Wheel of the Year: Beltane Ritual

Traditions:  Celtic and Fae


This Ritual was performed on May 2,1999.  The ritual circle behind my shop had just been completed.  This was the first large group ritual I had ever written – and it shows.   It is a very awkward ritual.  On the original website, I only published the script for the ritual.  There was very little by way of notes or explanation on setup, procedures, or anything else.  I’m having to fill that in by memory unfortunately (it is 2016 as I write this).  There was a lot of movement on the part of the High Priest & Priestess in this ritual and just as much by the participants.  If I can find the original source materials, I might be able to explain why we did this better.  As it stands I only have the movement prompts written on the scripts which offer no insight.

I’ve broken this down into 3 sections:
  1. This details general setup of the area and how we prepped it (insofar as I remember at least).  A list of roles is provided as well.
  2. The actual ritual.  Spoken dialogue is written in purple.
  3. The links to the books I used.  Most of the invocations came from the books.

NOTES

Since this was our first group ritual, attendance was small.  We utilized the middle ring of our circle for participants.  If I remember, we kept the elemental altars at the outer edge of the largest circle (as shown on graphic on the main page).

Our main altar was to dressed in green.  A bowl of fae candies was placed on the main altar along with a small vial of offertory oil (no idea what this was anymore). Four glass candle holders (essential cups that would protect the flames) were also placed.  Two candle holders had white candles, the other two had yellow candles.   A basket of fresh flowers, a flower wreath, and a may rod were also placed on the altar.

The elemental altars were set up with with candles, incense, lighters, charcoal, and symbols of the element. Each elemental altar was also equipped with an athame to part the veil for entrance and exit during the ceremony.  The quarter callers play a large role in this ritual and had many lines other than just calling and dismissing the quarters themselves.

We had constructed a large Maypole just outside the circle.  I don’t remember where we got the large pole from but we did anchor into the ground with concrete.  Fun fact:  I did a lot of research into constructing maypoles but forgot to learn how the maypole is actually danced.  My business partner had to do an impromtu lesson during the ritual.  Thankfully someone knew because literally no one else did.

We anointed everyone with oil as they entered the circle.  I think we used cinnamon oil for this (we did for one of the rituals but I don’t remember which one) which was bad because we accidentally used cinnamon essential oil, not the perfume oil.  The essential oil burns a bit when applied to the forehead.  Learn from my fail.  Participants were also smudged which became a standard practice at all my rituals even though it hails from Native American culture.

Before the ritual began, all participants gathered in the classroom. I gave a brief overview of the ritual so everyone knew what to expect.  After the overview, the quarter callers took their positions in the circle.  Participants were lead just outside the circle by the usher.  They were annointed & smudged alternating gender (female than male than female etc, for as long as that worked, some adjustments had to be made for gender uneveness).  I wore a black hooded cloak and took my position by a small group of trees just to the south of the circle.

This is a list of the people involved in performing the rite.  My group was much smaller at this point so there was some overlap in the roles.  I removed everyone’s names & will refer them only by their role (myself included).

High Priestess
High Priest
Usher (for lack of a better term)
North Caller
East Caller
South Caller
West Caller
Guided Visualization Person

Note: At no point did the original page for this ritual state that a ritual circle was cast in the traditional sense.  There was only one line about the circle being unsealed, which I vaguely recall that action, but I never remember it being fully cast. I have to try to locate all the rituals that I based this one off of to see if that was really the case.  This ritual is an embarrassment of epic proportions.  All I can say is I eventually figured out how to do complicated group rituals and they became a joy to perform.  Whatever went through my head for this one I can’t say.  I will say that I would like to go back in time & slap myself for writing it. Consider this ritual an exercise in what not to do when combining traditions.


The Ritual

< The High Priest prepared the smudge pot and the oil. >

High Priestess (from the area in by the trees on the far side of the circle, I moved through the circle from south to north as I spoke):

Welcome to the offering rite of Beltane, the hinge of summer, the day of blessings. The earth now grows green once more, bathed in the powerful rays of the Sun and the cool strength of the water. The tender seeds planted on the spring equinox have burst froth from seedling to bud as all life flowers in the tender warmth of May.

