Beltane Ritual and Handfasting
Performed May 1, 1999
Ft. Lauderdale Unitarian Universalist Church
Designed by Eustacia Blackstar, Circle of the Sun
(email Eustacia)

Note: This ritual was performed for 200 people in an open field during 
daylight hours.  If it is to be performed for a large group, I suggest the 
Quarters be called across the Circle in order to hear well.  As the Quarter 
Calls are rather feminine in feeling, it would be best to have the callers be 
women.  For the Cakes and Ale portion, have at least four participants from 
each Quarter serve.  Rehearsal is a must.  At the very least, the opening 
rhyme should be memorized. The more effort that is put into costuming, altar 
decoration and other special effects, the better. A large and small fire was 
prepared.  The Maypole was decorated. Drummers played when appropriate.
Performance time is about an hour without the Maypole dancing.  


(Ring bell)
HP  Oye, Oye, Be it known that the Grand Sabbat of Beltane  is about to 
begin.  Let none be here but of their own free will.
("Door to Fairie" is played on tape)

You must enter the Circle in Perfect Love and Perfect Trust.  Let us begin 
therefore, by leaping the fire, which is an ancient act of purification. (You 
may want to explain that this is optional and not recommended for children.)

(Participants will jump over a small fire that has burned to coals.
Lady Bridget sings "Jump the Fire")

(As the Circle forms, HP goes to front of altar and raises his arms)

HP As we have done before in many incarnations, we gather on this blessed day 
to celebrate Beltane.  The fertile summer season has begun.  We come to 
praise the bountiful Goddess and her God consort who unite today in sacred 
marriage.  Come to me, my Lady.  For it is in the joining of male and female 
that all life begins.

(HPS enters on horseback and rides around the Circle with wand raised. She 
is preceded by the " Flower Fairy" a young girl who skips in tossing "fairy 
dust" ie. confetti.)

HPS  (She has dismounted and stands in front of the altar with fairy and HP)
On Beltane Eve the balefires burn
As we assist, the seasons turn.
Welcome Summer! The joy you bring.
Blessed be the Sun God King.

Fairy
Gather then the morning dew,
For potions to make dreams come true.
Fairies now may come to play,
As we greet the first of May.

HP
'Round the Maypole dance we might
That God and Goddess will unite.
And earth and beast and home shall be
Blessed with fertility.

(HPS casts Circle with wand)  I cast the Circle 'round and 'round.  By its 
protection we are bound.

(HP and Fairy carry around salted water, smudge stick and feather.)  By 
earth and air, fire and rain, the Circle is closed.  We must remain.

HP  Beltane is an ancient fire festival.  As you hold the sacred flame, 
receive its blessing of passion and energy.  (Pass glass candle.)  So mote 
it be!


HPS If you believe, and remain a child at heart, Beltane is the season to 
see fairies. Let's call to them now!

East
Children of the Air, fairies all, hearken to this Beltane call!  Bring winds 
of magick, breaths of Spring. Let our lives with music sing.


South
Children of the Fire, fairies all, hearken to this Beltane call!  Bring 
sparks of laughter. Passions enflame.  Let us all be glad we came.

West
Children of the Water, fairies all, hearken to this Beltane call!  Bring 
waves of gladness. Cares wash away. Quench our thirst for love today.


North
Children of the Earth, fairies all, hearken to this Beltane call!  Bring 
fertile thoughts and keep us grounded, as we strive to be well rounded.


HP Blessed spirits, fairies all, hearken to this Beltane call.  The Lord 
and Lady we invite.  Come to us this Beltane night.

HPS And if you choose to hear our plea.  Bless us with fertility

(Note:  HP and HPS should not be "tied" to the altar but should move about 
the Circle as much as possible to facilitate hearing and inclusion.)

HP (You may be seated.)
We offer sweets to the fairy spirits.  (Fairy places offering on altar)  
Come  to us and show us your ways.  Teach us herblore, divination, and
all of nature's lessons.


