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Bonfire for Beltane!

Although bonfires tend to be popular in all ancient pagan practices, Beltane is the time of year when it seems the most fitting!  There are many ways to incorporate a Bonfire into your ritual – and it doesn’t even have to be large.  Sure, if you have the space and a nice fire pit, a big Beltane fire is idea – but if not, there are other ways to still bring the feel of a Bonfire into your celebration!

Portable Bonfires

These can be great if you have no permanent fire pit in your backyard or if you want to be able to travel with your fire pit.  They can range in price from under $20 all the way up to over $300 – so there is an option to fit any budget.  You can purchase these at any home improvement store or even make your own! This blog tells you step by step how to make one out of a flower pot!: Create a Fire pit out of Flower Pot!

Please remember that no matter what you decide to do, be safe! Here are some fire tips from a former firefighter to help you have a fun and safe experience: Fire pit safety tips

Indoor Cauldron Fire

If your only option is to be indoors, you can still have the fire experience with an indoor cauldron fire!  You will need the following items

  • Cast-Iron Cauldron – mine is quite small, about 4″ in diameter
  • Epsom Salts – easy to find at the supermarket or pharmacy
  • Rubbing Alcohol – 70% isopropyl (safer) or 90% isopropyl (hotter)
  • Fire-Proof surface, preferably not heat conductive
  • Long Wooden Matches

It is best to use a cast-iron cauldron, since one won’t be too hard to get and it can withstand the heat. Don’t use aluminum, since it sometimes melts or can even catch on fire. Never make an indoor fire in a cauldron that is painted, since burning or even very hot paint will produce dangerous fumes.

Use half (by volume, not weight) alcohol and epsom salts.  Always put the cauldron on a fireproof surface (such as a hearth, other tile surface, metal, etc.) and make sure that the only nearby objects are reasonably heat-resistant. Taper candles, if placed too close, will bend or even melt. Votives in glass holders work better.

Always keep a bucket of water nearby in case things somehow get out of hand. A big box of baking soda also works well. Let the cauldron burn out by itself (how long this takes depends on the size of the cauldron and how much fuel you have put into it), wait till it is cool, and then soak the inside in water to loosen the grayish mass of salts that’s been fused together by the fire. After letting it soak overnight it’s not too hard to clean.

If it’s necessary to put the cauldron out suddenly, covering it with a fireproof lid is the easiest and least-messy method, but be careful not to burn yourself while putting the lid on. One of those big leather work gloves might be good to keep around.

Now that you have a fire, what can you do?

Once you have your fire pit – there are many different ways to incorporate this into your ritual!

  • – Use herbs – you can burn any herbs in your fire pit.  If you are using an indoor fire pit be sure to only burn a very small amount at a time so that you don’t have an out of control fire.
  • – Burn small pieces of Parchment: You can write messages or spells on parchment and burn those as part of your ritual.
  • – Fires can symbolize messages moving up to the universe to to deity – they can also symbolize the cleansing or banishing of bad things and bad energies.
  • – Fires can make the start a new phase in life – can be used at the start of a project, symbolizing burning down the old to pave the way for the new.

 

What are the Nine Sacred Woods?

The nine sacred woods – or nine sacred woods of the bonfire are part of a traditional Celtic ceremony.  They represented the first nine tress in the Celtic calendar and are generally listed in the long version of the Wiccan Rede by Doreen Valiente.  Over the years, this has been changed to a Nine Sacred Herbs incense, which you can make yourself or purchase from us here: Nine Sacred Woods Incense.  This blend is a nice way to add a Celtic touch to any bonfire celebration!

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Personal Maypole Ritual for Beltane

I did this a few years back and it worked great – it can be done in solitary or in small groups. This is a Beltane Celebration.You will need:

* Small Branches (see below)
* Ribbons of all colors – mainly based on your intent
* Beltane or Fertility incense
* Beltane or Fertility Oil
* 1 Beltane Candle (can be a special Sabbat candle or a plain pink, lavender or yellow candle)
* 1 Pen that can write on the ribbon

Prep:

1) Walk near your home looking for loose branches. Its important that you use only branches that have falled already from a tree – do not break a branch off a tree. If like me you near maple trees, you will see plenty of branches. Pick one that is reasonably straight. Once you find the branch, say a small prayer of thanks to the tree that shed it.