In the days of memories, the days of our ancestors, the feast of Beltane was a day of celebration and love. This was the day when they gathered again in the sacred groves of Gaul to worship the joining of our Mother Earth and Lord of the Greenwood. This was the day when couple joined as the God and Goddess and those who are seeking their companion petition the Great Lovers to clear the way to their true love.

As our ancestors did before us, we will do now. We stand at the threshold of the grove that has been made sacred. We come to worship as they did, to make offerings to our ancestors, the Fae and the other nature spirits so that we may be blessed during the growing season. Today we honor the great Earth Mother and her consort the Lord of the Greenwood. We honor Aine, the Fairy Queen under the mound and Mac Oc, as Aengus the Harper, the enchanting life of the Earth. Today we kindle a new flame in ourselves as we dance the maypole. Tonight, may we practice the Rites of Love in whatever way our spirit may guide us, sustaining the Power of Life! Enter now this sacred grove so that we may begin this rite! As you pass the gate, allow yourself to be purified by the smoke and blessed with the oil. Continue to the circle and enter through the east.

< The High Priest & Priestess smudged and anointed each participant. The usher guided participants halfway to the Eastern altar.  The Eastern Caller led them the rest of the way into the circle. When everyone was in place, the High Priest entered the circle from the east and took his place at the main altar.  The High Priestess remained just outside the north altar. >

High Priestess:

Let the veil of the worlds now be parted.

Quarter Calls

The Elements are called. The Celtic calls are performed first, followed by the Fae.

East

Guardians of the Eastern Gate
Gracious Dagda
We invite your presence into this circle.
Bring to it the energies of the element of Air
To charge the circle, that we might think clearly

< —–light the candle—- >

As I have spoken, so let it be done.

Blessed creatures of the east arise!
We call to the faeries of Air
We call to the beautiful, graceful sylphs,
Fair windsingers who guide those who seek them
We beseech you to join in our celebration!

 

South

Guardians of the Southern Gate,
Might Lugh,
We invite your presence into this circle
Bring to it the energies of the element of fire
That our souls might know passion.

< —- light the candle—- >

As I have spoken, so let it be done.

Blessed creatures of the south arise!
We call to the faeries of fire
We call to the wise and energetic salamanders
Powerful beings who know your worth
We beseech you to join in our celebration.

West

 

Guardians of the Western Gate
Sagacious Cerridwen,
We invite you presence into this circle.
Bring to it the energies of the element of Water
That we may achieve understanding

< —- light the candle—- >

As I have spoken, so let it be done.

Blessed creatures of the West, arise.
We call to the Faeries of Water
We call to the stern yet playful Undines
Sensual Sea Spirits, guardians of the Sea!
We beseech you to join us in our celebration

North

 

Guardians of the Northern Gate
Generous Danu,
We invite your presence into this circle
Bring to it the energies of the element of Earth
That our lives may be fertile

< —- light the candle—- >

As I have spoken, so let it be done.

Blessed Creatures of the north, Arise!
We call to the faeries of the Earth
We call to the clever and kind-hearted Gnomes
On whose stability and protection all can depend
We beseech you to join our celebration!

High Priest:

At this time, we will now raise the energy needed to perform this rite. This will be done through a simple meditation led by Anon. When this is complete, if anyone needs to leave the circle for any reason, please do so through the East 

< A guided visualization was done at this point. I don’t have the text or source for this. It was theoretically created by my former business partner who probably stole it from someone & just said he created it (he did that a lot as it turned out).  >

Call to the Goddess

High Priestess:

In the days of memories, Erin the Goddess was the mother of the clans call Aine, queen of the noble ones. Aine the mighty mated with mighty men and from them she bore many peoples.

The mighty Earth Mother, who grows old with the winter and renews her youth in this magical time, surrounds us with her fertility. With each of her renewings she brings the flowing of new life, the erotic blossoming of every kindred – not just for the continuing of the clans but for the delight and regeneration of all beings.

