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Beltane: Creative Transformation

Beltane 2011. Presented by about 6 people for a private Pagan event ritual for about 50 people.

Tools and Materials:

Chalk; cue cards for everyone; maypole with element coloured ribbons; covered maypole base; egg shakers to match the ribbons; cardboard chips to match the ribbons; baskets for egg shakers and cardboard chips; scissors (to remove extra ribbons from the maypole if necessary); small altar with red pillar candle, incense in burner, athame, plate of buns, and goblet of water.

Set-up:

The maypole’s base is set in the centre of the space. Two concentric circles are drawn in chalk around it. The inner is marked with a counter-clockwise arrow and the words “water” and “air”. The outer is marked with a clockwise arrow and the words “fire” and “earth”. An altar is placed in the north quarter, at the bottom of the lodge’s stairs. The baskets of egg shakers and cardboard chips and the scissors are under the altar. The maypole itself will be laid on the deck behind the altar with the ribbons folded up and tied to it.

Call to Ritual:

On the stairs of the deck of the main lodge, just behind the altar, J. plays her guitar and R. drums while they sing, to the tune of “I Love the Mountains” *:

I love the oxygen.
I love the Eastern winds.
I love the breezes.
I love the winged things.
I love the whole world;
It’s such a brilliant place.

Boom dee ah dah. Boom dee ah dah.
Boom dee ah dah. Boom dee ah dah.
Boom dee ah dah. Boom dee ah dah.
Boom dee ah dah. Boom dee ah dah.

I love the bright sun.
I love the Southern flames.
I love the campfire.
I love the passion’s flames.
I love the whole world;
It’s such a brilliant place.

Boom dee ah dah. Boom dee ah dah. (x4)

I love the ocean.
I love the Western fish.
I love the clear brooks.
I love the surge and swish.
I love the whole world;
It’s such a brilliant place.

Boom dee ah dah. Boom dee ah dah. (x4)

I love the mountains.
I love the Northern hills.
I love the soil.
I love the daffodils.
I love the whole world;
It’s such a brilliant place.

Boom dee ah dah. Boom dee ah dah. (to fade)

As people start to gather and join in on the chorus, C. begins to take people’s hands and starts to circle the space until everyone (except the other people in the ritual) has joined hands in a long snake. When this starts happening, L. takes the red pillar candle and T. takes the incense from the altar and stand facing each other in the South-East quarter. C. leads everyone between the candle and incense as a cleansing, and then leads everyone to form the circle. Once the circle is formed, the quarter people take their spots and R. and J. come down from the porch to stand in the centre of the space, near the maypole base.

Opening the Ritual:

Cast the Circle (C.): As above, so below. As the universe, so the soul. As without, so within. This Circle is cast. Blessed be.

Call East (T.): East, wind, breath, song. Breathe in the gifts of the plants and exhale to gift it back; round and round. We welcome Air. Blessed be.

Call South (L.): South, heat, action, passion. Feel the sun warming from outside and dance the warm from the inside; round and round. We welcome Fire. Blessed be.

Call West (E.): West, river, tears, love. Hear the ocean’s waves and hear it in our pulses; round and round. We welcome Water. Blessed be.

Call North (M.): North, mountain, body, nourishment. Taste of the gifts of the soil and soil we shall become; round and round. We welcome Earth. Blessed be.

Invoke the Goddess (R.): Lady of the Spring, be welcomed. Silver One of Transformation, we honour You. Goddess within each of us, we celebrate You. Blessed be.

Invoke the God (J.): Lord of the Dance, be welcomed. Golden One of the Sun, we honour You. God within each of us, we celebrate You. Blessed be.

Theme Introduction:

M.: Beltane is the other side of Samhain. At Samhain, we celebrate the coming apart, the dissolution, the transformation of individual life back into the greater material of the universe.

T.: At Beltane, we celebrate the coming together, the creation, the transformation of raw universal material back into individual life.

L.: It is the story of the universe: “You take hydrogen gas, and you leave it alone, and it turns into rosebushes, giraffes, and humans.” **

E.: And you take rosebushes, giraffes, and humans, and you leave them alone, and they turn back into raw elements.

C.: We celebrate these things at opposing sides of the year, but they happen all the time, all around us: “At each moment there are a hundred million million tons of living matter in the biosphere, always in a state of movement. The mass is decomposed, forms itself anew … Generations are thus born at intervals of time from ten minutes to hundreds of years … through death, birth, metabolism and growth … unceasingly.” ***

R.: The universe builds and collapses. The earth is born and dies. Our cells divide and dissolve. Humans create and destroy. We are part of the cycle and we create, and we re-create, the cycle.

The Maypole:

J.: We are the dance. We are the results of the new living plants and the ancient dying stars. We kill, consume, destroy, but also create beauty, love, and life. Now is the time to celebrate how we are all co-creating the world. We are the wild powers of creation.

R.: Those who would like to dance the Maypole, please step forward.

Each person who wants to participate in the Maypole selects a shaker out of the basket to represent the colour of their ribbon. As everyone arranges themselves, everyone else receives an egg shaker. If we have 24 dancers and more people as non-dancers, than the dancers will pull cardboard chips for their ribbon colours and the shakers will be given just to the non-dancers.

The Maypole is carried from the porch to the centre of the circle with great ceremony. It is set firmly in the base and the ribbons are loosed.

When everyone is arranged, then drumming and chanting will begin and everyone will start dancing to weave the Maypole.

The Food and Drink:

M.: We receive grain from the North and water from the West. We knead in air from the East and bake with heat from the South. The elements come together to nourish our bodies. We ask the God and the Goddess to bless this food; may it nourish our spirits as well. Blessed be.

The buns are passed clockwise: Be nourished! / Blessed be!

C.: As the athame is to the lover, so the chalice is to the loved; and joined they create beauty. Blessed be.

The goblet is passed clockwise: Taste life! / Blessed be!

Closing the Ritual:

Thank the God (J.): Golden Lord of the Sun and the Dance, we thank you. Divine within and divine without, we honour Your gifts. Blessed be.

Thank the Goddess (R.): Silver Lady of the Spring and of Change, we thank you. Divine within and divine without, we honour Your gifts. Blessed be.

Thank North (M.): Thank you, Earth, for being in our Circle. We remember your gifts when we share food. Blessed be.

Thank West (E.): Thank you, Water, for being in our Circle. We remember your gifts when we hear the ocean’s waves in our blood. Blessed be.

Thank South (L.): Thank you, Fire, for being in our Circle. We remember your gifts when we dance in the sunshine. Blessed be.

Thank East (T.): Thank you, Air, for being in our Circle. We remember your gifts when we sing together. Blessed be.

Open the Circle (C.): The Circle is open, but unbroken. Merry meet, merry part, and merry meet again!

* I Love the Mountains, traditional song

** Brian Swimme (cosmologist)

*** Vladimir Vernadsky (Russian scientist)

Creative Commons Licence
Beltane: Creative Transformation by Melissa Hope is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

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