Beltane – A Guided Journey

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.
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Beltane

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

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Heat

I live in Central Arizona. Most of the world thinks that the entire state of Arizona is a huge desert, full of cactus and devoid of greenery, where temperatures soar into the hundreds in the summer. While that is true for Central and Southern Arizona, I can tell you that the northern part of the state is not like that. We get snow, cooler temperatures. There are forests and lakes to fish. And, when I was living in the northern part of the Arizona, I enjoyed summers of mild temperatures with only a couple of weeks out of the season with temperatures over one hundred degrees. It was heaven.

In the central part of the state, however, near the capitol of Phoenix, summers can reach temperatures of one hundred degrees and often more. Typically, the weather jumps from tolerable to something right next door to Hell, with Hell being the more preferable place to visit. I don’t do well in this kind of heat. Most people have problems with depression in the winter. I have problems with depression in the summer. I am more of a ‘pine trees and mountains and snow’ kind of person and I like to be outside. But, because I find it difficult to tolerate the summer heat in our suburb of Phoenix, I can’t go outside very much.

So, as I was sitting at my desk, looking out the window, contemplating the weather and watching the birds outside pant in the heat, this poem came pouring out of me. As I re-read it and did some editing, I realized that it is not only about this extreme weather. It is also a metaphor for other things, as most poems tend to be. And, since there is no denying this creative urge and the need to write it all down, I thought I would share it. I will leave it up to you to decide the meaning of the metaphor.

Your comments are welcome.

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                         USTILO

 There you are, rising from

      the dust;

         Climbing,

                Shining.

Hues pulsate with breath,

                                     With Life.

               You dizzy me, spinning

                                     shimmering.

        You are a mirage on

                an inferno land

                in the Day of Endless Sun.

Moving slowly,

        flowing like melting paint,

                your fever expands,

                searing fingers sinking into

                        everything.

I breathe the scorching air.

Falling away, shadows receding,

        My eyes blinded

                as the disk of the sun

                        screams at them.

I seek escape and find none.

        Flames dance within-

                -without-

           The invisible waltz

                        of hungry destruction.

I beg the sky to tilt –

        An impossible request.

All I touch and all I know

        is invaded by those fingers

                of relentless degree.

 

Oh, how I long for Winter.

 

© JoBeth Sexton – 6/6/2016

TOUCHING WIND

So, here I am again.
This is a poem that I wrote years ago, as so many are. Sometimes, I wonder where all of my muses have gone because I don’t feel like a writer very much any more.

I know that writing every day is one of the things that builds better skill. But, most days, I can’t find my muse. I guess another way to word that is to say that I can’t find the motivation to write. I know it is buried somewhere under all the fatigue and the long list of things that I know I should do instead but nothing feeds the ‘Writer’ part of my soul quite like immersing myself in a mountain of warm, fresh words that help me express what I can not otherwise give life to.

Here is another piece of my world, from a long time ago. I probably don’t need to add this but I am going to anyway. This poem is not about what it seems to be about at first glance. Metaphor is a wonderful thing.

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TOUCHING WIND

All around me
-holding me
Pushing me from behind
a gentle lover’s pressure.
Dancing around my neck
an icy chill,
Lancing through my clothes,
Touching secret parts of me
Dancing with me
in embrace.
The poetry of moments;
A Sonnet of Days
Teaching me
Unseen insistence,
bending me into
supplication –
Willingness of Willow Tree.
Tugging at my hair,
Whipping over me,
Breathing life into
a deadened soul
That weeps for life no more.
…kneeling within you
inside your stream of Spirit
You give your breath and strength
and I
offer the Wind all willingness.

©JoBeth Sexton 12/12/2002-2016

CHANGELING… A poem

CHANGELING

©Sally JoBeth Sexton

May 19, 2015

 

Floating…

   I am floating

Until I let the waves

                Roll me.

In the lull of ripples,

   I let the water

                Hold me.

Covering my ears, I hear

                The surreal sounds

Of the life within the deep.

 

The sounds taste so like those

                I feel when I am

                   Buried by sleep.

 

Rocking, as within a lover’s arms,

                Eyes closed against

                     What I might see,

Choosing instead to rely

        On images just

                Beneath Reality.

Whispers unknown to my ears

                And hiding from

                The tick of time.

A breath of the Song

                does quicken

                      within my blood.

The fingers of my

               Consciousness

                    dig deep into the

                Soil of the mists

For this is where the

                Roots of light and

                darkness are born.

And tranquilly float on

                The ebb and flow

                     of thought and dreams.

