Beltaine Ritual, 2007 Moonpath Chapter of CUUPS

Composed by Valan, The Druid

(materials from assorted sources listed at end of document)

 

PRELIMINARY ARRANGEMENTS:

The ritual site is the large field with the fire pit. Torches mark the cardinal points.

The processional  enters from the north-east of the circle.

 

Sacrificial items, (“ale”, branch of flowers,)

oil lamps, stands, Ygdrassil, etc.

Rune  bag

Blessing cups

Matches, lighter

Sage ashtray

All these are set on altar draped with Spring colors.

 

ADDITIONAL PROPS:

gong

Several matches (1 for each quarter, and Firestarter material)

2 Beltaine torches ready to light,

sage

4 juices and small cups

Quarter torches and small altars (each quarter dresses their altar)

Palm Branches for each quarter to hold

Sacred Well

Sacred tree

Big bucket of water.

Basket for Bloduewedd to carry with daisies

 

Celebrants

Valan

Spel  (with Horns)

Bloduewedd -- Amy

Story sages:  Saille and D’elf

Quarter teams (3 in each team)

 

Fire  Keeper - Keith

Keeper of the Sacred Well – 

Tree Tender –  Max

Sage smudger:

 

 

Processional:  Quarter teams first, then Sage smudger, then the MayQueen and consort, Spel and Ash the Silent, then everyone else will start on porch and proceed through  memorial garden, through archway made from quarter folks’ palm fronds.

 

 

(Note to quarter teams:  Hold onto your Palm fronds till after you call quarters.

Then place them down before your altar)

Note to Smudger:  When all are in the circle, go to main altar

and put smudge stick on altar in ashtray)

 

 

Valan: As we approach the sacred grove

With heart and mind, flesh and bone,

Join us now in ways of old.

We have come home.

 

Join now for the Druids Pledge:

(all)

We swear by Peace and Love to stand

Heart to heart and hand to hand

Mark, Oh Spirits, hear us now

Confirming this, our sacred vow.

 

Statement of Purpose and Precedent: 

Spel

 

As the ancients did before us,

so we do now,

and so our descendants may do in the future.

We are come into the Grove to worship as they did,

to offer to the Ancestors;

to offer to the Aesir and the Vanir

to offer to the Nature Spirits;

and to offer to the beloved Shining Ones.

Today we honor Blodeuwedd, the Welsh flower-faced goddess.

She is also an icon for the transformative power of LOVE and most of all, HOPE.

 

Today we kindle a new flame of HOPE and new beginnings 

as we dance among the Beltaine fires.

And tonight, may we practice the Rites of Love

in whatever way our spirit may guide us,

to sustain the Power of Life!

 

Invocations to earth and sea and sky

Valan:  I am a child of the Moon, Earth, Sea and Sky.

            I am your daughter, hear my cry.

 

The Keeper of the Well (KW) By the West – the “Well” is on the west altar

 Walk  to Fire Pit, Raise “well” bowl on high

 Please hold it dramatically aloft.  (reading taped to lower bowl)

 

KW: In the depths flow the waters of wisdom.

Sacred waters flow within us.

 

Folk: Sacred waters flow within us.

 

KW will then asperse the firepit and the Druids from the bowl.

. Place  “well” on  main altar (much drumming at this time)

 

 

The Tender of the Tree

(TT)  From the North – the “Tree” is by or on the North altar

Walk  to Fire Pit, will lift the “tree” on high

 

 

TT: From the depths to the heights spans the world tree.

Sacred Tree, grow within us.

 

Folk: Sacred tree, grow within us.

 

TT will then lower the tree.

 

TT: The fire, the well, the sacred tree,

Flame and flow and grow in me!

 

TT proceeds around the fire with the little Tree and then places it on 

or near  the main altar. (much drumming at this time)

 

 

The Fire Tender will first say:

 

FT: I kindle the sacred fire in wisdom, love, and power.

Sacred fire burn within us.

 

Folk: Sacred fire burn within us.

 

FT starts the fire.

 

V:  Let the drums begin!   Much DRUMMING and cheering!!!!!

 

 

OFFERINGS:

Spel:

 

In ancient times fire, man's greatest tool and nature's fiercest weapon,

defined the meeting place of the sacred and the profane, the heart of

the home and of religious ceremony. Therefore, when we come together

to celebrate the rites of our ancestors, we light a fire. We light this fire

as the center of our circle, the symbol of the ancient ways, and as a

means by which our sacrifices may be conveyed to the realms of the gods.

 

Valan

 

O sacred fire that consumes and transforms

Ancient enemy and first-born friend of humankind.

 Accept this offering of flowers

Become for us the living door to the heavens

The manifestation of the Shining Ones .

And the path of our return to the ancient ways. 

 

Valan tosses branch on fire.

 

Spel

 O sacred bough of fragrant memory

May your sweet, rising smoke

Reach the halls of the gods.

 

May we pray with a good fire!

 

 

ALL: May we pray with a good fire!