2) Beltane is a time for fertility and growth. What we plant here we will collect in the spring. Appropriate things for this Sabbat are all things that you wish to increase – find a new job, open a new business, start a family, find new love, close that new deal, etc. All intents like this work well generally. Pick 3 ribbon colors that match your intent. For example, if you decide to look for a new job, pick white, green and yellow. If you are looking for love, pick white, pink and red etc. I always like to add white in for purity and good energy.

Once you are ready – perform your Ritual:

1) Cast your circle as normal

2) Anoint your Beltane candle. Think of the energy of the season – the planting of new things, a time for change – a time when anyone can start over no matter what. A time for new projects, new beginnings etc. Once your candle is properly anointed, place it on your altar at the center of your pentacle.

3) Take your ribbons, and write on each ribbon the things you want to bring into your life. For example, if you choose the ribbons for a new job you can do the following:

– Green – I wish to find a job that will pay me what I need to make to comfortably support myself and my family
– Yellow – I wish to do well in all job interviews I go on
– White – I want a job that will make me happy and satisfied and that will be for my highest good.

If you did the one for new love – you can do the following:

– Red – I wish to find a mate that inspires in me a passion for life, and for each other
– Pink – I wish to find a mate that is not only passionate, but considerate, kind, and who will be a good friend as well as a lover
– White – I wish to find the best relationship for me, that will bring me happiness and joy for my highest good.

You get the idea – once you write on each ribbon what you want, lay the ribbons out in front of you next to your branch.

4) Light your Beltane candle.

5) This is the tricky part – you want to use the wax from the candle to “anchor” the ribbons at the base of the branch. I like to do them one at a time. Once they are fairly secure (they will never be solidly glued – but will be in place enough for you to work), begin brading them down the length of your branch.

6) Take your time and be careful – don’t pull it too tight or it will come apart on you. Once the thread is braided all the way down, secure the end with knotting each ribbon around your branch (now your wand). I also like to take my Beltane candle and use the wax to “seal” both ends of my wand now – over the know at the end and over the start of the ribbons on the bottom.

7) Once done, place your wand on your altar and proceed with your ritual.

8) Cake and Ale

9) Close your circle

You can keep the keep the wand with you all year long. Anytime you wish to cast another spell relating to the same issue, use your wand to help imbue that spell with more energy. Once the year is done – you can choose to keep your wand or burn it and make a new one.

Enjoy!

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Beltane Rituals

Beltane Solitary Outdoor Ritual

If possible, celebrate Beltane in a forest or near a living tree. If this is impossible, bring a small tree within the circle, preferably potted; it can be of any type.

Create a small token or charm in honor of the wedding of the Goddess and God to hang upon the tree. You can make several if you desire. These tokens can be bags filled with fragrant flowers, strings of beads, carvings, flower garlands – whatever your talents and imagination can conjure.

Arrange the altar, light the candles and censer, and cast the Circle of Stones. Recite the Blessing Chant Invoke the Goddess and God. Stand before the altar and say, with wand upraised:

Mother Goddess,
Queen of the night and of the Earth;
Father God,
King of the day and of the forest,
I celebrate Your union as nature rejoices in a riotous blaze of
color and life.
Accept my gift,
Mother Goddess and Father God, in honor of Your union.

Place the token(s) on the tree.

From Your mating shall spring forth life anew;
a profusion of living creatures shall cover the lands,
and the winds will blow pure and sweet.
Ancient Ones,
I celebrate with You!

Works of magick, if necessary, may follow. Celebrate the Simple Feast. The circle is released.


Beltane Solitary Ritual

Needed:

White ribbon
Red ribbon
Crown of flowers

 

Place the ribbons and crown on the altar pentacle. Cast the circle. Ring the bell seven times. Say:

“Today all life celebrates spring at its fullest.
The gate swings back and forth and all may freely pass through.
The God has awakened and fertilized the land.
The Goddess has completed her journey;
Flowers now abound from her foot steps.
This is a time for joy and a time for sharing.
The richness of the soil accepts the seed,
And now is the time for seeds to be spilled.
Togetherness brings joy and abundance fills the earth.”

Pick up the ribbons. Hold them between your fingers so that the the white ribbon crosses over the red one. Say:

“Now the Lord and Lady unite.
Through Their joy, may all be joyful,
Through Their fruitfulness, may all be fruitful.
May the Lord and Lady bless these ribbons,
Bringing new beginnings with opportunities to grow and blossom.”