I haven’t written any poetry for a very long time. I am fortunate to be in a place in my life where I can stop and write what I feel when the muse speaks to me. I don’t have to worry about someone looking over my shoulder and my job isn’t in jeopardy if I need to pick up a pen and paper to scribble a few lines before they vanish from my mind.

Yes, I am very fortunate.

I don’t know if this is a good poem or a bad one. I am sure there will be those out there who will like it and those that will not. But, it doesn’t really matter. It was from my heart.

If you have something to say about it, feel free, no matter what it is. I value all kinds of feedback and comments.

And, in advance, I would like to say, ‘Thank you’ to those of you who glance at this page.

OVATION

I have been a fan of some very successful Rock-and-Roll bands for a very long time. I have been to one particular band’s concerts several times as well as to shows by a member who had a stunningly successful  solo career. Being a Witch and aware of energy flow and what it can do, I opened myself up to the energy of the crowd and wondered what it would be like to be on that stage, where all of the energy was being directed, the recipient of the current, if you will.

I imagine that it would feel like being at the end of a live wire, of sorts. A sustained, yet muted,  lightning strike, perhaps.

From this train of thought came the following poem.

OVATION

 

The curtain sways.

        It opens and the rush…

Life flows like a torrent;

                Blood from a vein.

The bird’s wing cradles the wind.

        A choir of breezes blows

                and lifts the cape of stars.

The moon rises and they

                to their feet.

Applause comes like thunder,

        cleaving the atmosphere,

        twisting the air into wicked strands

        that cascade into the

                        Curtain of night.

 

The spirit splits.

        The trees tremble.

        The hills hold vastly changing admiration,

 

One moment tender—

        crushing in like velvet,

Moving in to terrible

        and then to freedom.

The adoration lifts like the many hands

                Of worship.

But never forever—

        Only for a moment in time.

 

©JoBeth Sexton 2001-2013

METAPHOR

This is a poem that I wrote long ago. I was in a relationship with someone who, I found out a few months after it started, did not want me to be who I was. This person asked me to move in and I, being in love with the idea of being in love, moved in to the little single wide, two bedroom trailer. I had no idea, at that time, that this person did not like men in the least. This proved to be a problem because I had two boys and one was just about to come of age…become a young man.

So, I went where I thought it would be best, depending on the delusion that this other person had just as lofty goals and ideals and wanted to see me excel in all that I tried.

During the course of this relationship, I was talked into doing so many things that I really did not want to do. I found myself in a horrible situation where I was coerced into doing things in the legal world and in the world of the heart that I knew were mistakes from the start. Yet, I thought that it was all for love. Turns out it was all for power. It was not healthy. I regret nothing, however because I learned from it.

One day, while sitting in a truck, waiting for this person to finish a transaction of some kind, I saw the most gorgeous clouds, forming a thunderstorm. I could not help but cry, seeing that my relationship was just as hopeless at the shapes those clouds were taking and then losing. Nothing was set in stone. My tears fell….

METAPHOR

 

THEY FLY

THEY FLOAT—

                                           COLLIDE WITH EACH OTHER.

                                    ONE COVERS ANOTHER

                   LIKE A LOVER.

 

                                         THEY FORM OUT OF NOTHING,

                                               STRUGGLE FOR PERMANENCE—

                                    COVER THE SUN

                                    LIKE A HAND OVER MY EYES.

 

                                    THEY LOOK SO SOFT

                                                YET THEY CAN DEAL A BLOW

                    THAT KNOCKS ME DOWN…

    I AM ON MY KNEES.

 

                      THEY BUILD ON THEMSELVES                        

               AND FILL UP WITH VIOLENCE        

 CASCADING UPWARD.

                  REFLECTING THE LIGHT

THEY EAT IT AND CAST THEIR SHADOWS.

    THEY DROP THEIR SEED AND

 FLOOD THE WAY

                                 LIKE MY TEARS.

                                   …THE CLOUDS…

                                                        …MY TROUBLES.

 

 

COPYRIGHT JOBETH SEXTON

 AUGUST 6, 1999 – 2012

GRAY DAY

| Gray Day |

Muted light
     mutating my thoughts
The dead things bend,
    Stiff as a brick
                       in the wind.
This body’s curves
                    echoed again and again…..
Undulating on the horizon
                    a reflection of sky 
       on the ground.

Insanity peeks in
                   as the monochromatic scheme
Bursts its vein
      and another blossoms
    in liquid form
       that matches the horizon
                     and the undulation of my body,
  in it’s gray pain…

   Indistinguishable from the sky
    ~ from the earth
    ~ from the sea…
              I disappear.
3/28/06
Copyright– JoBeth Sexton 2006- 2012