Beltaine Ritual, 2008 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, scimitar
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.

Celebrants
Valan                      		Fire Keeper - Ricky
Spel  (with Horns)			Keeper of the Sacred Well - 
Story sages:  				Jingles Tree Tender - 
Sage smudger: Iasis			Circle caster -

Quarter teams (3 in each team)

Processional:  Quarter teams first,  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 "Aye-sir" and the "Van-eer"
to offer to the Nature Spirits; 
and to offer to the beloved Shining Ones. 
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!

Valan:

For winter's rains and ruins are over,
And all the season of snows and sins;
The days dividing lover and lover,
The light that loses, the night that wins;
And time remembered is grief forgotten,
And frosts are slain and flowers begotten,
And in green underwood and cover
Blossom by blossom the spring begins.

Spel:
Now the bright morning-star, Day's harbinger,
Comes dancing from the East, and leads with her
The flowery May, who from her green lap throws
The yellow cowslip and the pale primrose.
Hail, bounteous May, that dost inspire
Mirth, and youth, and warm desire!
Woods and groves are of thy dressing;
Hill and dale doth boast thy blessing.
Thus we salute thee with our early song,
And welcome thee, and wish thee long.  

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 microphone, 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 microphone. Liift the "tree" on high 
Please hold it dramatically aloft.  (reading taped to container)

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 go to microphone and 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.

Valan:  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: 
I summon now, the power of Air, and all its Creatures

Owl who knows, Raven who talks
Far-flying Goose, far-seeing Hawk
Quail the humble, Wren the king
Crane to dance, Thrush to sing
Lark who revels, Loon who weeps
Jay who scatters, Buzzard who reaps
This is the Air I conjure, and this is the birth of the world.

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
I summon now, the power of Fire, and all its Creatures

Drake who hoards, Kirin who gives
Angel heals, Chimera reaves
Coal the slow, lightning the quick
Salamander, power's wick
Soul who praises, Gryphon scorns
Phoenix dies to be reborn
This is the Fire I conjure, and this is the birth of the world.

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:
I summon now, the power of the Sea, and all its Creatures

Whale who chants, Dolphin who speaks
Clam content, Salmon who seeks
Pike who rages, Shark who mourns
Walrus steadies, Carp transforms
Seal who gathers, Crab the lone
Otter wave-borne, Eel in stone
This is the Sea I conjure, and this is the birth of the world.

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: 
I summon now, the power of the Earth, and all its Creatures

Cat who conjures, Sheep who dreams
Deer who worries, Boar who schemes
Mouse who teaches, Horse who learns
Hare the playful, Goat the stern
Stag who guards, Puma who preys
Wolf who wanders, Bear who stays
This is the Earth I conjure, and this is the birth of the world.

Hail and Welcome! Caller goes back to the North.
(All the Northern team lays their palms in front of their altar)

Sacrifice to the outsiders 

Spel:
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.

He takes the Blessing cup and 
pours  "ale" onto the earth, outside the circle 


Casting the Circle 

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

Circle caster

We cast the circle with a blade
Sacred space securely made!


Spel:
And now we'll have the story sage.
DRUMMERS:  Drum him in!

Story Sage: Jingles
On this feast-day we honor the god of woodlands and free places, 
desire and spring vitality, the great god Pan.

Story...

Pan, the goat-foot god, is the god of woods and pastures, and also 
the mountain peaks and rocky crests are his domain. He wanders 
along the hills, slaying wild beasts. But in the evenings he plays 
sweet and low on his pipes of reed, with singing holding him 
company. 

Pan fell in love with the nymph Syrinx (SEER-INCKS), who had until 
then eluded the pursuit of both SATYRS and gods. Sirynx (SEER-
INCKS) disdained Pan, and spurning his love, refused to take him as 
a sweetheart, he, who was neither man nor goat. The god then 
pursued her, but she came to the stream of the river and no longer 
being able to escape, she asked to the nymphs of the river to change 
her form. And the nymphs, ever sweet and helpful, turned her into 
marsh reeds. 
So when Pan arrived at the river's edge, and wished to hold her, 
there was nothing left of her except the reeds - and the sound which 
the air produced in them. 
On hearing the sweet music the wind in the reeds made, Pan was 
charmed, and thinking of Syrinx (SEER-INCKS), said to himself in 
triumph: I shall carve for myself a pipe, that whenever it is played 
upon, will woo my beloved, and ease my broken heart.

With flicker of living light, ablaze
We dance within the spiral maze
To haunting song of pipe and drum
Now weaving out, and in you come
Time, hast danced the pole of May
Where love embraces night and day
Let lovers join through life and time
This be my gift, this be my rhyme
I give to thee pure joy beheld
Let vine and song and music, meld
Step light, to Earth; let anger cease
Comes quick; the dance of fears release!


Everyone join me in a joyous dance - 3 times round the fire!   
Drummers, if you please?

(short dance) Jingles goes back to his spot

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

Spel Speaks:

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, please lights the Torches.

Valan 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. 

Spel:
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-South East 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. 

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!

Take your beloved, kiss her lips and take her hands,
And walk among the long dappled grass,
And pluck till time and times are done,
The silver apples of the Moon,
The golden apples of the Sun.

Valen 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 smoky finale.)
Start the Merry Meet song
Everybody claps and sings and hug.

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

References, blessings and credits to: 
W.Butler Yeats , The song of wandering Aengus"
Mabinogian
Pan. Ovid, Metamorphoses 1.710
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
Sir Thomas Malory, Le Morte d'Arthur
John Milton, Song on a May Morning
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