A Final Thought About Beltane……..

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Even though it is not Beltane yet, you can feel the magick start to fill the air. It is swirling all around you, can you feel it? I believe my favorite Sabbats are Beltane and Samhain. Unusual combination isn’t it? One is the celebration of life and the other is the celebration of death. Both part of our natural cycle we call life.

 

 

I believe when the Sabbats roll around I still have something that was once said to me still haunt me to this day. I know some of you have heard it over and over again but, here goes again…..I had a dear friend I asked how was his Samhain? His reply to me was, “I guess alright, however Pagans are suppose to celebrate it.” That has been a few years back and that still haunts me. We do our best to try to provide you with the information you need to celebrate the Sabbats. Or at least I thought we did till I received my friend’s reply.

 

 

We give you the information to celebrate the Sabbats. Truthfully, the way you celebrate each turning of the Wheel is in your heart. No text book, no site, not even us can tell you how to celebrate. Look into your heart. You know the meaning of each Sabbat, celebrate them the way you want to. Do what  feels right for you? Start a new tradition for your family or yourself.

 

 

My celebration is going to be simple this year. I know most of you don’t know it because I told everyone to keep it quiet, I was in the hospital for four days. So my celebration will be rather low key. I plan on going outside around midnight when all the stars are shining brightly, looking up at the sky and giving thanks to the Universe and my Divine Mother for a very blessed year and a bountiful one to come. Then I plan on sitting quietly on the porch, with soft music playing in the background, watching the fairies play. I almost forgot the small bonfire in my grill, lol! Thanking them for their presence and the joyful gifts they bring into my life each day. After a little bit, I will get up and go in but before I do, I will say one more little prayer which will probably go like this….

 

 

Divine Mother,

Shine your love and your blessings down upon us all,

For they are needed now more than ever.

Bring peace, love and comfort back to us once again.

Continue to bless us not only tonight but for every night to come.

My Divine Mother,

I humbly ask this for not only myself but for

all my brothers & sisters of your great world.

So Mote It Be

A Beltane Prayer


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“The leaves are budding across the land
on the ash and oak and hawthorn trees.
Magic rises around us in the forest
and the hedges are filled with laughter and love.
Dear lady, we offer you a gift,
a gathering of flowers picked by our hands,
woven into the circle of endless life.
The bright colors of nature herself
blend together to honor you,
Queen of spring,
as we give you honor this day.
Spring is here and the land is fertile,
ready to offer up gifts in your name.
we pay you tribute, our lady,
daughter of the Fae,
and ask your blessing this Beltane.”

So Mote It Be

Altar Maypole Centerpiece – Make a Beltane Maypole for Your Altar

Altar Maypole Centerpiece

Make a Beltane Maypole for Your Altar

 

For many people, a Maypole Dance is the best way ever to celebrate the fertility holiday of Beltane… but let’s face it, you may not have the ability to do that. Not everyone can stick a 20-foot pole in their yard, or you may not even know enough other Pagans (or Pagan-friendly non-Pagans) to have a Maypole Dance in the first place. If that’s the case, there’s a much smaller alternative. You can easily make a Maypole to put on your Beltane altar.

For this simple craft project, you’ll need the following:

  • A 1″ thick dowel rod, about a foot long
  • A wooden circle, about 4″ in diameter
  • Pieces of ribbon in various colors, about 2 feet long each
  • A hot glue gun

Use the hot glue gun to attach the dowel rod to the center of the wooden circle. Once the glue has dried, you can stain or paint the wood if you choose. Attach the center of each ribbon to the top of the dowel rod, as shown in in the photo.

Use the Maypole as a centerpiece on your altar. You can braid the ribbons as a meditation tool, or include it in ritual. Optional: add a small floral crown around the bottom to represent the feminine fertility of the Sabbat.

 

How To Celebrate Beltane with a Maypole Dance

How To Celebrate Beltane with a Maypole Dance

The Maypole is one of the traditional symbols of Beltane, and let’s not kid ourselves about its purpose: it’s a giant phallus.

Because Beltane festivities usually kicked off the night before with a big bonfire, the Maypole celebration usually took place shortly after sunrise the next morning. This was when couples (and probably more than a few surprised triads) came staggering in from the fields, clothes in disarray and straw in their hair after a night of bonfire-inspired lustiness.

The pole was erected on the village green or common, or even a handy field — thrust into the ground either permanently or on a temporary basis — and brightly colored ribbons attached to it. Young people came and danced around the pole, each holding the end of a ribbon. As they wove in and out, men going one way and women the other, it created a sleeve of sorts — the enveloping womb of the earth — around the pole. By the time they were done, the Maypole was nearly invisible beneath a sheath of ribbons.