< Quarter callers recite the call to the goddess. As they did the High Priestess moved from altar to altar, remaining at the North altar when they were finished. >

East

Aine the Ancient
Calleach the mighty
Bones of the Earth
Answer your children

South

Mother to Maiden
Winter to Summer
Root into Blossom
Answer us Changer

West

Flow now the waters
All hearts rejoicing
Laughter and Loving
Bounty and blessing

North

Now in the Hinge-time
Wise ones are calling
Show us your wonder
O Maiden of May.

< The High Priest took the offertory oil and poured some on the bonfire lit in the fire quadrant (see graphic on main page). >

Quarter Callers, in unison:

Aine, Accept our Sacrifice. Earth Mother, Bless us with your presence

< The quarter callers approached to the altar with lighters in hand. East and West callers light the white candles (one each). The High Priestess removes the cloak and enters through the North (the veil was parted by the North Caller). Quarter callers return to their altars. >

The High Priestess:

Let the Goddess of Earth hear our call. Blessings to all who honor the Shining Ones. In this season of renewal we do honor the Goddess of the Wells, for the sacred well is the eye of the Earth, the giver and receiver, and the Gate to the Fae!

The High Priestess took the fresh flowers from the altar and said:

Now let the well be dressed, honoring our simple symbol of all the world’s sacred wells.

< The High Priestess placed the fresh flowers around the birdbath in the western quadrant (see graphic on main page). >

 

Calls to the God

The High Priest:

It is said that when the Maid of May appears in any place or any heart that the delight of love cannot be far behind. In Aine, the power of love’s joy was worshipped in Aengus Og, the son of Dagda and Boann. He is the golden harper, whose music wakens longing and fulfillment in the mortal hearts. He is the silver voice, calling all to come away from earthly care and join in the joy of May. The consort of the Earth Mother is the Lord of the Greenwood. The God of the Hunt brings fertility and abundance, it is in his presence that good fortune is borne. Now let us welcome the powerful Lords.

East

The young son of Maponos
Aengus the Harper
Sing, o enticer
Delighter of Maidens

South

Sap in the branches
All making Merry
Lord of the Hunt
Whose staff is the strongest

West

Seed into sprout
Sprout in to blossom
Fertility abounds
In the hinge-time of May

North

Raise now the May Rod
Aengus we name you
Hail Lord of the Greenwood
Come to our calling

<  The High Priestess steps to the altar, takes the offertory oil, and pours it on the fire in the southern quadrant. >

Quarter callers in unison:

Aengus Og, accept our sacrifice! Lord of the Greenwood, bless us with your presence!

< The quarter callers approached to the altar with lighters in hand. North & South callers light the yellow candles (one each). The High Priestess took the May Rod from the Altar. The High Priest took the flowered wreath from the altar. >

The High Priestess:

The symbol of fertility will now be passed from woman to woman. Meditate upon how you desire fertility to come into your life this season as you hold it in your hands.

< The High Priestess walked to the Eastern altar and passed the may rod to the first female participant.  She was instructed to pass it clockwise to the next female participant an so on. >

The High Priest:

The symbol of fertility will now be passed from man to man. Meditate upon how you desire fertility to come into your life this season as you hold it in your hands.

< The High Priest walked to the Eastern altar and passed the wreath to the first male participant.  He was instructed to pass it counterclockwise to the next male participant an so on.  When the objects returned, both officiants returned to the main altar with the objects.  the High Priest walked to the north and placed the wreath on the ground in front of the north altar. >

The High Priest:

Awake, O Earth Mother! Join now with the Lord of the Greenwood and bring joy and blessing to us all!

< High Priestess went to the north and drove the May Rod into the ground, inside the wreath. >

The High Priestess:

Awake, O Lord of the Greenwood! Enter now the Maiden Earth and bring joy and blessing to us all!

< High Priest & Priestess returned to the main altar. >

The High Priestess:

Let us come together as a tribe and dance the dance of life.