Begin plaiting the ribbons together. This is a simplified and solitary version of the traditional maypole. While you are doing this, say:


“All life in all the world springs from the union of the God and the Goddess.

Blessed are they, the creators, the Ancient ones!”

When done, ring the bell three times. Stand in the God position, head bowed. Say:


“The Lord, with the Lady at his side,

Has brought the world through the darkness to the light.
It was a long journey that was not easy.
Yet the gods showed strength
And through Them, all has grown and prospered.
May They both continue.
May the Lady, with the Lord at her side,
Move on down the path,
Continuing to spread the light to all.”

Pick up the crown of flowers and place it on your head. Assume the Goddess position. Say:


“I am she who turns the wheel,

Bringing new life into the world
And beckoning those who pass along the ways.
In the coolness of the breeze you hear my sighs;
My heart is in the rushing of the wind.
When you thirst, let my tears fall upon you as gentle rain;
When you tire, pause to rest upon the earth that is my breast.
Warmth and comfort I give you
And ask for nothing in return,
Save that you love all things even as yourself.
Know that love is the spark of life.
It is always there, always with you if you but see it.
Yet you need not seek far, for love is the inner spark;
The light that burns without flicker;
The amber glow within.
Love is the beginning and the end of all things;
And I am love.”

Ring the bell three times. Cakes and ale. Close the circle.

 

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Beltane Lore

Beltane Lore 

Also known as May Eve, May Day, and Walpurgis Night, happens at the beginning of May. It celebrates the height of Spring and the flowering of life. The Goddess manifests as the May Queen and Flora. The God emerges as the May King and Jack in the Green. The danced Maypole represents Their unity, with the pole itself being the God and the ribbons that encompass it, the Goddess. Colors are the Rainbow spectrum. Beltane is a festival of flowers, fertility, sensuality, and delight.

Beltane, and its counterpart Samhain, divide the year into its two primary seasons, winter (Dark Part) and summer (Light Part). As Samhain is about honoring Death, Beltane, its counter part, is about honoring Life. It is the time when the sun is fully released from his bondage of winter and able to rule over summer and life once again. Beltane, like Samhain, is a time of “no time” when the veils between the two worlds are at their thinnest. No time is when the two worlds intermingle and unite and the magic abounds!

The beginning of summer heralds an important time, for the winter is a difficult journey and weariness and disheartenment set in, personally one is tired down to the soul. In times past the food stocks were low; variety was a distant memory. The drab non-color of winter’s end perfectly represents the dullness and fatigue that permeates on so many levels to this day. We need Beltane, as the earth needs the sun, for our very Spirit cries out for the renewal of summer jubilation.

Beltane marks the passage into the growing season, the immediate rousing of the earth from her gently awakening slumber, a time when the pleasures of the earth and self are fully awakened. It signals a time when the bounty of the earth will once again be had. May is a time when flowers bloom, trees are green and life has again returned from the barren landscape of winter, to the hope of bountiful harvests, not too far away, and the lighthearted bliss that only summer can bring.

Celebration includes frolicking throughout the countryside, maypole dancing, leaping over fires to ensure fertility, circling the fire three times (sun-wise) for good luck in the coming year, athletic tournaments feasting, music, drinking, children collecting the May: gathering flowers. children gathering flowers, hobby horses, May birching and folks go a maying”. Flowers, flower wreaths and garlands are typical decorations for this holiday, as well as ribbons and streamers. Flowers are a crucial symbol of Beltane, they signal the victory of Summer over Winter and the blossoming of sensuality in all of nature and the bounty it will bring.
As Beltane marks this handfasting (wedding) of the Goddess and God, it too marks the reawakening of the earth’s fertility in its fullest. This is the union between the Great Mother and her Young Consort, this coupling brings new life on earth. It is on a Spiritual level, the unifying of the Divine Masculine and the Divine Feminine to bring forth the third, consciousness. On the physical, it is the union of the Earth and Sun to bring about the fruitfulness of the growing season.

A wonderful reference for any sabbat Ritual is the book “A Year of Ritual” By Sandra Kynes.