HPS  Close your eyes.  Breathe deeply.  Visualize a natural wooded setting.  
Sit down beneath a large tree with your back against it.  Feel its strength.  
Connect with its life force.  Relax in this setting, letting all your 
tensions and worries pour into the tree, down through its roots and into the 
soil.  You feel renewed and completely alive.

Now look around you.  Be aware of the wildflowers, the ferns and the sunlight 
as it glimmers through the leafy green canopy above your head.  Take another 
deep breath and go deeper into your mind's eye.  Do you see a tiny flicker of 
light that catches your attention?  Do you hear a faint whirling sound like 
tiny wings? Perhaps you hear the soft tinkling of bells. All these things 
signal the presence of a fairy. If you see nothing, consult the child inside 
you, for he or she surely will.

If a fairy seems present, welcome it and ask it politely if it could teach 
you what you most need to know at this time.  A flower fairy might reveal an 
herb's usefulness to heal you.  A stone fairy might show you how to meditate 
with a particular stone.  A divination fairy might give you a peak into the 
future.  Spend a few moments with the fairy and learn from its wisdom.

( Lady Bridget sings "Here in the Woods.")

When this experience is complete for you, you may open your eyes.  Remember 
that you can always return to the woods.  Many lessons can be learned from 
the fairies, if you will only listen and believe.


HP Children of the God and Goddess, we have created sacred space.  We have 
invited the Lord and Lady. We called on the fairies to create here a truly a 
magickal realm. Now it is our duty on this Beltane eve to ensure the 
fertility of the coming season.  As a representation of what we hope to 
achieve, we will unite a couple in the sacred Rite of Handfasting.  This is 
the magickal joining of a man and a woman for a year and a day, or "as long 
as love shall last."                                                          
                                                                     

Will the Handfasting couple step forward.  It is said that you both wish 
handfasting before the Gods.  Is this so? (It is.) Are there any impediments, 
legal or otherwise why you should not be joined for at least a year and a 
day? (There are none.)

HPS (places wreaths on the heads of the couple and anoints each one) You are 
consecrated in the names of the Lord and the Lady.

HP The Lord and Lady have taught us that Handfasting is to form an equal 
partnership, tied together by the tenuous bonds of emotion and love.  It is 
the most fragile of relationships and yet the strongest.  It is fragile 
because it requires exactly the right mix of freedom and interdependence, of 
caring and of sharing, of being together and of being alone.

     It is strong because it involves the unseen forces of something we call 
love, mutual devotion, concern for the happiness of the other, joy in each 
other's company.  There is no stronger force than this silent bond of love.
  
      Remember that this joining is only a symbol of what already exists in the 
silent places of your hearts.  It is yours to define, yours to make real and 
yours to live.

      Starwind Evensong, have you considered these matters and are you very 
clear regarding the expectations of the Lord and the Lady? (I am.)

      Then repeat after me: Lord and Lady, in this place of power, I ask of 
you this: As I breathe your energy into my body, grant that I might see the 
divine in all.  Grant me the hand of he whom I seek.  Allow me to become his 
soul mate and to care for and comfort him.  Allow me to accept with gratitude 
the love that he offers me.
 
HPS Mikal Evensong, have you considered the matters of which we have spoken, 
and are you clear regarding the expectations of the Lord and the Lady? (I am.)

   Then repeat after me: Lord and Lady, in this place of power, I ask of 
you this: As I breathe your energy into my body, grant that I might see the 
divine in all.  Grant me the hand of she whom I seek.  Allow me to become her 
soul mate and to care for and comfort her. Allow me to accept with gratitude 
the love that she offers me.

HP Are there symbols of this union that you wish to exchange?

(Rings are place in a chalice)  HP and HPS hold chalice between them.  May 
these symbols be blessed and consecrated.  May they ever be a reminder of the 
love shared here today. So mote it be. (Return rings.)

