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A Beltaine Ritual


I wrote this ritual in 2004, and it's one of my favorites.  Beltaine probably inspires me more than any other sabbat, probably due to living in Michigan and not getting my first real taste of Spring until mid-April.  I remember this particular ritual being a true beast to write because a friend of mine asked for the whole thing to be in poetry form, which I did, and it took weeks.  I sat on my porch the entire month of April counting syllables on my finger to make sure every line had the ten syllables it was suppossed to have.  I'm sure I looked a little silly, I just hope the results were worth it. 

There are a few characters which pop in this ritual, most notably the Maiden and the Goatboy.  At most of our spring sabbats we celebrate the wild crazy primal force of the God in the spring as the Goatboy, kind of a young version of the Green Man.  His object of affection is the Maiden of the Spring, and being childish, the Goatboy never quites knows how to express those affections.

This is a fun, silly, yet serious ritual that's best done with a large group.  All italicized words indiciate speech.

~All material written by Jason Mankey, unless otherwise noted.~

Beltaine 2004

Statement of Intent:

The Lord of the Land joins to the Maiden of Spring; all of the world joins in the dance of love and quickening. Desire weds with delight, and all of nature finds renewal. In the Beltane Fires all dark things perish, for the darkness cannot hide from the cleansing Light. This is the time of the setting of the fruit, which shall grow and ripen until the Autumn. Now begins the time of increasing and burgeoning growth, which will see its fulfillment as the Lady turns her silver wheel. Of all the festivals of the year, Beltane is the most joy-filled. With the last touch of hard winter gone, and all of the promise of spring ahead, with the first labor of sowing completed, lambs in the fold, calves in the field, and young foals frisking at the heels of their mothers, there is time to take a joyful breath and celebrate before the labors of summer begin. Now is the time for music and dance, for flirtations and dalliances in the warm spring night, and-who knows?-for the breathless touch of Love. (Mercedes Lackey-from "A Celtic Book of Days" CD by David Arkenstone)

Quarter Calls East/Air

Come to us o spirits of air, come to us on this spring day fair. Bring to us the warm flowing breeze, stir the young spring leaves! Touch us with your powers of inspiration as we sing and dance tonight in celebration.

South/Fire

Come to us o spirits of fire, help us set winter on the funeral pyre. Bring to us the long sun soaked days, let us dance in summers rays! Touch us with your powers of passion as we celebrate the Spring in!

Water/West

Come to us o spirits of water, come to us as the days grow hotter. Bring to us the gentle spring rains, let there be blooms upon the plains! Touch us with your loving sonng as we make love all night log.

North/Earth

Come to us o spirits of earth, come to us full of laughter and mirth. Bring to us the fresh green grasses, and the lovely Beltaine lasses! Touch us with your powers of healing and join us in our Mayday reeling!

Circle Casting

 I cast this Beltaine circle upon the beautiful Spring night. I cast this circle to guard our Mayday rite. With this circle I designate sacred space Only those with positive intent may be in this place! So mote it be!

Spring Poem

The earth shrugs off its coat of wintery snow
 Buds begin to form upon the quiet trees
It becomes clear that winter has to go T
he sun breaks free of February's freeze
Day begins to overtake the dark night
Green peaks out of the once frozen ground
Long absent flowers reach for the suns light
The jay sings her almost forgotten sound
Spring has come to play its warm joyful song
Tonight we dance upon the new green grass
We laugh, we circle, knowing we can do no wrong
In the space where the Lord and Lady pass
Happiness is Beltaine surrounded by friends
Outside upon the Earth the Maiden tends.

Call to the God

Lord of the Sky we call to you tonight He who shines down upon us as the sun Awakening life with your golden light With your power and might all things are done Lord of the forest we call to you now Guardian of the new green growing things Sacred keeper of shovel, scythe and plow Let us offer thanks to all that you bring. Lord of lust, union, dreams and desire Join us in our springtime revels and play Ignite our minds and hearts with passions fire Help us to steal a kiss this night of May The Great God is with us this sacred night Feel his power, love, compassion, and might. Blessed Be!

Call to the Goddess

Lady of the Moon we call to you tonight Reflection of beauty, love, and mystery She who is the bright soul of the dark night Worshipped throughout time and history Maiden of the spring we call out to you She who walks upon the carpet of green She who paints the sky a lovely spring hue Lady whose touch awakens all that's seen Gaia goddess, soul of this planet Earth Join us as we honor you this night Touch us with love, joy, happiness and mirth. Dance with us as we celebrate your light. The Lady has joined us in our rite Sing her praises this sacred Beltaine night. Blessed Be!

Charge of the God   (see my Charge of the God on this website!)

Charge of the Goddess  (I've always prefered by the Doreen Valiente version)

Drawing Down the Might

In this part of the ritual the Lord and Lady are drawn into all the participants of the ritual. Everyone pairs up and turns are taken in the drawing down. The high priestess reads the words of the drawing down the first time through, the high priest the second.