Dancing of the Maypole

At this point the participants were led by the usher through the North of the circle.  Everyone gathered around the May Pole.  Participation in the dance was, of course, voluntary.  There were drums and other instruments for those who wished to play music instead.  The dance was (finally) explained.  We used an old boombox with some Celtic music (I have no memory of what music we played, sorry!).  We had a potluck feast after the initial dance.  This was a point of frivolity and happiness.

Divination Performed

After the feast, the High Priest announced that a divination would be performed. All participants were instructed that the tarot cards would be placed on the main altar.  Everyone returned to the circle.  They were asked to approach the altar and meditate for a moment on the deck, focusing on the question of what the next month and a half will bring. When everyone was through, and had returned to their positions, the High Priest performed the divination.

The Fae Rite

The High Priestess:

Before we close this eve and while we are in festive mood, we will lastly pay homage to the fae. There is a rack filled with ribbons and adornments. We shall now adjourn to the Faery Tree to perform our Offering to the Fae.

< All participants were led to the Faery Tree. This was a small tree that decided to grow in an awkward area of the field. It grew out from under a cement block covering a drainage pipe. We chose that as our Faery Tree to honor its desire to grow in such adverse conditions.  It was about 3′ – 4′ tall.  >

The High Priestess:

In the days of memories, Aine the goddess was a queen of the Fae-folk. Ruling from her mound in the south of Erin. Likewise Aengus was a king of the Gentle People, making the faery music beneath the Brug Na Boyne. Now we call to them to open the way to the people of peace. On the feast of Beltane, the veils between the worlds are thin. Now we honor the nobel clans of th otherworld, the spirits of Earth to join our dance and receive due offering.

Come to the gates, gentle and lovely ones. Hear our call, we the children of Earth, who remember you. We offer you our worship, our reverence and our blessing. You who rule in the wildwood, who give luck or bane, you who teach us the hidden ways and aid the wise, receive now these offerings made in your honor.

Please take on charm or ribbon from the basket and tie it on the tree. This is our offering to the fae you may wish to add your own call to fae when you place your charm on the tree.

< Each participant tied a charm or ribbon to the little tree. All celebrants were called back to the circle for the closing. >

Quarters Released

< Celtic calls were released first, in their entirety, Fae second. >

East

Guardian of the Eastern Gate,
Gracious Dagda
We thank you for your presence in this circle
Stay if you wish, go if you must
We release you from this circle.

Blessed creatures of the east
We call to the faeries of Air
We call to the beautiful, graceful sylphs
You are free to go from this sacred space
Blessed be!

< —-extinguish the candle—– >

South

Guardians of the southern gate,
Mighty Lugh,
We thank you for your presence in this circle
Stay if you wish, go if you must:
We release you from this circle.

—-

Blessed creatures of the south
We call to the faeries of Fire
We call to the wise and energetic Salamanders
You are free to go from this sacred place
Blessed be

< —-extinguish the candle—– >

West

Guardian of the Western Gate
Sagacious Cerridwen,
We thank you for your presence in this circle
Stay if you wish, go if you must
We release you from this circle.

Blessed creatures of the west
We call to the faeries of water
We call to the stern yet playful undines
You are free to go from this sacred place
Blessed Be

< —-extinguish the candle—– >

North

Guardian of the Northern Gate,
Generous Danu,
We thank you for your presence in this circle.
Stay if you wish, go if you must:
We release you from the circle.

Blessed Creatures of the north
We call to the faeries of the Earth
We call to the clever and kind-hearted Gnomes
You are free to go from this sacred space
Blessed be!

< —-extinguish the candle—– >

Circle is Opened

The High Priestess:

This rite is complete. Walk with Peace.


Sources for my Beltane Ritual

My original website had this to say:  This ritual is a combination of Beltane rites from the ADF, the Henge of Keltria, as well as my own writing.

I have a filing cabinet filled with printouts from the Henge of Keltria and the ADF, and many other websites and newsgroups.  During a move from one place to another, those notes were “consolidated” from nice organized, and labeled, file folders into one large mass of paper.  I’ll need to sort through those one of these days to see if I still have the source material.  I’ll add links if the sources still exist.