Bealtaine - next get together 2014
2013 - Where there's a Well there's a Way - St. John's Well, Warrenstown
2012 – The Summer Phase - Bective Abbey
2011 – Wild Wooing in the Woods - Tara
2010 – Inspired by Symbol & Poetry - Tara
2009 – Money to Burn - Tara
2008 – Arrival of Uisneach fire - Tara
Sunday 5 May 2013 - Where there's a Well there's a Way
11am at St John's Well, Warrenstown, Meath - entrance is through white gates - car parking is at the well
Thanks to Anne Newman, Nora Judge and Martin Dier for the following pictures
The transition from winter to spring has been extended this year, with stops and starts of cold and warm weather and plants holding back their bud burst. Yet the swallows have returned from Africa, crows are nesting and life is on the move again. With these uncertain days, when the wind blows strongly, the rain lashes horizontal and the stars hide behind dark clouds, there is a feeling for more empowerment of human beings. As we realise our choices we require the strength to stand up for ourselves, discover we do not need intermediaries, and can make our own decisions. We are inspired by Mary and Brigid, by Patrick and Lugh, by the ancestral and archetypal wisdom sharers, but where we wish to place our attention and intentions is personal. We are not to be overwhelmed by the flood of events and media information, but to go with the flow of our interests and being.
Balance all around,
Left side, right side,
Choices now Abound.
Upstairs or downstairs?
Outside or in?
Above or Below?
Choices now begin.
"all roads lead to Rome"
you hear people say.
"All roads lead you HOME"
so make your choice today.
'Gateway' twin flames of Bealtaine,
black and white feathers of balance,
hoop with swan feather of dreaming,
bleeding heart flowers,
cleaver and dandelion - cleansing,
lavender for sweetness,
rosemary - remembering
left pole - dark night. dolphin for playfulness
right pole day light music note
Our ceremomy this Bealtaine offers the chance to identify where there is a choice in our life and then to physically walk that choice. At St John's Well there are two sets of steps. We shall identify which flight of steps to take. The option and decision shall be our own. When we reach the top however, we shall realise that both options, although they appeared different, actually take us to higher ground, they both take us on to the next level of experience.
On the higher ground one of us shall light a central candle of empowerment, and we shall then acknowledge our own power, and light our own candle from it. This signifies that we are part of a community and also separate beings, strong as individuals but also supported by the strength of the group. We shall take this candle and knowledge with us when we leave and can light it whenever we need to recall we are truly gifted and enabled individuals.
A thistle at the centre of our circle expressed the symbolic web of life.
Colours of the day - gold and yellow. Tulips and kerria were gifted to the well.
Having considered our personal needs we shall look to the extensive worlds of nature that nourish our minds, bodies and souls. At St. John's Well are several beautiful specimen trees and we shall confirmed our gratitude to them with gifts of water from the well. To awaken this energy we sing 'Frere Jacques' in a 4 round.
left - cool , clear, water from the well
Food and feasting are always part of assembly and so we shall share in a Teddy Bear's picnic. As we would prefer you did not bring along live bears, tigers or snakes we suggest that we celebrate the animal world with our favourite soft toy friends, those that share our cars, homes, and even beds. Many adults still have their childhood friends, or have special travelling companions. Live pet dogs and children are of course very welcome.
We were delighted to be joined by amongst others a flying angel, one of the monkey army hoping to take over the world, Richard, Clumpy, a donkey, an owl, reindeer, and large bee. Which goes to prove we are all children at heart.
Herbs at the Well
celandine, chickweed, nettles, dandelion, ivy with fresh shoots
pheasants called and goldcrests flitted amongst the branches
|Steps have many stories to tell|
|Holy Well, Hill of Tara||
Bakewell Garden, England - thanks to Nicky
A very bright and sunny Bealtaine to all from the planning team – Anne, Bernie, Nora, Susan, Tom.