To set up your own Maypole dance, here’s what you’ll need:

  • Dig a hole in advance, a few feet deep. You don’t want your friends to wait while you hunt for a shovel. The hole should be at least three feet deep, to keep the pole from flopping over during the ceremony.
  • A pole anywhere from 15 to 20 feet long, preferably made of wood
  • Guests who like to have fun

Ask each participant to bring their own ribbon — it should be about 20 feet long, by two to three inches wide. Once everyone arrives, attach the ribbons to one end of the pole (if you put a metal eyelet screw in the pole beforehand, it makes it a lot easier — you can just tie each ribbon to the eyelet).

Have extra ribbons on hand, because inevitably someone will have forgotten theirs.

Once the ribbons are attached, raise the pole until it is vertical, and slide it into the hole. Be sure to make lots of bawdy jokes here. Pack dirt in around the base of the pole so it won’t shift or fall during the dance.

If you don’t have an equal number of male and female guests, don’t worry. Just have everyone count off by twos. People who are “1” will go in a clockwise direction, people who are “2” go counterclockwise. Hold your ribbons in the hand that is closest to the pole, your inside hand. As you move in the circle, pass people by on first the left, and then the right, then the left again. If you’re passing them on the outside, hold your ribbon up so they pass under it. You might want to do a practice round beforehand. Keep going until everyone runs out of ribbon, and then knot all the ribbons at the bottom.

One thing that’s always welcome at a Maypole Dance is music. There are a number of CDs available, but there are some bands whose music have a May theme to them. Look for the phrase “Morris music” or traditional pipe and drum tunes. Of course, the best thing of all is to have live music, so if you have friends who are willing to share their skill and sit out the dance, ask them to provide some musical entertainment for you.

Tips:

  • If you’re doing a kids’ Maypole, it’s probably easier just to have them all go in one direction with their ribbons. It doesn’t look quite as fancy when it’s done, but it’s still pretty.
  • You may want to have a crown of flowers attached as well — put that at the top once all the ribbons are in place, but before you raise the pole.

 

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Call to the Lord of the Wood

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Call to the Lord of the Wood

It is You that I dream of,
My Horned One-
Lord of the Hunt
Filled with Passion
And ecstasy…
And yet, You hold back.
Standing at the edge
Of the great forest
You await My call…
Come to Me,
My Love!
For I am the Maiden,
Filled with desire for life…
I am the Mother,
Who will offer You sustenance…
I am the Crone,
And promise rebirthing
Come to Me,
My Love,
And let Me fill You
With joy everlasting
Come to Me
And find peace.

By Judith Nerbetski

Celebrating May Day – Beltane History

Celebrating May Day – Beltane History

 

The Fires of Tara:

Beltane kicks off the merry month of May, and has a long history. This fire festival is celebrated on May 1 with bonfires, Maypoles, dancing, and lots of good old fashioned sexual energy. The Celts honored the fertility of the gods with gifts and offerings, sometimes including animal or human sacrifice. Cattle were driven through the smoke of the balefires, and blessed with health and fertility for the coming year.

In Ireland, the fires of Tara were the first ones lit every year at Beltane, and all other fires were lit with a flame from Tara.

Roman Influences:

The Romans, always known for celebrating holidays in a big way, spent the first day of May paying tribute to their Lares, the gods of their household. They also celebrated the Floralia, or festival of flowers, which consisted of three days of unbridled sexual activity. Participants wore flowers in their hair (much like May Day celebrants later on), and there were plays, songs, and dances. At the end of the festivities, animals were set loose inside the Circus Maximus, and beans were scattered around to ensure fertility. The fire festival of Bona Dea was also celebrated on May 2nd.

A Pagan Martyr:

May 6 is the day of Eyvind Kelda, or Eyvind Kelve, in Norse celebrations. Eyvind Kelda was a Norwegian martyr who was tortured and drowned on the orders of King Olaf Tryggvason for refusing to give up his Pagan beliefs. A week later, Norwegians celebrate the Festival of the Midnight Sun, which pays tribute to the Norse sun goddess.

This festival marks the beginning of ten straight weeks without darkness.

The Greeks and Plynteria:

Also in May, the Greeks celebrated the Plynteria in honor of Athena, the goddess of wisdom and battle, and the patroness of the city of Athens (which was named after her). The Plynteria includes the ritual cleansing of Athena’s statue, along with feasting and prayers in the Parthenon. On the 24th, homage is paid to the Greek moon-goddess Artemis (goddess of the hunt and of wild animals). Artemis is a lunar goddess, equivalent to the Roman moon-goddess Diana – she is also identified with Luna, and Hecate.

The Green Man Emerges:

A number of pre-Christian figures are associated with the month of May, and subsequently Beltane. The entity known as the Green Man, strongly related to Cernunnos, is often found in the legends and lore of the British Isles, and is a masculine face covered in leaves and shrubbery. In some parts of England, a Green Man is carried through town in a wicker cage as the townsfolk welcome the beginning of summer. Impressions of the Green Man’s face can be found in the ornamentation of many of Europe’s older cathedrals, despite edicts from local bishops forbidding stonemasons from including such pagan imagery.

