The Magic of Beltane
The flowers open: red, pink, blue, and white. There is a surge of color as the promise of Imbolc’s opening seed comes forth in the lush symphony of full-on spring. We have gathered together to celebrate Beltane in the past, yet today are held back by the Covid circulating among us. We are coming out of the dark in some areas, while in others the people struggle to break free and reconnect.
So, for this one day—or when you are able—and as spring unfolds, you can connect with nature in an ancient way. Take a walk. Listen to the sea kissing the shore. Smell the vibrant flower petals who call in the native bee with their crafty scent. Beltane is not about one calendar day, but about embracing the time when the flush of growth comes forth from the verdant earth.
Let us honor the spirits of winter passing; The Cailleach, winter’s goddess and Cernunnos in his winter form. Let us honor the spirits in the coming of the lush new season: Aine, the spring dancer and the inner king/queen destined to marry the land. Take a minute outdoors to call to these ancient Celtic shades.
Cernunnos (KER noo nohs) is the guardian of nature, a strong man spirit with stag horns on his head. He represents our true nature, connected with the wild. His mantra is Hu Hu Hu. He likes cedar incense. Face West and say:
Cernunnos, I honor you: As spring warms, return to the wild! Enjoy the meadows of summer. Bring fertility to the earth.
The Cailleach is the old bone mother. She is who we come from when born and who we return to when we die. She is the mother of the Cairn and holds crone energy. She guards and transforms grief into life. She is the great recycler and holds winter’s fierce storms. It is now time for her to come into the warmth of spring. Face North and say:
Cailleach, I honor you (and the other crone mothers):
Cast off your winter cloak and come in from the cold. Warm your old bones by the sun of summer, rising now.
We are at the hinge of the year. Winter falls behind, summer comes in. From the dark to the light.
In spring we welcome the maiden. She is Aine (Anya, Irish), Nemetona (British), Niwalen (Welsh). She guards the sacred grove and keeps growth alive. She holds the key to our emotional health and carries a strong fertility. Face East and say:
We call the blossom maid: Aine, Nemtona, Niwalen.
Your fresh petals amaze and embrace us.
You rise from the earth fertile and fresh.
The bright king rises up in the spring, preparing to honor and marry the land and ensure bountiful harvests through the summer. Face South and say:
As the Sun returns, we celebrate the king above.
Named Aengus, Nodens, Maponos, or Lleu,
we celebrate the return of the light.
The king on high, carrying the solar light.
Bringing fertility to the world.
Call to your ancestors, who have danced in the sacred grove generation after generation.
You may wish to sing and dance a bit, celebrating the return of warmth to the land.
The earth, the air, the fire, the water
Return, return, return, return
Make an offering of some kind to the land.
Marriage to the Land
As we embrace Beltane, we can honor both our inner king and queen, no matter our gender identity. While older ceremonies put men and women into specific gender roles, we can all be open to connecting with both the polarities of the female land and the masculine solar king. And we can honor the merging of them, which creates the fertility and prosperity of the verdant spring growth.
You may wish to do a brief ceremony inside your own body that embraces the union of Sun and Earth to consecrate the season:
Now stand and let the earth power rise.
Feel the female fertility of the Earth set into your loins.
Hold the womb of the earth inside you.
Open the womb to receive the spring’s blessings.
Let the Maiden of May join with you.
Now stand and let the solar power descend.
Feel the male power set into your loins.
Carry the phallus of the Sun in your own body.
Strengthen the power into a strong shaft.
Let the King of the land join with you.
Now feel the Earth power rise, and the Sun power descend.
Feel the union of male and female meet in your loins,
and the fertilized seed of a new year begin.
The May-rod is joined to the earth.
The king is married to the queen of the land.
The luck of the season is born.
The life of the earth restored.
Out of the union of sun and earth, sky and land, the seed of prosperity is fertilized.
Think about the prosperity in your life that you are grateful for.
Call forward the increases and growth you need as you enter a new season.
Give thanks to the earth for her bounty.
Give thanks to the sky for his power.
Receive the bounty into your soul and carry it forward with you.
In Spirit, Reid