Beltane

Beltane and the Great Queen

As part of the ongoing creation and sanctification of the Cauldron of the Celts Sacred Calendar, we have the honor of adding two more days to the calendar. Both in honor of an Morrighan. I was having a rather hard time figuring out where exactly the holy day of the Great Queen would go on the modern calendar year, and it wasn’t until we welcomed more to our merry band of Celtic devotees that the answer revealed itself, apparently you need at least an attempted murder to get things brewing. With the help of my dear sister Verity Blue Midnight, we realized that one day was just not enough and that the date was less consequential than the timing. So for this year and hopefully many more future years to come we will be honoring the Morrighan on the full moon of May and the dark moon of October.

To be clear, I do not know of any direct connotation in the lore or otherwise between the Morrighan and the moon (although if anyone does know of some I would be interested in looking into it). However, given her association with the liminal states, it felt more correct for her days to be on a lunar calendar whilst the rest settle into the solar modern one. While her connection to Beltane and Samhain seem fairly clear, and are clearly felt. This years May full moon fell just days after May 1st/Beltane. Which seemed a blessing on things to come.

We crashed into May with a thunderous bang. I have always found this time of year to be one of high emotions and high energy, this year is proving no different. While my sister priestess planned a loving devotion to the Great Queen for dusk on the full moon, petitions tended to while walking a labyrinth at dusk and offerings given in honor and praise, I ran off to the woods. Truly it was a weekend where her presence and the spirits of this time of year were all around.

The Beltane Sun 2015

It started before dawn on Beltane, way up on inspiration point with the Morris Dancers jovially playing and dancing up the sun. It was incredibly warm this year, a contrast in years past when you would have to bundle up to greet the golden rays, a marker to the change our earth is going through. Every year I am amazed at the flutter and anticipation that this sunrise brings. What if I’m late? What if this time it rises early? Silly, perhaps. But it is part of the magic and the buzz of Beltane.

Beltane 2015

This year the heat and dryness of our land prevented any morning dew to be found. I suppose I can go one year without the blessings of Beltane beauty upon me. After basking in the golden hour light for a while longer it was time to go in search of food and then to work. A stark change from years before where I could stumble back to bed before rising and prepping for the day. The Rooster, a local cafe, was kind enough to provide us with a lovely meal, and then we decided to spread the May Day cheer by buying flowers and passing them around the office. There was quite a bit of bemused confusion as to why they were being given or offered flowers, and an equal amount of delight at discovering flowers on ones desk for apparently no reason. All and all I consider it a Beltane well managed.

The Canyon

That night we cleaned up the house, left out some offerings, and prepped for an escape to the woods. We left bright and early the next day, heading straight for the Canyon. A trip we have made countless times over the years that holds so many memories. It was brilliant and beautiful all day. Clear skies, jubilant sun, and fresh crisp air. Everything a person could need to clear their head and help ease their burdens. We decided for this trip to explore all the little side roads off the canyon in search for a great camping spot. We found many treasures, but one that still has a hold on my heart and desires.

There are several places through the Canyon where you cross the Feather River, and at one such place there is a road, and up that road is an oasis. You can’t see it from the road. We had just stopped because I have an ever growing obsession with rocky rivers and a need to be by them. At first I wasn’t sure whether or not there was going to be a way down to the water, but there was. I was not prepared for the beauty that I saw.

Ladybug Lagoon

It was like stumbling upon the lagoon from Neverland. Completely picturesque. I desperately wanted to dive into that crystalline water, but the reality is that water is far too cold for swimming just yet. Treacherous and beautiful, the way I like it. We stayed by the river for a long while, climbing rocks and enjoying the serenity of it all. The Lumberjack recounted the story of coming to this spot once and all the rocks were covered in ladybugs! There were a few ladybugs here and there and many a butterfly on this trip. It seemed only natural to name the place Labybug Lagoon. I will gladly and happily be returning here this year.

