hand or arm in arm around the
circle as Sadie chooses about 6 women who then go
about the circle and choose men for themselves. All
form a circle within the circle and both circles dance
the the rhythem from the drummers. Then all but Sadie
returnto the outter circle.)

HP: "The plan created by Sadie and the Goddess was so
successful that its wisdom spread throughout the land.
It was not the men who selected the women at each
opportunity. Nor was it always the women who chose the
men. Equality prevailed, so that one might choose the
other as their fancy struck. And they all went a
conjuring in the woods on Beltaine Eve to bring
fertility to the Goddess and to all the land."

(Maybe a huge romantic sigh by HP & HPS together.)

(A bit more acting here. There would be a broomstick laid
out and the couples could all jump it, starting with the HP
and HPS, one after the other fairly rapidly.
To lay out the broomstick, I'm picturing Don as the
Master of the Broom, wearing his Greatful Dead hat and
a formal looking coat.  After their jump each couple
kisses prettily, and returns to the circle arm in arm,
looking wistfully into each other's eyes.)

(If we don't have a Hand Fasting, chant here. If we do
have a Hand Fasting, we should move on directly to it.)

Chant: 
"We are a circle within a circle
With no beginning and never ending."

(HP & HPS return to the alter for Magical Working.)

HPS: 
"Dancing with Sadie may not be what your future holds.
Choosing your young man may not be a part of your
future. Who knows what the future may hold for you? "

HP: "As the First Fires of Beltaine were lit, so may we
light a fire within that will present our future
goals. May we learn here this day what the Goddess
and the god have in mind for us in the coming year."

HPS:  
"Once more we come together in this place. We are each
here on a spiritual journey. We may each ask the
Goddess and God for guidance and help on that journey.
Ponder ye now within your heart what you would ask of
the Goddess and the God."

(Brief pause for meditation.)

HP:  "We have before us a container of stones and
beads of differing colors, shapes, and sizes. Color is
our focus in this magickal working.* Just as it is in
the Mundane world, each color carries with it a
meaning. Hearken to these meanings and remember them
well."

(Spoken slowly with much deliberation.)

 "Green means proceed, 
 Yellow means caution, 
 Red means halt, 
 Blue means serenity, 
 Black means change, 
 White indicates a spiritual connection."

(If you want to, you can tell them that size doesn't
matter, but I'm not writing that into the script! Or,
if you want to continue on the bawdy theme, you could
say that shape doesn't matter, and I could say,
sarcastically, Neither does size! It would be in
keeping with Beltaine, but we've kinda mellowed out
for the magick. Your call. I'm agreeable to whatever!)

HPS:  "The stones and beads shall speak to you. Each of
you may draw one stone or bead. Its color will be a
message to you. Others may interpret, but only you can
decide."

(As the HPS holds her wand over each basket going from
one to the next, HP speaks:)

"Lord and Lady now we seek 
to hear your words in stones that speak.
May each stone tell a message true
that we may know what is best to do."

HPS:
"I invite each of you to draw a stone when the basket
comes to you.  It is yours to keep, as a focus for
your meditation as you go forth from this place."

"As we draw our stones, let us softly chant a chant of
empowerment."

Chant softly: 

"Earth I am. Water I am.
Air and fire and spirit I am."

(Sprites pass around the circle and return to the
alter with their baskets. Place baskets on or about
the alter. Chant stops.)

HP: "Sun and Moon and Stars and Hour,
     Grant us now your focused power.
     The spell is cast; our paths we see,
     Let magick reign; so mote it be!"

HPS:   
"The Lady and Lord have heard your need.
Your answer will come with due speed.
Insure that the magick will come true
By helping it happen in all that you do.
An it harm none, do what thou will.
The Wiccan Rede you must fulfill."

Chant with vigor: 

"Earth I am. Water I am.
Air and fire and spirit I am."

HP: "And now we all kneel to touch the Earth 
     and ground the excess of the energy we have raised."


CAKES AND ALE

(Cakes and ale are brought forward. Bell is rung three
times.)

(HP takes up plate of cakes.  HPS touches the basket
with wand and crumbles one onto the ground.)

HPS:
"Lady and Lord, our thanks to you.
We give ye back what is your due."

HPS: (Cakes are distributed by the sprites, and all
eat, during this speech.)

"Now feast we together one and all.
May blessings on every one befall.
Food for your bodies, good women and men,
Bright blessings to you and to all of your kin.
We thank Lord and Lady, for we have a lot.
May we always be mindful those who have naught,
And share what we have with all of the rest.
Thank you, Lord and Lady, for we have been blest."

(Pause as needed for cakes to be distributed.)