Jack-in-the-Green:

A related character is Jack-in-the-Green, a spirit of the greenwood. References to Jack appear in British literature back as far as the late sixteenth century. Sir James Frazer associates the figure with mummers and the celebration of the life force of trees. Jack-in-the-Green was seen even in the Victorian era, when he was associated with soot-faced chimney sweeps. At this time, Jack was framed in a structure of wicker and covered with leaves, and surrounded by Morris dancers. Some scholars suggest that Jack may have been a ancestor to the legend of Robin Hood.

Ancient Symbols, Modern Rites:

Today’s Pagans celebrate Beltane much like their ancestors did. A Beltane ritual usually involves lots of fertility symbols, including the obviously-phallic Maypole dance. The Maypole is a tall pole decorated with flowers and hanging ribbons, which are woven into intricate pattern by a group of dancers. Weaving in and out, the ribbons are eventually knotted together by the time the dancers reach the end.

In some Wiccan traditions, Beltane is a day in which the May Queen and the Queen of Winter battle one another for supremacy. In this rite, borrowed from practices on the Isle of Man, each queen has a band of supporters. On the morning of May 1, the two companies battle it out, ultimately trying to win victory for their queen. If the May Queen is captured by her enemies, she must be ransomed before her followers can get her back.

There are some who believe Beltane is a time for the faeries — the appearance of flowers around this time of year heralds the beginning of summer and shows us that the fae are hard at work. In early folklore, to enter the realm of faeries is a dangerous step — and yet the more helpful deeds of the fae should always be acknowledged and appreciated. If you believe in faeries, Beltane is a good time to leave out food and other treats for them in your garden or yard.

For many contemporary Pagans, Beltane is a time for planting and sowing of seeds — again, the fertility theme appears. The buds and flowers of early May bring to mind the endless cycle of birth, growth, death and rebirth that we see in the earth. Certain trees are associated with May Day, such as the Ash, Oak and Hawthorn. In Norse legend, the god Odin hung from an Ash tree for nine days, and it later became known as the World Tree, Yggdrasil.

If you’ve been wanting to bring abundance and fertility of any sort into your life — whether you’re looking to conceive a child, enjoy fruitfulness in your career or creative endeavors, or just see your garden bloom — Beltane is the perfect time for magical workings related to any type of prosperity.

 

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Floralia: The Roman May Day Celebration

Floralia: The Roman May Day Celebration

 

The Romans had a celebration for just about everything. Certainly, any Roman deity worth their salt got a holiday of their own, and Flora was no exception. She was the goddess of spring flowers and vegetation, and one of many fertility goddesses. In fact, she was so well respected as a fertility deity that she was often seen as a the patron deity of Roman prostitutes.

Her holiday originated around 235 b.c.e. It was believed that a good festival ensured that Flora would protect the blooming flowers around the city. At some point the celebration was discontinued — but it clearly took its toll when wind and hail did some serious damage to the flowers of Rome. In 173 b.c.e., the Senate reinstated the holiday, and renamed it the Ludi Floralis, which included public games and theatrical performances.

Oxford professor and anthropologist E.O. James discusses the Maypole and its connection to Roman traditions in his 1962 article, The Influence of Folklore On the History of Religion. James suggests that trees were stripped of their leaves and limbs, and then decorated with garlands of ivy, vines and flowers as part of the festival of Floralia. Other theories include that the trees, or poles, were wrapped in violets as homage to Attis and Cybele.

The Floralia took place during the five days between April 28 and May 3. Citizens celebrated with drinking and dancing. Flowers were everywhere, in the temples and on the heads of revelers.

Anyone making an offering to Flora might give her a libation of milk and honey.

 

 

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Beltane


Beltane Comments & Graphics

Beltane

Build the bonfire,
Raise the pole
The Great Stone Wheel
Once again rolls
Red and White
Become entwined
As ‘round the pole
The children wind
Sympathetic fertility
To nature it lends
As down the pole
The wreath descends
Flower garlands,
Wore on the head
Or given to woo
And to wed
Silver and gold
To fast the hands
And shades of green
Across the land
Becoming one
By cup and blade
The Lord and Lady
In the glade.

By Devyn Barat

Astronomy Picture of the Day – Across the Sun

Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

2015 April 30


Across the Sun
Image Credit & Copyright: Göran Strand

 

Explanation: A long solar filament stretches across the relatively calm surface of the Sun in this telescopic snap shot from April 27. The negative or inverted narrowband image was made in the light of ionized hydrogen atoms. Seen at the upper left, the magnificent curtain of magnetized plasma towers above surface and actually reaches beyond the Sun’s edge. How long is the solar filament? About as long as the distance from Earth to Moon, illustrated by the scale insert at the left. Tracking toward the right across the solar disk a day later the long filament erupted, lifting away from the Sun’s surface. Monitored by Sun staring satellites, a coronal mass ejection was also blasted from the site but is expected to swing wide of our fair planet.