Wash away my fearsClear waters

 

 

 

 

 

 

Come to the river, child of the heart
Lay by the stream, all cares depart
Great Lady wash from my soul
My weakness and the doubts that I hold
Splendid One wash me in the waters from beyond
I arise glorious with only my courage and tresses donned

After stopping and scouting many more places, including my beloved Bullard’s Bar we settled down to camp for the night. We did not plan enough ahead to have gotten a campfire permit, so we went without. Eating a humble but filling meal of sandwiches and fruit, we enjoyed the calming solace of being outside and away from the hustle and bustle. We found a broken knife and fashioned a game out of throwing the blade and trying to get it to stick in some rounds. We planned to buy a small archery set to bring out next time, for fun and practice. We gathered some wild cedar tips and made them into bundles, the Lumberjack even picked some dogwood flowers for me. I think that dogwood is probably the regional equivalent of the Hawthorn in this part of the woods. It was in bloom everywhere, crowning the forest in beauty and joy.

The moon was full and splendidly bright, the air was cold and fortifying. That night prayers where made to the Gods and the Ungods with heartfelt devotion to see us all through the challenges and trials we walk. Offerings were made to continue to bring prosperity and joy to my beloveds. The land and all it’s many treasures were thanked profusely for being steadfast and welcoming. With a much lighter heart I slept that night.

The return home was slow, as we were want to leave. We revisited our plans and what the next five year holds. Each of us know we can’t stay forever in the city, it wears too much on out emotions and spirit. May this year bring the beginnings of dreams realized for my family and all those seeking and working towards their goals.

Blessed Beltane everyone! I pray that the month of May keeps you well and shows you the way to your dreams.

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The Beltane Fires Blaze

I came running into the month of Beltane with fire in my hands and joy in my heart. Or more precisely Beltane and I went running out together in the high summer sun. It has been a non-stop adventure exhausting and exhilarating. While I see the shadows crossing with my rays of light and fire, I know there is more to come.

For me Beltane has always been a time of holy sacred fire. It is one of my top holy times of the year, and for me it last all the month of May. In the Irish tradition, Beltane or Bealltainn was the start of the summer season, an agricultural festival of blessings and protections. It was the time when the cattle went up to the summer fields to graze, their safety of high import. It was the time to put out the hearth fires, and relight them from the blessed bonfires of the community. Blessing were lain on house and field, rowan tree limbs collected for protection and prosperity. Being the beginning of summer the larders would be bare, and the harvest being planted. It would be a time of possibility and uncertainty. Over on Tairis there is an excellent article on the folk customs of the Irish and Scottish of Bealltainn throughout the centuries.

Add to this historical understanding of the festival, is the knowledge of the season. It is spring, the start of summer. The air is charged with change, will it frost the night and kill the blooms shyly peaking out? Or will the summer winds blow in hot and steamy? Everyday is an unknown. The world is on the edge of a new now, a new standard. The spirits are a buzz with the energy being put out by everything. Things get knocked over, go missing. Tempers are wild, and everyone seems on the edge of absolute joy or a ragged frustration that could end in a brawl or a roll in the bed sheets. The blood begins to pump faster, with more vigor and heat as the sun showers it’s glory upon the world more and more. Now is the time of action. The start of the cattle raiding. Three of the legendary invasions from the Leabhar Gabala happen in the time of Bealltainn. To hunt, to plant, to fuck, to create, to conquer, to woo, to run mad, to laugh.  The veil is thin, the Gods and all those who dwell in the Otherworld draw closer with their mesmerizing golden haze. In a word it is one of my favorite times of year, complete with it’s stress, and maddening mood swings.

Now that we’ve covered the flavor and lens in which Beltane is known around my household you’ll get a much better sense if the emotive and energetic charge of the evens that have transpired over the last few days lol.

The build up began on Friday April 27th, with me facilitating an amazing ritual put on by the lovely Lady Yeshe Rabbit and Thora Azuolas. It was made even more special as we were joined by Guest Priestesses Kris Freewoman and Larissa. It was a ritual in honor of Oshun, as this is the fifth year of Yeshe Rabbit’s dedication to her. It was high energy, dancing extravaganza. Kris Freewoman is an amazing dancer and has such an energetic grace in how she directs the movement of the room. It is a skill that is lacking from our Tribes public working and one I would love to at least tap into. We had a room of 25+ women dancing in naked glory without a care in the world other than how beautiful they were being for Oshun. Not my pantheon but impressive and moving on all accounts. Larissa is an amazing drummer and had brought her talented friends with her, to truly make this a ritual to blow others in the rhythm department. For an hour or so that little yoga studio was transformed into a temple, an open field on the river bed, and a tribal communion ground. And by the end of the night I was bushwacked! lol

But there is not too much rest for the wicked. I was up bright and early on Saturday for a lovely day trip to a flea market with the Lumberjack. It was filled with all kinds of treasures that we wished we had room enough to hoard. In the end I bought some trinkets and a beautiful gold cuff and was contented. A quick stop at our favorite BBQ place for sustenance and it was back to the house to piece together an outfit befitting a Tickster of the May. Three hours later we were satisfied, the house completely destroyed, and hurrying on my way to  get to ritual.