Wesak Full Moon in Taurus
25 April 2013
Frolic in the bluebells
Thanks to Aileen for photo
Halifax Nova Scotia - pollen time
Thanks to Kate for photo
30 April - May Day Eve - Edinburgh Bealtaine Celebration - Thanks to Joan for this photo
Camel in window on way home, reminder of John the Baptist in the desert.
Sunday 5 May 2013 is Easter in the Coptic Church - Bernie in Egypt shared that they boiled an egg, painted it all colours making wishes then ate it, with music and dance after.
11 May 2012 - The Summer Phase
At Samhain 2011 we set the provisional dates for the 2011/2012 ceremonies. Now in 2012, during the meditation planning meeting for Bealtaine, we realised that we needed to change the date. We are in the energy of the time and it brings the wonderful experience of being flexible and spontaneous that we find when planning these celebrations. Below are details of the event.
created by Marta
Carving of St. Malachy from the cloistered walk in Bective Abbey
At Bealtaine we continue on our dance around the wheel of the year and along the pathway of the soul, heading towards summer solstice. We are opposite Samhain, six months away. Bealtaine is most often celebrated on 1 May when we cross the threshold into summer. Yet the term can also refer to the season between Imbolc and Lughnasadh, starting on May Eve, 30 April. We have left a dark wintry underground and are now travelling into the full light. New energy invigorates our journey. Fresh green herbs and grass for animal feed is flourishing. Abundant flowers promise good harvests of fruits, berries and nuts later in the year. Everyone is watching the weather – how high are the crow's nesting? The higher in the tree the better the summer. Traditionally cattle were protected by passing them through the magical twin fires of Bealtaine. We collect the May morning dew, either putting down a cloth which will take up the healing energies or by scooping up the moisture in a bowl. It can be used through the coming year whenever healing or blessing is needed. We decorate the May bush with flowers, especially yellow ones, and are reminded of the song 'Here we come gathering nuts in May...' the 'nuts' probably replacing the original word 'knots' ie. loops of flowers.
This Bealtaine ceremony will welcome the summer phase of the year and the summer phase of our lives.
Introduction and history of Bective
Dressing the May Bush
Taize Chant 'Ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est' - 'Where charity and love are, God is there'
A story / verse
Thanks for the summer's arrival
Dance and ground our intentions of love and hope for the coming summer for ourselves then expanding the energy for the wider community
Abundance blessing - May joy and peace surround you, contentment latch your door, and happiness be with you now, and bless you evermore. Walking into summer's abundance and taking a bag of symbols to energise the abundance in our lives.
Open heart contributions
Taize chant - The Taizé Community is an ecumenical monastic order in Taizé, Saône-et-Loire, Burgundy, France. It is composed of about one hundred brothers, from Protestant and Catholic traditions, who originate from about thirty countries across the world. The monastic order has a strong devotion to peace and justice through prayer and meditation.
If you cannot attend in person you might like to tune in by lighting a candle or sitting with a flower.
The Tara Celebrations Bealtaine Planning Team, Martin, Bernie, Theresa, Bernadette, Nora
5 was a dominant theme in this gathering - 5 at the planning meeting, 5 on the evening (not all same people), etc etc. Our May Bush was somewhat unconventional, looking more like a small tree, and determined not to stand upright, although it had for 2 days beforehand. So we laid it on the ground, and the flowers touched the earth. We started in the Cloisters but realised our presence was disturbing the crows giving their chicks their last evening feed, so moved outside to the Church ruins. From our place in the nave we could see the River Boyne, tumbling over a weir, and watched the sun as it set in the west. A beautiful evening. Many thanks to Bernadette for these photographs.
|Abundance of Bealtaine|
In winter's sparseness,
bare, the bones
of lack and basic needs
Brown and black
the lonely tones
of trunk and branches
in the wood.
Yet, comes the
turning of the year,
Spring bows to summer's brighter days.
And this invigorates,
brings us cheer,
After winter's lean dark ways.