(The HP places his athame in the HPS goblet)

HP:  
"Athame to chalice makes them one,
Goddess of Moon and God of the Sun.
The message is there for all the Earth
to unite in a way that will bring us mirth.
Fertility now we celebrate
as goddess and god, as mate to mate."

HP & HPS together:
"Thus symbolically we unite
For we are the god and the goddess tonight."

(HP pours a small amount of ale into HPS's chalice,
and pours a little onto the earth.  All salute the
Gods. Sprites distribute ale around Circle.)

HPS:
"Let the fruits of union promote life.
May we do our best to banish strife.
May we all be fruitful each in our own way.
as we celebrate life here today."
 
HP & HPS: 
"Eat, drink, and be happy, as happy as we.
Share and give thanks. So mote it be."


DISMISSAL

HPS:  
"We came together in love and friendship; let us part
the same way. Let us spread the love we have known in
this Circle outward to all; Sharing it with those we meet."

HP:  "Gracious Lady, 
      our thanks to you for sharing this time together.  
      Our thanks for watching over us; 
      guiding us in all things.  
      Love is the Law and Love is the Bond."

(HPS steps back against the altar and bows her head.HP
steps to side.)

HPS:  
"My Lord, our thanks to you for sharing this time
together. Our thanks for watching over us; guiding us
in all things. Love is the Law and Love is the Bond."

(HP bows, pauses, and then returns to side of HPS.)

(Dismissing the Quarters: With athame raised, all draw
banishing pentigrams, starting from the bottom left
and moving up; gives the salute and kisses blade.)

HP:  "Let us now dismiss the Quarters widdershens, 
      starting with the North:"

"Farewell, Spirits of the North,
We give you thanks for your presence here.
Stay if you will, go if you must.
May there be peace between us."

"Farewell, Spirits of the West,
We give you thanks for your presence here.
Stay if you will, go if you must.
May there be peace between us."

"Farewell, Spirits of the South,
We give you thanks for your presence here.
Stay if you will, go if you must.
May there be peace between us."

"Farewell, Spirits of the East,
We give you thanks for your presence here.
Stay if you will, go if you must.
May there be peace between us."

HPS:  
"The Circle is open but unbroken,
May the Peace of the Goddess,
And the Strength of the God,
Be ever in your hearts."

HP & HPS and all:  
"Merry Meet and Merry Part, And Merry Meet Again.
Blessed be!"

HP:  "It is a part of my tradition that we hug one another
following a Circle."

**************************************************************

The Players:
HPS & HP, Sadie of the Hawk, Master of the Broom, 
Quarter Callers, Sprites in Quarter Teams.

Props:
Altar layout, broom with ribbons, colored stones or
marbles, stone container plus 4 baskets for sprites,
drinking horn, sacred bics, smudging stuff, staff,
wand, bell, cakes & ale stuff--baskets, cups. Perhaps
a few larger baskets to pass around for immediate
clean up.

**********************************************

"A Tree Song"
by Rudyard Kipling

Of all the trees that grow so fair,
Old England to adorn,
Greater are none beneath the Sun,
Than Oak, and Ash, and Thorn.
Sing Oak, and Ash, and Thorn, good Sirs
(All of a Midsummer morn)!
Surely we sing no little thing,
In Oak, and Ash, and Thorn.

Oak of the Clay lived many a day,
Or ever Aeneas began;
Ash of the Loam was a lady at home,
When Brut was an outlaw man;
Thorn of the Down saw New Troy Town
(From which was London born);
Witness hereby the ancientry
Of Oak, and Ash, and Thorn.

Yew that is old in Churchyard mould,
He breedeth a mighty bow;
Alder for shoes do wise men choose,
And beech for cups also.
But when ye have killed, and your bowl is spilled,
And your shoes are clean outworn,
Back ye must speed for all that ye need,
To Oak, and Ash, and Thorn!

Ellum she hateth mankind, and waiteth
Till every gust be laid,
To drop a limb on the head of him,
That anyway trusts her shade.
But whether a lad be sober or sad,
Or mellow with ale from the horn,
He will take no wrong when he lieth along
'Neath Oak, and Ash, and Thorn!

Oh do not tell the Priest our plight,
Or he would think it a sin;
But--we have been out in the woods all night
A-conjuring Summer in!
And we bring you news by word of mouth --
Good news for cattle and corn --
Now is the Sun come up from the South,
with Oak, and Ash, and Thorn!

Sing Oak, and Ash, and Thorn, good Sirs
(All of a Midsummer morn)!
England shall bide till Judgment Tide,
By Oak, and Ash, and Thorn.

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