Beltaine Ritual 2010
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, Well, etc. Rune bag, Blessing cups, sage
All these are set on altar which is 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

CELEBRANTS:
Valan                                   FireKeeper - Ricky
Spel  (with Horns)                Keeper of the Sacred Well  
Story Sage:                          Tree Tender 
Sage Smudger:                    Circle Caster

Quarter teams (3 in each team)

Processional:  Quarter teams first, then Spel and Valan the Druid,
the May Queen and consort, 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.)

Spelcastor:
Bonfires burn. Sparks fly,
becoming fairies floating
on gilded, gliderwings. 
They lift the veil 'tween our
world and theirs 
but once, this night.

Statement of Purpose and Precedent:  

Valan:
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!

Spel:
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.

The Keeper of the Well -
 (KW) 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) the "Tree" is by or on the North altar
 Walk to microphone. Lift 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:

Valan:
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.

Spel:
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 home.

(Spel tosses branch on fire.)

Valan:
 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: 
Gate of the Winds
Soaring birds in flight,
Fragrance of a rain-washed spring morning:
Bring the rosy dawn,
Hail to all new beginnings,
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:
Gate of Fire
Su-scorched desert,
Lioness prowling the savannah,
Fierce and ready to leap,
High-noon of Summer heat
Hail to all great passions.

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:
Gates of the Waters,
Fishes in rippled schools,
Vast and endless ocean
Salty womb from which we sprang
Rushing rivers, and lakes like blue jewels,
Hail to all-engulfing feelings
Foam-born, we taste your sweetness.

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: 
Gate of the Earth
Hunting wolf and great bear,
High mountain chain your spine,
Green hills your breasts
Your belly, a midnight valley cloaked in snow
Your bones, the solid rock beneath my feet.
Hail to all firm commitments.

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.) 

Valan:
We have called to the quarters, now let us open the gates. 

Opening the Gates:

Oil and Incense are added to the cauldron:
"Mannanan Mac Lir, Keeper of the Gate, We ask You in reverence,
to keep our passage safe.
Part the mists of the Worlds Beyond here, 
Keep us safe, and keep us near.

Spel:
And now we’ll have the Story Sage.

DRUMMERS:  Drum him in!

Story Sage:

In my wanderings, I have heard many a strange and wondrous tale.
This I heard from a dark-eyed man, whose clothes were barbaric
and bold, with striped vest and wide-legged trews - with flashing
teeth and hair as black as a raven’s wing. It is a story from
his native land – a land of endless, shifting sands, sands
that shimmer beneath the great fierce eye of a relentless sun.

It is a soft and tender story - it is the tale of a Goddess-Queen
and her love for her Consort; a Love so vast that it spans all history
– and is rooted in the Realm of the Eternal.

Listen well, and know that what I tell is Truth from the Land of
The Great Desert.  It is the story of Isis and Osiris.

They were a Divine Couple and blissfully in Love. And promised
each other that their love would span both this life and the Eternal.
And so they ruled the great kingdoms of Egypt, blissful, and
blissfully unaware, that Osiris's brute of a brother, Set, wanted
Isis for his own and would stop at nothing to have a chance to win her!

He plotted and conspired and after several futile attempts, finally
managed to slay the poor Osiris.  If that wasn't enough, Set chopped
Osiris' mortal body into many pieces and scattered them along the Nile
riverbank. This is important, because the only way for an Egyptian
to enjoy Immortality in the Afterlife is to have a whole, complete
body for mummification. By scattering Osiris across the landscape
of Egypt, Set was trying to insure that Osiris had no possibility
of an Afterlife.

So great was Isis' grief, that she spent years mourning her Love,
and wandered – determined to find each and every piece of her dead
husband – thus, enabling him to enter the world of the Dead –
where she could join him when it came time for her to set foot
on the Path to Eternity.

And, so it came to pass, that she DID find all of his pieces -
except for one – and this she fashioned out of pure gold.
So, she assembled Osiris and worked powerful magic and knit his body
back together. He rose from his earthly remains, and with a kiss
and a promise to meet her in the UnderWorld, he started his journey
to the Realm of the Dead.

Isis, in her wrath and fury at Set spurned him - and cast him off.
So, defeated, Set took his place as the Lord of the Earthly Realm,
and the Lord of Chaos.  Isis, for her part, was happy knowing
that she can spend all Eternity by the side of her true love.
Osiris, for his part, because the Lord of the Underworld, and awaits
his queen, Isis, to meet him for all Eternity.

Thus ends one of the world’s great love stories.  Remember Isis,
and be true and faithful to your love. And may you, too, find a love
that spans the breadth of Time itself!

Story Sage fades back.

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.  Drummers - drum!!!!!


Valan:
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.
May truth and honor be your friend and lucky be your days
I'll hold you dearly in my heart, I'll hold you in my mind
And though our branches grow apart, our roots shall be entwined.

Valan 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 son:

Merry meet and merry part,
May the Peace of the Goddess be ever in your heart,
Merry meet, and merry part, and merry meet again.

Everybody claps and sings and hug.

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

References, blessings and credits to:
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

John Milton, Song on a May Morning
Beltaine, Karen A. Romanko
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