Beltane Rites and Rituals-Beltane is a time to celebrate fertility and the greening of the earth. Try some of these celebrations and ritual ideas at Beltane to honor the arrival of spring and new life.
Deity of the Day
Annapurna or Annapoorna from Sanskrit meaning the giver of food and nourishment. Also called অন্নদা (annadaa) in Bengali.) is the Hindu goddess of nourishment. Anna means “food” or “grains”. Purna means “full, complete and perfect”. She is an avatar (form) of Parvati, the wife of Shiva. Annapurna is eulogized in Annada Mangal, a narrative poem in Bengali by Bharatchandra Ray.
City of Kashi
Annapurna is the Goddess of the city of Kashi (now known as Varanasi, U.P., India). Kasi is also known as the City of Light. Ka means the cause, a means the manifestation of consciousness, sa means peace and i is the causal body. Kashi is also the place which causes consciousness to manifest the highest peace of the causal body.
Story of Parvati
Goddess Parvati was told by her consort Shiva that the world is an illusion and that food is a part of this illusion called māyā. The Divine Mother who is worshiped as the manifestation of all material things, including food, became angry. To demonstrate the importance of her manifestation of all that is material, she disappeared from the world. Her disappearance brought time to a standstill and the earth became barren. There was no food to be found anywhere, and all the beings suffered from the pangs of hunger.
Seeing all the suffering, Mother Parvati was filled with compassion and reappeared in Kasi and set up a kitchen. Hearing about her return, Shiva ran to her and presented his bowl in alms, saying, “Now I realize that the material world, like the spirit, cannot be dismissed as an illusion.” Parvati smiled and fed Shiva with her own hands.
Since then Parvati is worshiped as Annapurna, the Goddess of Nourishment.
This legend is similar like Poornavalli Thayar or Poorna devi. Brahma and Shiva both had originally five heads. one day Brahma went to kailasah. parvati could not recognise Brahma she was confused and concluded it was her husband “shiva”. she started to perform padha pooja(ablution of feet, considered an act of respect). Brahma knew this fact but he remained silent. On seeing this shiva understood that parvathi had no intention she was unaware that one before who stood was not Her lord but it was brahma. Enraged in anger he plucked the brahma’s fifth head which resulted in “Brahmahatthi dosham” (sin resulted due to murder of brahmin”). The fifth head of brahma stuck in shiva’s hand. shiva wandered and visited temples to be relieved from the curse.To find salvation from the curse, Shiva went around the world on a pilgrimage begging for food, with Brahmma’s skull as the begging vessel. Every time someone filled the vessel with food, it vanished immediately, to Shiva’s horror. While coming to Thirukkarambanoor or Bhikshandar Kovil Uthamar Kovil Vishnu requested his consort Lakshmi to give alms to Shiva. Shiva’s grail was filled by the alms and Lakshmi came to be known as Poornavalli (the one who filled the grail). She got rid off shiva’s hunger completely. since shiva came with a begging bowl and his hunger was entirely satisfied At Uthamar Koil, Goddess Lakshmi filled the vessel with food, thus ending Shiva’s hunger
Annapurna has many names. The Annapurna Sahasranam presents her one thousand names and the Annapurna Shatanama Stotram contains 108 of her names. She is variously described as:
- She who is full, complete and perfect with food and grains
- She who gives nourishment
- She who is the strength of Shiva
- She who is the grantor of knowledge
- She who takes away all fear
- She who is the Supreme welfare
- She who manifests truth and efficiency
- She who is beyond Maya
- She who is the cause of creation and dissolution
- She who is adi sakthi
Additional names and attributes of Goddess Annapurna as given in Annapurnashtakam Adi Sankaracharya who is also called Jagat -guru ( teacher of the World) in his famous hymn entitled Annapurnashtakam describes Goddess Annapurna in wonderful words. Additional names and attributes given to the Goddess in this Ashtakam describe not only Goddess Parvati but also the other Goddesses like Saraswati, Lakshmi and also Goddess Durga or Kali. It can also be mentioned in this context that Goddess S’akambari Devi also appears to be another name (perhaps the original name) of Goddess Annapurna.
The most well-known temple dedicated to Goddess Annapurna is in Varanasi, U.P., India. Adjacent to the Sanctum of the Goddess is the Kasi Viswanath temple. The two are separated by only a few yards. Annapurna is regarded as the queen of Varanasi alongside her husband Vishweshwar (Shiva), the King of Varanasi.
In the temple, at noon time, food offerings to the Goddess are distributed to the elderly and disabled daily. During the Autumn Navaratri food is distributed on a larger scale.
The other famous temple is Annapoorneshwari Temple, situated at Horanadu in the Western Ghats of Karnataka, where evening prayers are held after the devotees are fed.
