A Beltane Ritual

Blessed Beltane

A Beltane Ritual

(April 30)

 

If possible, celebrate Beltane in a forest or near a living tree. If this is impossible, bring a small tree within the circle, preferably potted; it can be of any type.

Create a small token or charm in honor of the wedding of the Goddess and God to hang upon the tree. You can make several if you desire. These tokens can be bags filled with fragrant flowers, strings of beads, carvings, flower garlands-whatever your talents and imagination ation can conjure.
Arrange the altar, light the candles and censer, and cast the Circle of Stones.

Recite the Blessing Chant.

Invoke the Goddess and God.

Stand before the altar and say, with wand upraised:
O Mother Goddess, Queen of the night and of the Earth;
O Father God, King of the day and of the forests,
I celebrate Your union as nature rejoices in a riotous
blaze of color and life. Accept my gift, Mother Goddess
and Father God, in honor of Your union.
Place the token(s) on the tree.
From Your mating shall spring forth life anew;
a profusion of living creatures shall cover the lands,
and the winds will blow pure and sweet.
0 Ancient Ones, I celebrate with You!
Works of magic, if necessary, may follow.

Celebrate the Simple Feast.
The Circle is released.

 

 

Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner
Scott Cunningham

 

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The Fae at Beltane

greenman

The Fae at Beltane

 

For many Pagans, Beltane is traditionally a time when the veil between our world and that of the Fae is thin. In most European folktales, the Fae kept to themselves unless they wanted something from their human neighbors. It wasn’t uncommon for a tale to relate the story of a human being who got too daring with the Fae — and ultimately paid their price for his or her curiosity! In many stories, there are different types of faeries.

 

This seems to have been mostly a class distinction, as most faerie stories divide them into peasants and aristocracy.

 
Early Myths and Legends

In Ireland, one of the early races of conquerors was known as the Tuatha de Danaan, and they were considered mighty and powerful. It was believed that once the next wave of invaders arrived, the Tuatha went underground. In hiding from the Milesians, the Tuatha evolved into Ireland’s faerie race. Typically, in Celtic legend and lore, the Fae are associated with magical underground caverns and springs — it was believed that a traveler who went too far into one of these places would find himself in the Faerie realm.

 

Another way to access the world of the Fae was to find a secret entrance. These were typically guarded, but every once in a while an enterprising adventurer would find his way in. Often, he found upon leaving that more time had passed than he expected.

 

In several tales, mortals who spend a day in the fairy realm find that seven years have passed in their own world.

 

Mischievous Faeries

In parts of England and Britain, it was believed that if a baby was ill, chances were good that it was not a human infant at all, but a changeling left by the Fae. If left exposed on a hillside, the Fae could come reclaim it.

 

William Butler Yeats relates a Welsh version of this story in his tale The Stolen Child. Parents of a new baby could keep their child safe from abduction by the Fae by using one of several simple charms: a wreath of oak and ivy kept faeries out of the house, as did iron or salt placed across the door step. Also, the father’s shirt draped over the cradle keeps the Fae from stealing a child.

 

In some stories, examples are given of how one can see a faerie. It is believed that a wash of marigold water rubbed around the eyes can give mortals the ability to spot the Fae. It is also believed that if you sit under a full moon in a grove that has trees of Ash, Oak and Thorn, the Fae will appear.
Are the Fae Just a Fairy Tale?

 

There are a few books that cite early cave paintings and even Etruscan carvings as evidence that people have believed in the Fae for thousands of years. However, faeries as we know them today didn’t really appear in literature until about the late 1300s. In the Canterbury Tales, Geoffrey Chaucer relates that people used to believe in faeries a long time ago, but don’t by the time the Wife of Bath tells her tale. Interestingly, Chaucer and many of his peers discuss this phenomena, but there is no clear evidence that describes faeries in any writings prior to this time.

 

It appears instead that earlier cultures had encounters with a variety of spiritual beings, who fit into what 14th century writers considered the archetype of the Fae.

 

So, do the Fae really exist? It’s hard to tell, and it’s an issue that comes up for frequent and enthusiastic debate at any Pagan gathering. Regardless, if you believe in faeries, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. Leave them a few offerings in your garden as part of your Beltane celebration — and maybe they’ll leave you something in return!

 
by Patti Wigington
Published on ThoughtCo

Fertility Deities of Beltane

BeltaneFertility Deities of Beltane

 

Beltane is a time of great fertility — for the earth itself, for animals, and of course for people as well. This season has been celebrated by cultures going back thousands of years, in a variety of ways, but nearly all shared the fertility aspect. Typically, this is a Sabbat to celebrate gods of the hunt or of the forest, and goddesses of passion and motherhood, as well as agricultural deities. Here are a list of gods and goddesses that can be honored as part of your tradition’s Beltane rituals.

 

Artemis (Greek): The moon goddess Artemis was associated with the hunt, and was seen as a goddess of forests and hillsides. This pastoral connection made her a part of spring celebrations in later periods.

 

Bes (Egyptian): Worshiped in later dynasties, Bes was a household protection god, and watched over mothers and young children. He and his wife, Beset, were paired up in rituals to cure problems with infertility.

 

Bacchus (Roman): Considered the equivalent of Greek god Dionysus, Bacchus was the party god — grapes, wine, and general debauchery were his domain. In March each year, Roman women could attend secret ceremonies called the bacchanalia, and he is associated with sexual free-for-alls and fertility.

 

Cernunnos (Celtic): Cernunnos is a horned god found in Celtic mythology. He is connected with male animals, particularly the stag in rut, and this has led him to be associated with fertility and vegetation. Depictions of Cernunnos are found in many parts of the British Isles and western Europe. He is often portrayed with a beard and wild, shaggy hair — he is, after all, the lord of the forest.

