Beltaine Ritual – Honoring Aphrodite, the Goddess of Love
Beltaine, 2013, Valan the Druid

Shell givers, sage
Quarters
May Queen
Spel and Ash
Story Sage
Drummers
Tree, Well, Fire-giver

All enter the arch of palms and are given shells.
May Queen is first to proceed.

Ash:  The snow is melt -
Waterfalls and rivers gush
With its bounty
Tis the season of Renewal
And the Waters are LIFE!

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! 

Ash:  Join us now in the Pledge – repeat after me:

We swear by peace and Love to stand,
Heart to heart,
Hand to Hand.
Mark, o spirits, hear us now
Confirming this, our sacred vow.


STATEMENT OF PURPOSE

Spel: The Great Cold has loosed its icy grip on the seas of the North.
A frenzy of new life is spawned in those warming waters. Great whales
and other sea creatures once again swim North to feast and frolic
in the bounteous sea. A great goddess emerges from the waves –
beckoning us to partake in  this renewal.
Follow Her, and join the Rites of Spring!

Ash:  So, let us start this Beltaine Festival, in a way that will please
the Goddess of Love; with bubbles!!!!!


CIRCLE CASTING

All the quarters round with bubbles as we chant: 

All chant: We cast this circle with joy and light
           Loving Spirits, join our rite!


A 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.

Spel takes the Blessing cup and 
pours  “ale” onto the earth, outside the circle. 

THE WELL, THE TREE AND THE FIRE

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 asperge the fire pit 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)


Fire Tender:

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.

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

Ash: May we pray with a good fire!

ALL: May we pray with a good fire!


CALLING THE QUARTERS:

Spel:  And now we will have the quarters, starting in the East:

EAST:
In the early days of Spring, the wind loses its icy bite,
and becomes gently filled with the sounds of new life in the forests.
We gladly welcome this new life with the joy of laughter that rides
on this balmy breeze. Hail and Welcome!

Ash:  We will now summon the fires of the South.

South:
The spark of Life, the quickening!  The heat of Passion,
the flame of Romance – these things we gladly call into our circle tonight!
Hail and Welcome!

Spel:  And from the West, we summon all the water of this, our Blue Planet.

West:
She rises from the foamy waves, all glistening and new-born –
the Goddess of Love herself.  We beckon all Her minions and elementals;
those whose home is the waterfalls and streams, the mysterious Deep.
Be with us now.  Hail and Welcome!

Ash  And now, from the North – The Earth Herself.

North:
The voice of the forest, deep, low, and strong, pulsating through out
your body.  Listen to the silence of stone, the whisper of the trees,
the sigh of wheat fields and remember, She is our Mother.
Hail and Welcome!


THE MAGICKAL WORKING

Spel:
We live on a water planet – it spins onward, a lovely cerulean globe
with vast and mysterious seas. Today we honor the great goddess
who rose on the foam – Aphrodite. Be blessed with the waters
of Her Renewal and think lusty thoughts of the Rites of Spring.

Ash: Minions sprinkle water on your quarters. Drummers DRUM!!

Spel: And now we will have a poem of beltaine, from our Story Sage:

Story Sage:
The Hymm to Aphrodite, Homer
I sing of Aphrodite, the lover’s goddess,
Beautiful, gold crowned, a blossom 
riding on sea foam, resting on wind.
She comes ashore, and women in golden bracelets meet her,
Bearing silken garments for her lovely body,
Copper rings for her shell ears,
Chains of gold for her silver breasts.

They lead her from the seashore.
Do not look upon her!  Your eyes 
Would dazzle from such beauty.
But you do not need to see her.
You already know her. It is she
Who moves you in your dance.
She is the music of your life.
Do you need to ask her name?
Call her Love. Call her Joy.
Call her Golden Aphrodite.
She is the moment when body knits to body
and the world flowers.
She enlivens everything: 
plants 
In the meadow,
the ocean’s fish, 
animals hidden in the forest,
Birds tumbling on the wind.
She is our darling, who under
The wheeling stars, makes all
Things blossom and bear fruit.
At her approach storms clear,
Dark clouds dissolve to blue,
Sweet earth and all the oceans smile,
And her light dances brilliant 
Through the flourishing world.


OMEN TAKING:

Ash:
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 Ash 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.


THE BLESSING CUP

Spel: 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.

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, Spel raises the Blessing cup filled with juice.

Spel: Behold the drink of the gods!

All: Behold the drink of the gods!

Ash 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.

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!
Fire tender, please lights the Torches.  Drummers – drum!!!!!

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!)


DISMISSAL

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,
and we close with this lusty thought:

Spel and Ash:
Spel: The fires of Beltane kindle the night, reflecting the Green Man’s glance,

Ash:  The Queen of the May delights us all, with her spiral dance.

Spel:  "Follow me to the source of all" he said "I am eternal fire"

Ash:  "Come with me to the source of all" she said "I am your heart’s desire."

Ash 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)

Ash:  So say we all.
Many thanks to the Drummers, Minions and all who helped make this ritual
such a joyous one!

*******************************************************
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, 
Hymm to Aphrodite, Homer
©Valan Evers, 2013
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