In Kerala there is temple in Chalappally village by the name Kunnam Annapoorneswari Devi Temple. Another famous temple of the goddess is situated in Cherukunnu, Kannur, Kerala by the name Annapurneshwari Temple, Cherukunnu. In Thodupuzha town, there is Thachukuzhikavu Annapoorneswari-Bhadrakali-Navagraha Temple.
A temple for Annapoorna has been constructed near Watrap, on the way to Saduragiri. The temple is in the shape of eight-sided pyramid.
One more Annapurna Devi temple is under construction at Pathikonda, Kurnool Dist, Andhra Pradesh. In Hyderabad, her temples are found in Jafferguda. Her temples are there in Jalandhar and Bhatinda in Punjab.
In Maharashtra her tempes are found in Bhandara and Akola. There is also a famous temple in Indore, Madhya Pradesh.
Her temples are also found in Gujarat. In Unjha, Gujarat, she is worshipped in as Umiya Mata. Some people in Gujarat and Rajasthan also consider Ashapura Mata as an incarnation of Annapoorna Mata.
In Rajasthan, her temples are found in Mishroli village in Jhalawar district, Kagdara village in Pali district, There is one temple of Annapoorna Mata in Chittorgarh Fort. It was built by Maharana Hamir Singh. There are other temples in the fort near the Annapoorna Mata temple which are dedicated to Baan Mata, Charbhuja and Lakshmi-Narayan.
On the top of the Ramgarh hill, Rajasthan, Kisnai and Annapurna Devi temples are situated in the natural cave. About 750 stairs were constructed by Jhala Jalim Singh for reaching the temple on the hill top. The main speciality of this temple is that one Devi is worshiped with Meva and another is with Mas- Madira. At the time of Parshad, curtain is raised between the two Devis. Fair is also organised during Kartik Purnima.
An example of a Samhain altar.
This is Hecate’s holiday, a celebration of the Crone and the powers of the dark feminine principle. This is the Celtic day of the dead, and a power day in the wheeled calendar. The Celts traditionally wore white to welcome the first day of winter and the increasing darkness. By now the garden should be cleared; tools cleaned, oiled, and out away. The house gets its own cleaning, windows polished to a sparkle, freshly laundered curtains re-hung. Scour the front step to remove bad luck and rinse with sage tea to protect all who dwell within. Toss the old broom and use a new one to sweep away misfortune. The ash from old fires should be removed from the hearth and the stones scrubbed; lay a new fire to light the way for the ancestors.
The descent into darkness from which all new life and ideas come is a potent time for prophecy and omens. Astrological Samhain (November 7) has powerful Crone Moon that lends veracity to her predictions just at dawn. Give honor to the Triple Goddess with offerings of roasted apple and hot cider. Bob for apples to commemorate the trip by water to Avalon. The magical power hour for the gibbous Halloween Moon is ten or so.
Copyright K. D. Spitzer Llewellyn’s Witches’ Datebook 2009
An example of a Beltane altar.
Bring out your Sun jewelry, sparkling citrine, amber, and tiger eye; the light is still increasing and the earth and its water are teeming with new life. Driving the maypole into the earth replicates the ancients seeding the earth with Hermes stones for fertility. Its height signifies the union of sky and earth and dancing helps energize the earth. The wreath slides down the pole as the ribbons are woven–sympathetic magic at its most potent.
The Druid goddess for this important festival day is wise Sulis, who lived in the sacred grove at the Celtic hot springs at Bath, England. When the Romans moved into Britain, they built their own goddess of wisdom, Minerva, with the Celtic, Sulis a Sun goddess of healing and sacred waters. The temple and baths of the Goddess Sulis Minerva are still open.
Walk the bounds of your land; visit a nearby sacred site; leave ribbons at your town spring; weave intentions into a rowan wreath for your door to protect your home and family. Whip up an omelet to cook over your bale fire and nourish your household. Jump over the fire for protection and purification.
Copyright K. D. Spitzer Llewellyn’s Witches’ Datebook 2009
Deity of the Day
Dione was an ancient Greek goddess, an oracular Titaness primarily known from Book V of Homer’s Iliad, where she tends to the wounds suffered by her daughter Aphrodite. One source describes her as an ancient wife of Zeus.
Her name is essentially the feminine of the genitive form of Greek Zeus, that is, “Dios”, “of Zeus”. Other goddesses were called by this name. Due to her being a daughter of Dione, Aphrodite was sometimes called Dionaea and even Dioné.
Following the deciphering of Linear B by Ventris and Chadwick in the 1950s, a goddess named Di-u-ja was found in the tablets. This was considered to be a female counterpart of Zeus and identified with Dione by some scholars.
By the time of Strabo, Dione was worshiped at a sacred grove near Lepreon on the west coast of the Peloponnesus. She was also worshiped as a consort at the temples of Zeus, particularly his oracle at Dodona. Herodotus called this the oldest oracle in Greece and recorded two related accounts of its founding: the priests at Thebes in Egypt told him that two priestesses had been taken by Phoenician pirates, one to Libya and the other to Dodona, and continued their earlier rites; the priestesses of Dodona claimed that two black doves had flown to Libya and Dodona and commanded the creation of oracles to Zeus. Homer and Herodotus both make Zeus the principal deity of the site, but some scholars propose Dodona originally served as a cult center of an Earth Goddess.