HP Starwind Evensong, repeat after me: I, Starwind, take thee Mikal to my 
heart and my spirit.  It is my greatest hope that our journey together will 
not end in this lifetime, but that we shall be born again at the same time 
and in the same place and that we shall meet and know and remember and love 
again. 

SWE (places ring on his finger) Thou art God, Mikal Evensong, and I love thee.

HPS Mikal Evensong, repeat after me: I, Mikal, take thee Starwind to my heart 
and my spirit. It is my greatest hope that our journey together will not end 
in this lifetime, but that we shall be born again at the same time and in the 
same place and that we shall meet and know and remember and love again.

ME (places ring on her finger) Thou art Goddess, Starwind Evensong, and I 
love thee.

(The hands of the couple are joined with a red cord)
HP These bonds symbolize the eternal coming together.  This is the binding 
of the feminine powers of creation with the masculine powers of bringing to 
fruition.

HPS As the sun warms the earth to bring forth life, so shall you two create 
something new by the blending of your energies.  And by so doing, you 
represent us all in the great scheme.  Beltane is the Sabbat of fertility.  
As you make your love grow, the magick will spread far and wide and all the 
land will be blessed.

HP/HPS In the names of the Lord and the Lady, as is the tradition, we 
proclaim that your hands are fasted.
So mote it be.  You may kiss. (Fairy throws "fairy dust")

(Remove bonds)

RavenHawk's Poem (The couple's son recited a poem.)

HP It is traditional for the handfasted couple to jump the besom.  This 
represents the transition into a new life. (Fairy and RavenHawk hold the 
besom as the couple steps across.)

HPS Go now together. Greet your brothers and sisters and receive their 
blessings.
(Couple goes around the Circle. There may be some souvenir that they would 
like to pass out as well. During this time Lady Bridget is singing "The 
Pagan Wedding Song")

(Cakes and Ale are passed.)

(Chalices are lifted)
HP Now is the time to give thanks to the Gods for the fertile blessings of 
Beltane.

HPS May we ever be aware of all that we owe and be grateful.

HP Eat and drink.  Share and be happy.

HPS And as we share, let us remember that all we have, we share with those 
who have nothing.  So mote it be.

( Lady Bridget will sing a couple more songs.)

(Note: try to find someone to sing, as we did, or taped music may be used.)

HP As the ritual began, so it will end. But our celebration will not end 
here.  We will enact together the Great Rite.  The God and Goddess will 
unite as we dance the Maypole. At the end of the ritual, our Handfasted 
couple will lead us there.  Now let us dismiss the Quarters:

East

Spirits of air, sweet fairies of May
Thank you for this Beltane Day.
Fly away quickly into the wind
So the magic can begin.

South

Spirits of flame, fairies of fire
Grant me soon my deepest desire
Home with you now to your place in my heart
And merry meet, and merry part.

West

Spirits of water, fairies of dew
Help us make our dreams come true.
Away you must go to your home in the sea
Thanks for your message. The magick is me.

North

Spirits of earth, fairies of sand
Thank you for lending a helping hand
As you go off to your home in the mound
We'll always remember that you are around


HPS
Lord and Lady, spirits of power
Thank you for joining us this hour
As you return to your place in the light
Bless us and keep us this Beltane night.


HP: The Circle is open but unbroken. Merry Meet. Merry Part. 
Merry Meet Again.  Blessed Be.
All Sing: To the Maypole we will go etc, my fair lady. (Tune is London 
Bridges)
(Participants proceed to Maypole.  "Circles" or "Lord of the Dance" is 
played on tape unless there is live drumming.)

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

Altar:  altar cloth, lots of flowers, God/Goddess candles, dish of salt 
water, smudge stick/feather, chalices, book stands, BOS, two head wreaths, 
red cord, besom, wand, tape recorder, cakes and ale, (powdered donut 
holes and ginger ale work well) bell etc. A horse is great for effect 
if possible.

2008 Eustacia Blackstar. Unauthorized use is strictly prohibited.
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