This year, I was to lead our Coven’s Beltane ritual. It was not something that I had planned to do. But, circumstances made the honor fall to me as I volunteered, should anything happen to the original plan of having someone else lead. And, circumstances did, indeed, happen…
I wanted to do something a little different. We don’t have the option to have a Maypole dance, although last year, we did dance around our altar. And, I didn’t want to just have a celebratory ritual; I wanted it to be special. It is something I aspire to every time I create a new ritual, which is several times a year.
So, I created this guided ‘journey’ as a sort of meditation. It is meant to cause the journeyer to see these things happening as if watching a short film. It met with much success and gratitude from our Coven members, especially the part where the Goddess touches those present (at which time, I went around the Circle and touched each person, just as is described in the ‘journey’). My hope is that this will inspire others to create. It is also my hope that this might allow others to feel and see the Goddess and the God in whatever form you wish.
Breathe …imagine that the air going into your body is a color. See the air as this color. …Breathe in the air, the color, and hold it for a moment…breathe it out and see the color leave your body, only to be replaced by the next colored breath. …inhale…..exhale…
I want to take you on a journey to a place that is not touched by time. I don’t know where this place is and it isn’t important. Come along with me as we travel through the mists, over land and sea, into a place where the air is pure and the fires burn brightly on the hill tops at Beltane…
The people have gathered at the edge of the village, dressed in brightly colored clothes, adorned with flowers and ivy and feathers. They form a loose circle around a stone altar. On the altar are offerings to the Goddess; sunflowers, seeds, a loaf of bread, bowl of milk, stones and bones and tokens of devotion. In the center, there is a large, round rock with ribbons tied around it. Each of the villagers has tied a colored ribbon around this stone in gratitude to the Goddess for bringing the life of the Earth back from the Crone of winter.
Suddenly, among them, is a young woman. No one knows where she came from. She is showing the beginning of the roundness of pregnancy, glowing from within. She is wearing a dress that seems to me made of silk and of the leaves of plants and fibers of vines. On Her head is a wreath of purple and yellow blossoms and in her hands is a basket full of the representation of the bounty of the harvest to come; a red apple, wheat, an ear of corn, citrus and plums. She places the basket near the ribbon-adorned stone at the center of the altar with reverence and turns again to the villagers surrounding Her.
She stands at the center, near the altar and closes her eyes. She sways as She begins to hum and it is infectious and melodious and the people surrounding Her begin to hum, too. The children giggle, offering a counter point to the emerging melody. The Goddess opens Her eyes and begins to sing as She moves around the circle, touching each person in turn, giving back the gratitude that has been shown to Her. Each person She touches begins to glow and the humming reaches a layered, multi-toned peak and then, at some unseen signal, it ceases and the Goddess raises her arms.
Her voice rises in an unknown language as She calls out. But to whom is She calling?
A crashing and a thundering of hooves startles those in the circle. It is coming from the forest beyond the boundaries of field, within the embrace of the wilderness. A horn sounds somewhere, far away. The Pines and Firs and the ground tremble and dust rises from within the trees.
The Goddess at the center calls again and her voice is full of longing and welcome, and just a little bit of awe. Her eyes are drawn to the edge of the forest, seeking into the shadows.
The villagers turn their eyes toward the spot at the forests edge just as the Wild God emerges, shaking His crest of antlers, clothed in animal fur and leaves. He smiles at the gathering and utters a wild cry that makes each person shiver with its power as He moves into the circle and toward the Goddess. She laughs and reaches for Him as He draws close and takes Her in a gentle but insistent embrace. They kiss and the villagers begin to hum again as the waves of feral joy ripple out from the Goddess and Her Consort. The Lady leans away from Him and retrieves the apple from the basket on the altar; sweetness to be shared between them. But, before She can turn back to Her Lover, She is swept off Her feet, long, golden hair flying. Her arms tighten around His strong shoulders as He once again utters a fierce cry. He clutches the Goddess to His muscular chest and moves out of the circle, into the trees and disappears into the forest with Her…
One of the men of the village breaks out of the circle with a lit torch in hand, uttering a cry not unlike that of the Wild God’s. He lights the piled wood at the edge of the circle. No one really noticed it there before and some think it may have simply appeared, a gift from the God. Flames leap up, higher than the man and he throws the torch into the fire and rushes back to the circle of villagers. The humming becomes a song, wild and exuberant. Some keep time on drums and others play wood flutes and reed pipes. The other men, women and children begin to dance with untamed abandon, swinging each other, and lifting the young into the air. It is their dance of the Celebration of the Turning of the Wheel. It is their dance of gratitude to the Goddess and God, to celebrate the union in the forest and to empower each other with bliss and thankfulness.
They dance to bring balance and to celebrate The Balance. They dance to see the Goddess and God in each other’s eyes. They dance to celebrate their growth and the growth of the crops and of their endeavors. They dance until the sun goes down and they are exhausted and the children have long since fallen asleep. They celebrate the Sun and the Earth until, finally, the fire burns low and they lay under the stars in the embrace of another in the darkness and celebrate the union of the Goddess and Wild God in other ways…until they, too, fall asleep, warm and satiated and full of feasting and love.
As they sleep, they dream of the Goddess. She holds them as they journey in the mists of their dreams and She gives each dreamer a kiss to mark them as Her own.”
© S. JoBeth Sexton, 5/6/2017