 

Invoking the quarters

 

(3 per team. 1 speaks, one has a  Bic, 1 holds branch. Later, they

are charged with passing out and juice and cups to their quarter:  Sunwise.)

 

(The East quarter team proceeds doesil till it reaches the altar in the Southwest. 

The speaker remains, the other proceed to east. The Eastern torches are lit

as soon as the two  arrive:  perhaps while the speaker is speaking.)

 

Eastern caller:

The East wind blows, gentle and soft, carrying the breeze-blown Elementals.

May your wind swirl around our heads

Clearing and purifying,
Carrying sweet scents!

Hail and Welcome!  Caller goes back to the East.

 

(All the Eastern team lays their palms in front of their altar)

 

(The  Southern quarter team proceeds doesil till it reaches the altar in the Southwest. 

The speaker remains, the other proceed to South. The Southern torches are lit as

soon as the two  arrive:  perhaps while the speaker is speaking.)

 

Southern caller: From the South we summon the scorching Elementals, sacred to Fire.

Bring us your Warmth and Passion.

Lead us to ecstatic fulfillment!

Hail and Welcome!   Caller goes back to the South.

(All the Southern team lays their palms in front of their altar)

 

(The West quarter team proceeds doesil till it reaches the altar in the Southwest. 

The speaker remains, the others proceed to West. The Western torches are

lit as soon as the two arrive:  perhaps while the speaker is speaking.)

 

Western caller: The tides of our great planet ride in our veins, and carry the watery

Elementals on powerful waves.

You who rule the fluid depths of our emotions

Are summoned to our Rite!

Hail and Welcome! Caller goes back to the West.

(All the Western team lays their palms in front of their altar)

 

(The North quarter team proceeds doesil till it reaches the altar in the Southwest. 

The speaker remains, the other proceed to north. The Northern torches are lit

as soon as the two  arrive:  perhaps while the speaker is speaking.)

 

 

Northern caller: Every Elemental sacred to Earth – be you gnome, pixie or fey,

growing thing or sturdy rock,

Be our guide in all things of Nature and the essence of  this earthly plane.

Hail and Welcome! Caller goes back to the North.

(All the Norhern team lays their palms in front of their altar)

 

Sacrifice to the outsiders

 

Valan

 

Ancient and dark ones; unseen, unsightly, and unloved

We make this offering to you

You twisted and misshapen

You cold of heart and dim of mind

Take this offering and trouble not our rite.

 

 She takes the Blessing cup and

pours  “ale” onto the earth, outside the circle

 

 

Casting the Circle

Spel:

We have called to the quarters, now let us CAST the circle.

(gets sage from altar)

 

I cast this circle with Fire and smoke, magic blessings we Invoke. Etc.etc.etc……

 

 

Valan;

And now we’ll have the story sages.

DRUMMERS:  Drum them in!

 

 

Story Sages: d’elf and Saille

 

On this feast-day we honor the great goddess, Blodeuwedd.

 

 

DRUMMERS

Sages: (take turns reading…)

This is the story of Blodeuwedd from The Mabinogion: She can be viewed as a May Queen,

bound in sacred marriage to sacrificial king who must eventually be sacrificed to her

and through her to his people.

 

 

Arianrhod, the Welsh Moon goddess, had a son named Lleu. He was a classical Sun God.

She, being a jealous mother,

cursed her son by laying a geas (pronounced  gesh) on him which forbade him from

marrying a goddess or a mortal woman.

His uncles, Gwion, and the famous black magician, Math, made for Lleu a bride

out of 9 flowers:

oak, meadowsweet, broom,

cockle, bean, nettle,

chestnut, primrose, and hawthorn

--and breathed life into Her.

 

Although she was created for Lleu, she did not love him. She bridled about being a

possession: destined to belong to a man she did not love.

She proved treacherous to Lleu. She and Her lover plotted

against him, killing the invulnerable  Lleu by tricking him into the only pose in which

he could be harmed.

 

You see, Lleu had a protection spell on him and the ONLY way that he could be harmed

was if these conditions were met:

 

Lleu could be killed only by one who makes the spear itself, and he must labour on it

for a year, working only on holy days. 

 

And even if the spear were made, Lleu would be safe, for he could not be killed in a house

or out of doors. 

 

He could not be killed when he is on horseback or on foot,

 

He could not be killed on dry land or in the water."

 

The only way, it seemed, that he could die was if he was pierced by this magickal spear wilst

standing on the rim of a bathtub that was protected by an awning, in the forest.  So she

connived to create this situation. Her lover speared Lleu while he was balancing on the

rim of the tub.

 

Blodeuwedd was punished for this by being transformed into the night-bird, the

owl, though She kept her name. In Welsh, Blodeuwedd, means "Flower-face", That word is

also the name for the owl.

 

We honor Blodeuwedd today for two reasons. First, Blodeuwedd, as a flower-faced

maiden goddess, represents all the fresh and lovely aspects of Spring and new beginnings.