 

Flora (Roman): This goddess of spring and flowers had her own festival, Floralia, which was celebrated every year between April 28 to May 3. Romans dressed in bright robes and floral wreaths, and attended theater performances and outdoor shows. Offerings of milk and honey were made to the goddess.

 

Hera (Greek): This goddess of marriage was the equivalent of the Roman Juno, and took it upon herself to bestow good tidings to new brides. A maiden about to marry could make offerings to Hera, in the hopes that she would bless the marriage with fertility. In her earliest forms, she appears to have been a nature goddess, who presides over wildlife and nurses the young animals which she holds in her arms.

 

Kokopelli (Hopi): This flute-playing, dancing spring god carries unborn children upon his own back, and then passes them out to fertile women. In the Hopi culture, he is part of rites that relate to marriage and childbearing, as well as the reproductive abilities of animals. Often portrayed with rams and stags, symbolic of his fertility, Kokopelli occasionally is seen with his consort, Kokopelmana.

 

Pan (Greek): This agricultural god watched over shepherds and their flocks. He was a rustic sort of god, spending lots of time roaming the woods and pastures, hunting and playing music on his flute. Pan is typically portrayed as having the hindquarters and horns of a goat, similar to a faun. Because of his connection to fields and the forest, he is often honored as a spring fertility god.

 

Priapus (Greek): This fairly minor rural god has one giant claim to fame — his permanently erect and enormous phallus. The son of Aphrodite by Dionysus (or possibly Zeus, depending on the source), Priapus was mostly worshiped in homes rather than in an organized cult. Despite his constant lust, most stories portray him as sexually frustrated, or even impotent. However, in agricultural areas he was still regarded as a god of fertility, and at one point he was considered a protective god, who threatened sexual violence against anyone — male or female — who transgressed the boundaries he guarded.

 

Sheela-na-Gig (Celtic): Although the Sheela-na-Gig is technically the name applied to the carvings of women with exaggerated vulvae that have been found in Ireland and England, there’s a theory that the carvings are representative of a lost pre-Christian goddess. Typically, the Sheela-na-Gig adorns buildings in areas of Ireland that were part of the Anglo-Norman conquests in the 12th century. She is shown as a homely woman with a giant yoni, which is spread wide to accept the seed of the male. Folkloric evidence indicates that the figures are theory that the figures were part of a fertility rite, similar to “birthing stones”, which were used to bring on conception.

 
Xochiquetzal (Aztec): This fertility goddess was associated with spring, and represented not only flowers but the fruits of life and abundance. She was also the patron goddess of prostitutes and craftsmen.

 
by Patti Wigington
Published on ThoughtCo

 

Venus

The OfferingVenus

“Venus is a Roman goddess principally associated with love, beauty, sex, fertility, prosperity and military victory. She played a key role in many Roman religious festivals. From the third century BC, the increasing Hellenization of Roman upper classes identified her as the equivalent of the Greek goddess Aphrodite which in turn is the copy and the equivalent of the Phoenician goddess Astarte. Roman mythology made her the divine mother of Aeneas, the Trojan ancestor of Rome’s founder, Romulus. Venus was offered official (state-sponsored) cult in certain festivals of the Roman calendar. Her sacred month was April (Latin Mensis Aprilis) which Roman etymologists understood to derive from aperire, “to open,” with reference to the springtime opening of trees and flowers. Veneralia (April 1) was held in honour of Venus Verticordia (“Venus the Changer of Hearts”), and Fortuna Virilis (Virile or strong Good Fortune), whose cult was probably by far the older of the two. Vinalia urbana (April 23), a wine festival shared by Venus and Jupiter, king of the gods. Venus was patron of “profane” wine, for everyday human use. Jupiter was patron of the strongest, purest, sacrificial grade wine, and controlled the weather on which the autumn grape-harvest would depend. At this festival, men and women alike drank the new vintage of ordinary, non-sacral wine in honour of Venus, whose powers had provided humankind with this gift”

 

– Wikipedia

Persephone

Beltane - May QueenPersephone

“In Greek mythology, Persephone, also called Kore (the maiden), is the daughter of Zeus and the harvest-goddess Demeter, and queen of the underworld. Homer describes her as the formidable, venerable majestic queen of the shades, who carries into effect the curses of men upon the souls of the dead. Kore was abducted by Hades, the god-king of the underworld. The myth of her abduction represents her function as the personification of vegetation which shoots forth in spring and withdraws into the earth after harvest; hence she is also associated with spring and with the seeds of the fruits of the fields. Similar myths appear in the Orient, in the cults of male gods like Attis, Adonis and Osiris, and in Minoan Crete. Persephone as a vegetation goddess (Kore) and her mother Ceres were the central figures of the Eleusinian mysteries that predated the Olympian pantheon, and promised to the initiated a more enjoyable prospect after death. The mystic Persephone is further said to have become by Zeus the mother of Dionysus, Iacchus, or Zagreus. The origins of her cult are uncertain, but it was based on very old agrarian cults of agricultural communities. Persephone was commonly worshiped along with Demeter, and with the same mysteries. To her alone were dedicated the mysteries celebrated at Athens in the month of Anthesterion. Her common name as a vegetation goddess is Kore and in Arcadia she was worshipped under the title Despoina “the mistress”, a very old chthonic divinity. Plutarch identifies her with spring and Cicero calls her the seed of the fruits of the fields. In the Eleusinian mysteries her return is the symbol of immortality and hence she was frequently represented on sarcophagi.”

 

– Persephone