Lord and Lady of might
In all your beauty bright,
Shine on us here
And with your silver beam
Unlock the gates of dream
Rise bright and clear
On Earth and sky and sea
 Your magick mystery
Its spell shall cast
Wherever leaf may grow
Wherever tide may flow
Till all be past.
O sacred gods of power
At this enchanted hour
We ask your boon.
May fortunes favor fall
Upon true witches all
Lord of the sun,
Lady of the moon.

 {Kneel before your partner.}

Blessed be thy feet which have brought you to the Old ways.
Both feet are lightly kissed.
Blessed be thy knees which shall kneel at the sacred altar.
Both knees are kissed.
Blessed be thy eros, without which we would not be.
The stomach is kissed.
Blessed be thy heart, from which all love springs.
The heart area is kissed, above the breasts.
Blessed be thy mind, which shall picture the sacred forms.
The forehead is kissed.
I Invoke and beseech Thee,
O mighty Ones of all life and fertility.
By seed and root, by stem and bud, by leaf and flower and fruit, by Life and Love, do I invoke Thee to descend into the body of thy servants. The Lord and Lady have arrived have this sacred day in May.


Deflowering the Maidens

After the Lord and Lady are drwan down, the Maiden takes the flowers on the altar and begins to hand them out to all the women in the circle.  After all the flowers are passed out and nice things are said, the Goatboy gets jealous and rallies the without flower people.

The GoatBoy/Green Man  I say we deflower these Maidens of the SpringLet us steal a kiss from them as a way to deflower them.

The Maiden is shocked by such behavior and says she will not allow herself to be deflowered by deplorable goatpeople. Much chasing ensues before all are caught and then kissed. This turns into the spiral dance after all the chasing has ended.

Cakes and Ale

Male:  We stand upon the Earth, most sacred and ancient of all altars.
The gifts of the Goddess and the God all arise from the bounty of the Earth.
Great eternal womb from which all life flows you are the altar, eternal seed from which life springs, you are the altar.

Female:  Altar of mysteries, curious wonder and marvelous miracles, the Earth is our sacred space.
The Earth, where all life unites as one. As a sign of the ancient ways I anoint thee with a kiss upon thy lips.

Male and Female lightly kiss.

Female:  Open for us the secret way, the pathway of knowledge and wisdom, beyond the gates of life and death, beyond the gates of night and day, beyond the bounds of time and space, where all things become one in the eyes and heart of the Goddess and the God. The chalice is held up and the athame is plunged into it.

Male:  Here where womb and phallus unite, wonders begin and life starts anew.

Female:  Now we shall bless the cakes and ale.

Male:  We ask the Lord and Lady to bless these cakes, bless the grain which arises from the womb of the Earth, bless the sweetness of life tasted within the sugar, and bless the cooperation needed to make them. Blessed Be!

Female:   We ask the Lady and Lord to bless this wine. Bless the grapes which spring from a tiny seed, bless the alcohol-the elixir of life, and bless the fellowship which arises when we share it. Blessed Be!

Cakes and Ale are passed around while a short story (not about Dionysus*) is shared.

Goodbyes

The God
The sun sinks in the night sky
The time has come to say goodbye
Farewell to the Lord of the wood
God of all that is growing and good
We bid you farewell at the ritual end
Fond farewells and blessings we send!  Blessed Be!

The Goddess
The Maiden turns to Mother
As she has now found her new lover
We bid farewell to the Maiden of spring
Thanking her for the joy she brings
Thanks to the Lady we are never alone,
She that is Maiden, Mother, and Crone! Blessed Be!

Releasing the Circle/Closing the Quarters (to be said by Circle Caster):

Thus I release the East and West Thanks to them from Host to Guest Thus I release the South and North With "Blessed Be' I send them forth! The Circle's open, dance we so Out and homeward we shall go. Earth and Water, Air and Fire Celebrated our desire. Winter's cold is gone away Now it is the Day of May. By Fin and Feather, Leaf and Tree, Our circle's done; and Blessed Be! (from the ADF Bardic Beltane Ritual)

Closing Poem

The Little darling Spring has run away
The sunshine grew too hot for her to stay
 She kissed her sister, Summer,and she said "
When I am gone, you must be queen instead"
Now reigns the Lady Summer,
round whose feet A thousand fairies flock with blossoms sweet.

Closing Statement

 This ritual is now at an end, we welcome the Spring and the Summer soon to follow. Though we now leave this place our celebrations have but begun. Let all we do tonight be in celebration of our community and the wonders of the Springtime.

* I actually prefer stories about Dionysus at every sabbat, hell at every social event, but some of my friends are tired of them, or are worried that they might laugh too hard while drinking their ale and eating their cakes.
 Blessed Be! words copyright 2004 by Jason W. Mankey, unless otherwise noted

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