Beltane is often thought of as a sensual, sexual holiday. There may be expectations of mingling with others, celebration, dancing, and intimacy. If you’re single, solitary, or just not feeling that celebratory/sensual, you might be feeling left out. Celebrating Beltane doesn’t have to be a wild romp in the woods. It can be on your own terms. I created this solitary healing bath ritual to heal and to honor where you are at this point in your life and at Beltane.
I don’t know about you, but after that long winter and the harsh political climate, I could use some healing. Winters are hard for me, and springtime always hits me like a ton of bricks. I’m amazed at how flowers like daffodils and tulips can bloom, year after year, even after suffering through cold, hard winters. It makes me think that I, too, can heal, break open, and revel in the sunshine and newfound warmth.
Beltane the perfect time to celebrate warmth and to truly welcome the fresh spring weather. Even though Beltane honors Bel, the Irish God of light, I suggest something a little softer and more feminine for this ritual. I recently read about the ancient Neolithic and Celtic sun goddess, Sulis (which sounds like SUE-less). She’s a great goddess to celebrate at Beltane, as she represents the sun, warmth, blessings, and healing.
Sulis was revered as a sun goddess in the Neolithic age, and certainly into the Celtic and Roman ages. She is known as “The Bright One” and the “Provider of Healing Waters.” Similarly, Beltane means “Bright” or “Brilliant Fire,” because on Beltane, the ancient Celts honored the sun and burned fires. A few others agree that there are similarities, and Beltane is a great time to celebrate Sulis and take part in her healing powers.
Warmth is what springtime and Beltane is all about to me. In my area, Beltane is when we can finally go outside without a coat or jacket and enjoy the flowers and sunshine. It signals the hope of a new growing year and a fresh start. If that’s not healing, I don’t know what is.
Imagine you’re at Sulis’ temple, located at Aquae Sulis, in the region known as Bath in southwest England. Roman columns rise above a pool of steaming water. Firelight from torches is reflected in the pools. In the distance, owls hoot, and you can hear oak leaves rustling in the wind.
Even though Romans built the columns, courtyard, and temple in the first century CE, it had been a sacred place before that, for possibly as long as 10,000 years ago. The hotsprings used to rise up from old-growth oak grove that was sacred to the Celts and Neolithic peoples.
In typical Roman fashion, the place of worship for Sulis was co-opted, and she was revered alongside Minerva (aka the Roman Athena). They share some similarities, including the owl as a symbol. They also both have the ability to bestow blessings and wisdom.
Imagine you walk up to Sulis’ temple, where fires are kept burning all day and all night. Inside her temple, you see an oversized gilded statue (above). Sulis seems to glow in the flickering firelight. Her eyes are kind, and you feel that she knows you, deep in your bones. You see six altars dedicated to Sulis, and two more for Minerva. The temple is warm, and you’re feeling woozy. You decide to take part in the healing bath.
On your way to the water, you see a pile of coins and lead tablets in the water. They’re offerings and pleadings to the goddesses from people who made pilgrimages to Aquae Sulis from far away. You will make your plea as well.
You decide to pass through the bathhouse/spa with their steamy saunas, and walk through the courtyard and down steps into the waters. You wade and into the warm, reddish orange waters of the bath, which smell as if they’re rich in iron and other minerals, and instantly, feel the healing powers.
Now that you’re in the right mindset, let’s get to healing.
candles, preferably warm colors such as yellow, orange, red, or pink
minerals/salts such as epsom salts and clay
rose petals or other herbs, if desired
essential oils safe for bathing
book of shadows and pen
Draw a hot bath with the minerals/salts, oils, and rose petals and/or herbs. While waiting for the bath water to rise, light the candles.
Open your book of shadows and write down anything that is bothering you. Get it all out. Also write down your wishes, including a wish for healing.
Spread your hands over the waters and proclaim, “This is a healing bath,” three times.
Step into the waters and sit. Breathe in the misty air.
Perform any preparatory circle casting if you so wish.
Welcome Sulis to the bath and the circle. “Sulis, ancient goddess, sun-warmth bringer, healer, bright one, provider of healing waters, I call upon you for healing.”
Chant “Sulis” over and over until you feel the energy build. This energy-raising technique may be spoken aloud, or whispered, or ‘spoken’ in the mind. The point is to elevate the energy. “Su-lis. Su-lis. Su-lis.” When the energy reaches a peak, chant one long, energetic, “SULIS!”
Imagine Sulis’ sacred golden warm spring running over you, through you, filling you with heat and the energy of radiant sunshine.
Imagine feeling the warmth of the sun shining inside your body, gently burning way any impurities. Feel the sun’s energy fill the tub with light, and feel your heart glow with an inner fire.
Feel how alive you are. Feel the wondrous beating of your heart. This life is a gift. We need to heal, learn, and grow. That is the way of a soulful, courageous seeker.
State your wishes from your book of shadows. State why you are asking for them. Pour your heart out to Sulis. Take as long as you need.
Feel her love radiate into you. Meditate on any special aspects of the sun’s position in Beltane. Celebrate where you are right now in your life. Imagine extending the sun’s warmth to all aspects of your life from your fiery heart.
Give yourself a big, warm, wet hug. Take a deep breath and appreciate being alive. Give thanks to Sulis for healing and anything else you may have experienced.
Use some soap and lather up. Enjoy lathering and spreading love wherever you touch. Appreciate your body in a very Taurus, earthy way. Give thanks for your strong muscles and feet that help you move about, your graceful shoulders and arms that hold so much warmth.
Rinse off, imagining anything you wish to leave behind in the waters.
When you are ready, rise to a standing position and say, “I am cleansed. I am healed,” Repeat three times. Give thanks to Sulis and the healing bath.
Pat yourself dry with a towel, and open the circle.
Sulis is known for healing, prophecy, and for bestowing blessings. Her symbols are the sun, the eye, antlers, and the owl. Record your dreams tonight, in case they are prophetic.
blessings, and happy Beltane