Making the most of Beltane in Lockdown
A little blog not all relevant to my website but I have woven aspects for all.
I have had a few enquiries recently from friends and folk asking what they can do for Beltane, at home with children, as a doula for clients, or around their pregnancy? So I thought id write this blog as I am noticing a bigger than ever interest in nature religions/ paths/ beliefs. Maybe its just within the doula world, but it seems not to be. Its brilliant as I believe it is what we need to help our earth. We need to put our earth first, it is the only way forward.
Beltane is my favourite weekend of the year we usually go to various outdoor events to celebrate different aspects of this time of year, the wickerman burning at Butsers, which is incredible! They build a huge wicker statue man, everyone puts their wishes in the wickerman and as night falls the man is lit. It is an incredible site!! Then sunday we attend the Beltane rite with our druid friends of Anderida Gorsedd, in our 'nature church' at the Long Man of Wilmington. It is a lot of magical fun celebrating the return of summer with the May king and Queen, the thinning of the veil and of course Puck often makes an entrance. Then on Bank Holiday monday we dress in green and go to Jack in The Green festival / parade, in Hastings to celebrate the release of summer. Its a packed really fun weekend, also including jumping the fire and adorning green faces for half the weekend, often a fantastic weekend for sunshine too. Plus of course we do our own rituals at home, we nod to Pan, feed the fae in the garden and honouring them, stories with Runa (my older children have never been interested in my pagan beliefs and I never push it on them).
So with social calender's cancelled around the world its all going to have to be remote for Beltane this year. I feel incredibly sad about it but it I must say the virtual rituals knowing our Anderida family are all doing a ritual connecting with one another at the same time, then sharing our experiences afterwards is incredibly moving. I really notice nature noticing us, and responding within ceremony, almost in a way that goes unnoticed when we are standing within circle with 30 to 100 people at times. We do get incredible moments on the side of the hill during the rites as a group too, which is always amazing, sharing sacred space with others is an experience sometimes hard to explain.
So enough of me waffling away, what is Beltane?
Beltane is a lovely time of year, it is a cross quarter festival around the 1st of May, falling in between the Spring Equinox and Summer Solstice. It is a fire festival which celebrates the return of summer. Beltane apparently translates at 'Bright Fire'.
Many pagan, Wicca, Druid, Witchy groups celebrate and honour the rite of the May King and Queen. The May King and Queen get together and make love, she becomes pregnant, and therefore the earth swells with new life, the onset of summer. Young couples were said to make love for the first time under a may tree, the Hawthorn, perhaps after dancing around the may pole? It was a time for young love to be found. The May pole itself is a phallic symbol, buried within the female symbol of the earth. Pan is of course the horned god of fertility and parties, so a god or deity to honour and nod to, but be careful ;-) Pan also moves between worlds of the fae, gods, and our world. This is a time of year where the veil is thin like it is at Samhain, it is the opposite side of Samhain in the wheel of the year. A time to commune with the fae, and honour them. But be careful they arent always friendly.
A friend Adam Ranger, druid and blogger, said this morning babies born at Beltane are likely to have the gift of seeing fae. That's quite a special gift to behold in life!
What can you do for May Day / Beltane weekend to honour and acknowledge this time of year?
Here are some ideas for you from the depth of my mind:
Create your own ritual at home. There are many different ways to do this. It varies from person to person and group to circle in the 'pagan' world. Here is a little outline of some basics for ideas for you:
Set a sacred space, ask for protection, or ask by casting a circle, then open it in prayer (often to each direction). Then honour the aspects you wish to honour, the may king and queen, nature, summer returning, The Horned god, new life, fertility, young love...its endless. Its nice to create a small fire in a fire bowl to jump within your ritual, jumping it for luck, prosperity through the summer. If you have a story, song, chant, or poem, then read it aloud, perhaps you wish to honour the birds in their nests. Or leave something for the fae within your ritual? its endless and individual but sacred and magical when done within a sacred space set especially for honouring. Then close your space, thanking each direction, each element, any deitiy you included, or the fae. Uncast your circle. Ground yourself.
You could create a nature table, or alter in honour of Beltane.
'Jack in the Green' are doing an online virtual parade, you can join it virtually on facebook, decorate your home and yourself in green https://www.facebook.com/events/520796101920047/
Honour the fae in your garden by planting seeds/ repotting seedlings, and putting some food out for the fae, perhaps a small thimble of honey? You could write a letter to the fae or write poem or words to read aloud as a thank you to honour them for growing the plants.
Make a faerie view finder with your children, so when they look through it they might see fae. Runa use to tell me they were blue through the view finder. I wonder what your children will see?
Honour the feminine within you, by making flower crowns in honour of the May queen, and the maiden aspect of life. (there are lots of ideas online for flower crowns)
You could honour your inner masculine too by doing something you feel is masculine, its hard to suggest anything here because we would all have varied ideas. Be creative and do something fun! It could be something like wearing antlers, or horns? or make something in sacred space that you feel may be masculine.
Create a may pole, its great fun if to manage to make one to dance around. You need masses of ribbon though, or torn strips of fabric. Or you could be inventive and make a tiny one for dolls perhaps?
If you are pregnant a nice thing to do could be to weave a cord tie with your family? There is a link to a blog I wrote a few years ago on cord tie ritual. I am suggesting this to tie into the relevance of celebrating union and new life, handfastings and rites of passage often performed at Beltane. There is nothing more meaningful than creating a magical item for your babys birth like the cord tie, as you can weave your love and wishes into it for your baby.
You could create a faerie play with your children and a handfasting for the May King and Queen.
Pick young flowers and leaves on the hawthorn and eat them, add them to your salad, or make some tea, they are sweet and tasty at this time of year. Interestingly the may blossoms are often later than beltane in recent years but this year they've bloomed just in time.
Of course you have to create a fire and jump the fire for beltane, beltane is also a fire festival. It isnt Beltane without jumping the fire for a good summer and good luck!
Finally this is for adults only, you could celebrate fertility, the 'Royal' May Rite in a rite of your own if you are in a couple, and have a romantic evening, or go for a romantic picnic by a hawthorn tree in the woods if you are lucky enough to be able to access woods during lockdown. Be creative? but be careful honouring Pan, although im sure he'd love to be honoured ;-)
If you are pregnant and awaiting your baby then use the opportunity to set up your birth space too, (if you aren't yet due, then write your ideas down) bringing in the elements of the sacred directions, and perhaps creating a sacred space by setting up a medicine wheel around your room so you birth in a sacred space, or you could just set up an alter space. This time of year is perfect for connecting to your pregnancy through nature, and feeling close to nature as your bump blooms with the blossoming flowers, and you birth with the new life of nature growing all around you. You also have the veil between worlds at its thinnest, like at Samhain, I wonder if this could make connection to your babies soul clearer? who knows? but its a magical time anyway, and has been seen as such for many years by our ancestors and many other cultures around the world.
for doulas, encourage your mums to spend and enjoy time in natural surroundings, enjoying the simple yet complex beauty of nature. Im saying this to expectant parents too.
Create a mothers blessing! Beltane is a beautiful time to really honour your pregnancy if you are pregnant, or honour yourself as a mother. Mother earth is pregnant and about to bloom in her pregnancy of creating life with our oncoming summer, so use this energy to honour yourself, your inner creatrix. You may not be able to meet friends in person at this time but you can create a virtual mothers blessing with friends! I have written a blog on ideas, although any items obviously you need to pop in the post to send each other, either to honour yourselves, or in honour of a friend expecting a baby.
Beautiful Beltane Blessings how ever you enjoy this coming bank holiday weekend.