Deities

All fertility, flower, song & dance, hunting, and virgin-mother Goddesses; Aphrodite (Greek), Artemis (Greek), Belili (Sumerian), Bloddeuwedd (Welsh), Cybele (Greek), Damara (English), Danu (Irish), Diana (Greek), Fand (Manx-Irish), Flidais (Irish), Flora (Roman), Frigg/Freya (Norse), Ishtar (Assyro-Babylonian), Rhea (Greek), Rhiannon (Welsh), Venus (Roman).

All fertility, love, hunting, and young father Gods; Baal (Phoenician), Bel (Sumerian), Cernunnos (Celtic), Cupid (Roman), Eros (Greek), Faunus (Roman), Frey (Norse), The Great Horned God (European), Herne (English), Orion (Greek), Pan (Greek)

Magic

Youthful exuburance, sensuality, pleasure, crop blessings, creative endeavors.

Traditional Foods

Dairy foods, foods made with flowers, red fruits such as strawberries and cherries, green herbal salads, red or pink wine punch, maybowl (an icebowl decorated with spring flowers and filled with maywine), large round oatmeal or barley cakes (known as Beltane cakes or Bannocks), shellfish and other aphrodisiacs.

Recipes

May Wine

1 bottle of white wine (German is ideal)
1/2 cup strawberries, sliced
12 sprigs of woodruff, fresh

Pour wine into a wide mouth jar or carafe. Add the sliced strawberries and woodruff, and let sit for an hour or more. Strain and serve chilled.

Strawberry Cookies

3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup shortening
1/4 cup milk
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon almond extract
2 1/2 cups unsifted all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
red and green food coloring

Cream the sugar and shortening until fluffy, on medium speed if using an electronic mixer. Beat in egg, milk, zest, and extract. Sift flour and powder together in a bowl and gradually add to the other mix. Wrap dough in plastic and chill for 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350:F. Half dough and put the other half back in the fridge. Form dough into flattened balls and roll to 1/8 inch on a floured surface. Using strawberry-shaped cookie cutter, cut out cookies, and cut out little indentations like strawberry seeds if desired.

Put 1 tablespoon of water into each of two dishes and add a few drops of each color of food coloring. Paint the cookies with a paintbrush using the colors, making the body of the strawberry red and the stem and leaves green. Bake them on an ungreased cookie sheet for 8 minutes, then cool on racks. Repeat the process with the other half of the dough.

Yield: 5 dozen

Herbs and Flowers

Rose, elder, mugwort, mint, lily of the valley, foxglove, broom, hawthorne, almond, angelica, bluebells, daisy, marigold, frankincense, lilac, yellow cowslips, thyme.

Incense

Use lilac, passion flower, rose or vanilla. These can be used alone or blended as you like.

Incense Recipe – by Scott Cunningham

3 Parts frankincense
2 Parts Sandalwood
1 Part Woodruff
1 Part Rose Petals
a few drops Jasmine oil
a few drops neroli Oil

Burn during Wiccan rituals on Beltane or May Day for fortune & favors & to attune with the changing of the seasons.

Stones

Emerald, malachite, carnelian, amber, sapphire, rose quartz.

Altar Decorations

Altars are generally adorned with seasonal flowers. Other appropriate altar decorations for the season include mirrors, a small May pole, phallic-shaped candles to represent fertility, and daisy chains.

Ideas and Activities

  • Arise at dawn and wash in the morning dew: the woman who washes her face in it will be beautiful; the man who washes his hands will be skilled with knots and nets.
  • If you live near water, make a garland or posy of spring flowers and cast it into stream, lake or river to bless the water spirits.
  • Prepare a May basket by filling it with flowers and goodwill, then give it to one in need of caring, such as a shut-in or elderly friend.
  • Beltane is one of the three “spirit-nights” of the year when the faeries can be seen. At dusk, twist a rowan sprig into a ring and look through it, and you may see them.
  • Make a wish as you jump a bonfire or candle flame for good luck-but make sure you tie up long skirts first!
  • Make a May bowl, wine or punch in which the flowers of sweet woodruff or other fragrant blossoms are soaked and drink with the one you love.

May Eve

Walpurgis Night, the time is right,
The ancient powers awake.
So dance and sing, around the ring,
And Beltane magic make.

Walpurgis Night, Walpurgis Night,
Upon the eve of May,
We’ll merry meet, and summer greet,
For ever and a day.

New life we see, in flower and tree,
And summer comes again.
Be free and fair, like earth and air,
The sunshine and the rain.

