A Beltane Ritual For One

Photo by Janus Clemmensen on Unsplash

As I’ve mentioned numerous times on this blog, I’m not much of a Sabbat-oriented Witch.  I do have feast days that are specific to my practice and background. But I’m rarely tied down to celebrating seasonal changes, particularly not to performing obligations on specific days.  Instead, it’s more of a gradual observance of the nature of things.  Because that’s what works for me.

That said, the season of Beltane, the lore of Walpurgisnacht and May Day celebrations is a current that runs deep in how I view the shifting of the year.  The unfolding promise of Spring found in the seeds of February and March truly starts to push through the earth and makes its place by late April/early May.  The  movement is no longer tenuous or tender, but rather it beats its own rhythm strongly. This has been true in every area I’ve lived: New England, the South, Mid-Atlantic, West Coast, and Pacific Northwest.

Personally, I find this is a good time to slough off the dust and dirt I’ve acquired throughout the Winter (metaphorical and otherwise), rinse, and prepare for growth. While there are clearly signs of procreation and fertility in the air (the trees keep trying to have sex with my car), I’m focusing on what I need to do to spark creative energy in all aspects of my life that need it.

I know there are other folks out there, feeling that same shift of energy and wondering what to do.  So I’m sharing with you a ritual that you might find inspiring.

What you will need:
-two candles – ideally one black and one white, but you could also choose complimentary colors (blue and orange, yellow and purple, red and green) + something to light the candles with and of course proper holders for them.
-any altar items you’d like
-a comfy pillow or chair to sit on.
-a space you can walk around in comfortably

When to perform it:
The full moon falls on April 29th, which is nice (though not necessary for future enactments of this ritual).  I observe the full moon for 3 nights (per its appearance to the naked eye), so align that as you wish.  For 2018, I’d suggest some point between April 26th and May 5th (astrological Beltane). That gives you a fair amount of time to work with in accordance with your scheduling needs.

Photo by Janus Clemmensen on Unsplash

The Ritual:
If you’re not going spur of the moment, then the day you plan to do the ritual, try to be conscious about what you eat.  Avoid foods that make you feel heavy – choose a lighter meal comprised of ingredients that represent the season – fresh things from the garden or wildcrafted, a small meal of celebration that makes you physically and emotionally feel good.

Before setting up the ritual space, take a short cleansing bath or shower. (You can bring in herbal infusions or salts if you like.)  As you wash, focus on (gently) wiping away layers of debris, rinsing away ideas and events that have mired you down.  Finish it off with a dash of cold water (shifting the temperature in the shower, or sluicing a cup of cold water over you in the bath).

After drying off and preparing your body as you normally would for ritual (putting on jewelry, going skyclad, putting on robes, or just comfy clothes), set up your space.  If you use an altar, make sure it’s clean and ready to go with any tools or other items you want to put on it.  An example might be an arrangement of flowers gathered from your yard, or on a nature walk.  In front of the altar (or in the middle of the space if you don’t have an altar), place the pair of candles – the dark/black candle on your left and the white/light candle on the right  – with enough space to walk between and around the candles.  If you don’t have to worry about pets/children/tipsy candles, you can place them on tiles on the floor.  Otherwise you could set them up each on small tray tables or boxes.   Leaving enough space for you to walk around the candles, set up your pillow or chair facing the candles/altar.

If you cast a circle or otherwise welcome the elements, spirits, and/or ancestors in, now is the time to do this.
A simple version you could use: “I welcome Air to bring new breath to invigorate my body. I welcome Fire to ignite my spirit. I welcome Water to change the tide. I welcome Earth to root my goals.  May the spirits and ancestors watch over this rite and guide me.”

Starting with the candle on your left,  “I recognize the beauty of darkness, the powerful embrace of the earth around the seed that takes root.  The darkness collects, absorbs, and changes everything so that it may be remade. Out of the past, I emerge renewed.” Light the candle.

Now face the candle on your right, “I recognize the spectrum of light that illuminates and inspires.  It stirs the seed within the darkness and calls for it to break free of its shell, take root, and grow towards its full potential. My heart and mind finds the vision of the future.” Light the candle.

Then move counterclockwise around the dark candle, then cross over and circle the light candle clockwise – and continue for at least 3 cycles – forming a figure 8 with your travels.  If you feel called to walk the path more than 3 cycles, do so.  If you’d like to chant as you walk, here’s one: “I am a being of darkness, I am a being of light, I cross these worlds to gain new sight.”

Once you’re done, settle onto the pillow or chair, look forward between the candles, and unfocus your eyes softly for a count of 10. Then close them, and take 3 long slow breaths (in and out).  If you do trance meditation, this is a good time to do it.  Otherwise, you may wish to call upon a deity, spirit, or ancestor to grant you vision of something to help aid your focus, and settle in for the answer.  It may not come right there in that moment, so watch your dreams/keep an eye out for signs shortly after the ritual.

Once you feel the rite is complete, thank the energies you have gathered, extinguish the candles, and go to bed.

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