In the 2nd-century BC sculptural frieze of the Great Altar of Pergamum, Dione is inscribed in the cornice directly above her name and figures in the eastern third of the north frieze, among the Olympian family of Aphrodite. This placement – making her the offspring of Uranus and Gaia – is Homeric and contradicts the theory put forth by Erika Simon that the altar’s organization was Hesiodic. Dione’s possible appearance in the east pediment of the Parthenon would likewise place her among the children of Uranus and Gaia.
The mythology concerning Dione is not consistent across the existing sources.
In Book V of the Iliad, during the last year of the Trojan War, the love goddess Aphrodite attempts to save her son Aeneas from the rampaging Greek hero Diomedes as she had previously saved her favorite Paris from his duel with Menelaus in Book III. Enraged, Diomedes chases her and drives his spear into her hand between the wrist and palm. Escorted by Iris to Ares, she borrows his horses and returns to Olympus. Dione consoles her with other examples of gods wounded by mortals – Ares bound by the Aloadae and Hera and Hades shot by Hercules – and notes that Diomedes is risking his life by fighting against the gods. (In fact, Diomedes subsequently fought both Apollo and Ares but lived to an old age; his wife Aegialia, however, took other lovers and never permitted him to return home to Argos after the war.) Dione then heals her wounds and Zeus, while admonishing her to leave the battlefield, calls her daughter.
Dione was not mentioned in Hesiod’s treatment of the Titans, but appears in the Theogony among his list of Oceanids. This makes her a daughter of Oceanus and Tethys.
The Bibliotheca of the Pseudo-Apollodorus includes Dione among the Titans and makes her the child of Gaia and Uranus. He makes her the mother of Aphrodite by Zeus but clearly describes Dione as one of the god’s adulterous partners and not his wife.
The Genealogy or Preface of Gaius Julius Hyginus’s Fabulae, a 1st-century BC crib of other, now-lost sources, lists Dione among the children of Gaia and Aether although this is possibly a transcription or manuscript error.
The 5th-century grammarian Hesychius of Alexandria described Dione as the mother of Bacchus in her entry from his Alphabetical Collection of All Words. This is separately supported by one of the scholiasts on Pindar.
Deity of the Day
The Greek Goddess
Ariadne was the Greek goddess of Labyrinths and passion. She was formerly a human princess.
Ariadne was born to King Minos and Pasiphae.
Ariadne saw Theseus, and fell in love with him. He volunteered to slay the Minotaur, which broke her heart to think he would die. She spoke with Daedalus, and he gave her some yarn to guide him out. She thanked him, and gave it to Theseus. Theseus ended up slaying the Minotaur, and came out of the Labyrinth thanks to the ball of yarn. Theseus took Ariadne with him back to Athens, before Minos could kill them. Theseus, however, grew bored of her, and brought her to the island of Naxos. They fell asleep that night, and Theseus left early in the morning, before she ever awoke.
Days later, Ariadne was on the verge of death, and had been crying the whole time. She gave up everything for Theseus, who left her to die. Dionysus saw her when he went to Naxos, which was his favorite island, and not only pitied her but also loved her. He went down and brought her to civilization. The two ate and soon married.
Ariadne died of old age. When she did, Dionysus became burdened by sadness. He went down to the Underworld and had her reborn, this time immortal. She became the goddess of passion, because of her love for both Theseus and Dionysus, as well as Paths and Labyrinths, for her famous role in that myth.
Samhain [pronuonced sow-en] is a time for us to remember those who have passed before, and be their link to those who come after. On October 17th [October 25, 2015]to Samhain Eve, take some time to look at the moon and feel her taking you closer to the veil that opens between our worlds [spirit and physical worlds/plains] on Samhain.
Shrinking, fading, mother Moon,
Your crone-age time is coming soon;
Your wrinkled face and clock of winter,
We invite you to share our ritual dinner.
Blessed Crone, the centuries have passed,
Yet through each harsh winter to last.
Find room to shelter us, Crone and Mother,
And remind us to share our blessings with others.
Copyright Edian McCoy Llewellyn’s Witches’ Datebook 2005
As Her body is our body,
From bone of rock to blood of brine,
There can be no true division
Between the people and the land. We see ourselves in all the world,
As her body is our body,
From breath of wind to kiss of rain,
We speak with her words and voice.
She is our first inspiration,
Our second nature, our last hope.
As her body is our body,
From seed of grain to womb of field,
Our joys and griefs return to us
Pledging ourselves to Her service,
We only reap what we have sown
For her body is our body.
Copyright Elizbeth BArrette Llewellyn’s Witches’ Datebook 2005 Page 73