Walpurgis Night, Walpurgis Night,
Upon the eve of May,
We’ll merry meet, and summer greet,
For ever and a day.
This magic fire be our desire
To tread the pagan way,
And our true will find and fulfil,
As dawns a brighter day.

Walpurgis Night, Walpurgis Night,
Upon the eve of May,
We’ll merry meet, and summer greet,
For ever and a day.

The pagan powers this night be ours,
Let all the world be free,
And sorrows cast into the past,
And future blessed be!

Walpurgis Night, Walpurgis Night,
Upon the eve of May,
We’ll merry meet, and summer greet,
For ever and a day.

 Doreen Valiente
“Witchcraft For Tomorrow”, pp. 192-193

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Personal Maypole for Beltane

I did this a few years back and it worked great – it can be done in solitary or in small groups. This is a Beltane Celebration.

You will need:

* Small Branches (see below)
* Ribbons of all colors – mainly based on your intent
* Beltane or Fertility incense
* Beltane or Fertility Oil
* 1 Beltane Candle (can be a special Sabbat candle or a plain pink, lavender or yellow candle)
* 1 Pen that can write on the ribbon

Prep:

1) Walk near your home looking for loose branches. Its important that you use only branches that have falled already from a tree – do not break a branch off a tree. If like me you near maple trees, you will see plenty of branches. Pick one that is reasonably straight. Once you find the branch, say a small prayer of thanks to the tree that shed it.

2) Beltane is a time for fertility and growth. What we plant here we will collect in the spring. Appropriate things for this Sabbat are all things that you wish to increase – find a new job, open a new business, start a family, find new love, close that new deal, etc. All intents like this work well generally. Pick 3 ribbon colors that match your intent. For example, if you decide to look for a new job, pick white, green and yellow. If you are looking for love, pick white, pink and red etc. I always like to add white in for purity and good energy.

Once you are ready – perform your Ritual:

1) Cast your circle as normal

2) Anoint your Beltane candle. Think of the energy of the season – the planting of new things, a time for change – a time when anyone can start over no matter what. A time for new projects, new beginnings etc. Once your candle is properly anointed, place it on your altar at the center of your pentacle.

3) Take your ribbons, and write on each ribbon the things you want to bring into your life. For example, if you choose the ribbons for a new job you can do the following:

– Green – I wish to find a job that will pay me what I need to make to comfortably support myself and my family
– Yellow – I wish to do well in all job interviews I go on
– White – I want a job that will make me happy and satisfied and that will be for my highest good.

If you did the one for new love – you can do the following:

– Red – I wish to find a mate that inspires in me a passion for life, and for each other
– Pink – I wish to find a mate that is not only passionate, but considerate, kind, and who will be a good friend as well as a lover
– White – I wish to find the best relationship for me, that will bring me happiness and joy for my highest good.

You get the idea – once you write on each ribbon what you want, lay the ribbons out in front of you next to your branch.

4) Light your Beltane candle.

5) This is the tricky part – you want to use the wax from the candle to “anchor” the ribbons at the base of the branch. I like to do them one at a time. Once they are fairly secure (they will never be solidly glued – but will be in place enough for you to work), begin brading them down the length of your branch.

6) Take your time and be careful – don’t pull it too tight or it will come apart on you. Once the thread is braided all the way down, secure the end with knotting each ribbon around your branch (now your wand). I also like to take my Beltane candle and use the wax to “seal” both ends of my wand now – over the know at the end and over the start of the ribbons on the bottom.

7) Once done, place your wand on your altar and proceed with your ritual.

8) Cake and Ale

9) Close your circle

You can keep the keep the wand with you all year long. Anytime you wish to cast another spell relating to the same issue, use your wand to help imbue that spell with more energy. Once the year is done – you can choose to keep your wand or burn it and make a new one.

Enjoy!

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Beltane Cake

By MsWhitestang

In sauce pan heat 1 1/2 cups milk , 1 cups old fashioned oats,1/2 cup butter, a few pinches sea salt. Cook until thickened. let stand until room temp.Mix in 2 cups brown sugar, 2 eggs, 1 tsp vanilla extract, and 1 1/3 cup unbleached flour, 1 tsp baking soda, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp cloves, 1/2 tsp ground ginger. bake in a well greased non metallic dish for 30 mins at 350.
I like this cake a day old , and I sprinkle it with 10x powered sugar.
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