A ritual I only vaguely remember lol. It was a large production befitting Beltane, there was a lot of talking coming out of my mouth. A story weaved in rainbow colors about the Tribes of Love and Fire. How man came to be the fragile forged steel that it is today. A large community passing through the Beltane Fires that leaped high burning with excitiment, many blessings given. A new May Court crowned, and general revelry ensued. Another late night and sore feet, a heel objecting to being used as a bull hoof to drum up people’s attentions. Food hastily eaten in good company, and then to my soft calling bed.

The morning brought some respite but not much lol. Preparations needed to be made! It was Beltane Eve! I cleaned my destroyed house and set about to baking my offerings of honey cakes for the beasties and shining ones. They were damn tasty too.

I had some important spell work to prep and get done on the day. As well as a need to prep my flowers that were given to me by the Lumberjack. They are now drying for future use in incense and other spell work. All and all a busy day around Fort Epic.

And just when I was tidying up the Good God’s kitchen altar, it was time to leave for another adventure! For not only was it Beltane Eve, but the birthday of one of my beloved soul sisters! Tauri women rule, for the record. For this celebration we were off to get a lesson in archery. Something tantalizing but foreign to me. Turned out to be an addicting thing, and to most of our surprise we were not so helpless around the bow and arrow. Indeed I feel the possibility of a new wonderful hobby on the horizon….

With the night still young, and the Beltane blood high we went out to celebrate Tiki style. It was a lot of fun, I’ve never really been to a bar before. And certainly had never gotten drunk at a bar before lol. Good times all the way around. I discovered I have a taste for a drink known as Navy Grog (good thing to know for the future).

The good and happy drunk stumbled her way to bed, in enough of her right mind to have a glass of water and ibuprofen before diving headlong into Morpheus’s sweet arms.  But wait! Sleep was but a sweet passing allusion. Somewhere inbetween the Mai Tai and Navy Grog, smashed between the talk of finding the bones of the dead on the beach, and oogling Elvis on the screen, there was the persuasion that took hold on my drunk little heart and I agreed to go up to the Inspiration point and watch the Morris Dancers and greet the first rays of the sun.

4:30 comes all to soon, and while the Portal turrets played their harmonic opera, the happy drunk stumbled confusedly back out of bed. Finding that those 4 hours alone in the sleeping realm did absolutely nothing for my balance and stability on my boozey feet. But the sunrise beckoned! And in the little marshmallow car the three bleary-eyed bull-women made their way up the hills, through the magic mist to watch that golden coin take it’s royal seat in the sky.

And it was worth it. While the Englishmen danced with their bells and ribbons the Sun began to show hit glimmering glory.

 One moment you are holding your breath in anticipation, the next a sliver of gold, and then a brilliance to bold to look upon. Such is the glory of the Beltane sun. With joy we  washed our hands and face in the morning dew. Gratefully we happened upon some wild Lady’s Mantel. All seemed delightfully right in the world.

The rest of the day past in a Gatorade, sleepy haze. As I worked the day and went home very tired. But certain things still needed to be done. Our Beltane fires needed to be lit, all of the house (including the cats) needed to pass thru for a good healthy year. And then the altar needed to be lit. Once the business was taking care of, and even then I completely forgot to bless the car which led to a different kind of adventure, but most of the business taken care of it was time to rest in the house and the home that I love.

I have to say it was one of the best first of May’s I’ve had in a long time. And the month isn’t even over yet! I realize that this post comes weeks after the event,we are now in the height of May-dom, so many more exciting adventures have transpired. So much more magic has been made. But that’s the thing about busy adventures, you’re too busy experiencing them to blog about them. But don’t fear. I’m taking pictures, and making notes. So as soon as I catch my breath there will be more blog posts to come!