 

Secondly, Blodeuwedd is seen as a great rebel, a woman who refused to stay in the

patriarchal box put around her. She is the patron of young maidens, and a powerful

symbol of transformative power of Love and Conviction.  Let us welcome Blodeuwedd!!!

 

DRUMMERS!!!!! (Enters Blodeuwedd from the North and she comes to stand in the

center of the circle

 

Blodeuwedd’s poem:

 

Neither of mother or father

Was my blood or body

When I was made.

I was spellbound by Gwydion

Great enchanter of the Britons.

When he formed me from nine blossoms…

Nine buds of various kinds

From primrose of the mountain

Broom, meadowsweet and cockle

Together intertwined

From the bean in its shade,

bearing a white spectral army,

Of Earth - of Earthly kind.

From blossoms of the nettle

Oak, thorn, and bashful chestnut,

Nine powers in me combined

Nine buds of plant and tree.

Long and white are my fingers

As the ninth wave of the sea.

 

At this time we ask that all maidens approach Blodeuwedd and take a flower that

represents her special blessing.

 

Drummers, if you please?

(Afterwards, Sages and goddess leave.)

 

OMEN TAKING:

 Valan

 

The gifts of the people rise to the gods on the smoke of sacrifice. May our prayers go clearly

and without hindrance to those we have praised  A favor requires a favor; a song another song,

and a gift given requires a gift in return. This is the law of ancient times, alike between man and

man and mankind and the gods.  We have offered our gifts to the gods and we ask them in

return for knowledge of what tomorrow will bring. Will our lives be renewed and our Summer fruitful?

 

 I ask then, that  the youngest  among us draw a Rune that  we may know our Fate.

 

The youngest draws and Valan interprets a rune. If an, unfavorable omen is drawn, the

participants are asked to meditate on the gods' message and consider how to respond individually.

 

 

Blessing Cup

Spel raises the Blessing cup filled with juice.

 

Ancient and mighty ones we honor you. Having established the bond of hospitality with the gods,

what the gods have given to us we distribute freely. Behold the drink of the gods!

 

All:

 

Behold the drink of the gods!

 

Spel

We will pass out cups. Please wait for the toast to be made before drinking!

 

Quarter teams pass out cups and pour juice.

 

When all have a drink,

 

Valan says:

 

When we give, we receive and are blessed.

What we share will be shared in return.

Those we praise in joy will respond to our need.

We are kin to the gods when we drink their mead.

 

The Beltaine Blessing Fires

Before we dance between the Beltaine fires, here is a simple dance step that we would like to do

as we pass between the torches.  The Southern minions will demonstrate. We will all follow them

thru the flames.  They will do it thru  one time for us to see. Drummers can you give us the beat?

 

Do it thru one time. Then stay where they are.

 

Valan Speaks:

Now we will Invoke:

Now as we stand filled with the power of the Goddess, let us work the spell of the Beltaine fires

to drive away ill and bring us luck in the coming summer.

 

Fire tender lights the Torches.

 

Spel says:

We kindle these magic fires

In the presence of the mighty ones

In the power of renewal

 

Rise as the warmth of summer's sun

This Beltaine day

Kindle within each of our hearts

A flame of love

 and wit

 and might

To friend and foe and all beings

Bring peace and beauty to the land

As life begins anew.

 

Step lightly in the dance and leave your winter cares behind

Receive the blessing of the shining ones

As you pass between the faery fires

Dance now, in the joy of May!

 

Dance and pass between the two fires!

 

Drums drum joyously!!!

 

(Everyone dances and passes between the 2 fires, South  quarter team: start the lines! Pass

through to the West. They beckon those at the South-SouthEast to follow.. Everyone circles

sunwise, passing between the fires.

Much  drumming at this time!)

 

 

 

Spel:

 

Now the formal sacrifice is ended. We bid  the gods and elements farewell; to  go  or

to stay as they will. We bid our Ancestors to watch over us and guide us on our path.

 

 

Bless, O great ones

true and bountiful

Ourselves, our kind (pronounced kind, rhymes with sinned)

and our friends

May the Waters of Life sustain us

May the Fire of Passion enliven us

From day to day through every turning moon

From season to season

Through all the sacred year.

Let the seeds of Spring, shoot and bud

And let our lives blossom with the May.

By the magic of the old ways

Let all our blossoms come to fruit!

 

V says:

Let the fire be flame. (gong)

Let the well be water. (gong)

Let all be as it was before. (gong)

This rite is ended. (gong)

 

 

Fire-keeper  extinguishes the fire with water (Big bucketful of water = big smokey finale..

Start the Merry Meet song

Everybody claps and sings and hug.

 

References, blessings and credits to:

Mabinogian

Mara Freeman, Kindling the Celtic Spirit

M.M. Sutton, Ph.D, Druid Magic

Sirona Knight, Celtic traditions,

Emma Restall Orr, Spirits of the Sacred Ground

 C & J. Matthews, Encyclopedia of Celtic Wisdom

Jennifer Reif, Marline Haleff,  The Magical Crone