Bold green bud burst
paints the tree,
fills in gaps
between the sprigs,
here hums the bee,
and summer's breezes
dance merry jigs.
With this turning,
Difficult times pass away,
Learn from the tree
that yet survives
Forget the loneliness,
watch leaves unfurled,
of colour excite.
Fullness and plenty,
love your world,
our souls tonight.
Cloistered walk at Bective Abbey Trim, Co. Meath - Thanks to Martin for the following photos
Cistercian Abbey founded in 1147, originally dedicated to the Blessed Virgin and named Beatitude Dei, meaning the ‘blessedness of God’.
In 1582 the Julian Calendar was replaced by the Gregorian, bringing changes in dates. 11th May is now known as Old Beltane.
Bective Abbey, signposted off the R162 Navan and Trim road, L4010.
Below: pine trees were often planted on ley lines to purify the energies of the ley. Is this one such tree at Bective?
'8 Sundays at the Well' 2012 - Wesak to Mid-Summer Day
Wesak is the celebration of Buddha's birth & enlightenment and Mid-Summer the feast of St. John's Day
Holy Well, Hill of Tara - 8 weeks of mindfulness meditation finding peace & calm . 8pm for approx ½ hr
6th May - listening to lambs on the hill, birds dusk chat before going to sleep and swallows having their last feed, pheasant calling and crows settling in for the night. Perfect evening at the well.
|13th May - sounds of howling wind through the hedge and trees, showers, grey clouds, and yet within the turbulence we were in a still place of calm and peace.||20th May - Memories of the evening include midges, the slow steady slide of a slug across the paving and a beautiful red setting sun.|
|27th May - still and balmy, a subtle whitethorn scent filled the air. Determined, a worm tracked where the slug had journeyed last week. Cows came down to drink at the trough and we scratched at the midge bites wishing the swallows would swoop lower and scoop some up on their feeding forays.||3 June - afternoon downpours guaranteed midges were out. They bounced above our heads and there were a few bites. In the calm and stillness we listened to new tweets and trills from the blackbirds, a lone gull flew overhead singing a strange song, and the ash tree is now in full leaf.||
10th June - pillow clouds curtained blue sky above us, a blessing of a sunny day after a week of rain. The grass, buttercups and daisies are abundant and the lady's mantle will be blooming next week. The tight green buds stand tall and strong. The well looks as if it flooded during all the rains, but is at a normal level now, watercress filling the stream bed as it flows down the hill.
| 17th June - whispy clouds spread feathers against a soft blue sky with circling planes going into Dublin Airport close enough to almost see the passengers looking out of the windows. What a clear view they had of the Hill tonight. The birds were quiet but the well was singing an unusual song. With no visible movement of the water it was as if someone was turning a tap on and off, like a waterfall, filling a bowl of water. We would hear the flow then a sudden stop.
24th June - Midsummer day is warm with endless blue skies. No flies to bother us, the crows return to their night resting places and a distant pheasant calls. All is at peace, all calm, just a ripple of a breeze through the ash leaves. Our 8 sundays at the well are complete. We leave with the new moon low in the sky, announcing a new phase.
30 April 2011 - Wild Wooing in the Woods
The ritual has been based, in part, on the image above by Edward Robert Hughes, "Mid summers eve" and with your help we hope to decorate one of the woodland trees on Tara with paper decorations, seasonal flowers, painted eggs and lanterns. So we are asking you to participate by bringing any or all of these and to take them home again the same evening (we will leave nothing but footprints).
Above the participants gather under the Arms of 'Frances' to celebrate the weaving of masculine and femanine aspects of self
A chairde, Beannachtaí Bealtaine. We move into the summer part of the year, flowers are blooming and trees are in bud burst. Traditionally it has been a celebration of fertility and fun with many traditions celebrating through the use of Easter eggs, May poles and May bushes. The masculine Patrician energy has combined with the feminine Brigidine Energy to produce the leanbh na Griann – child of the sun, the rebirth of the self and all the promise, joy and hope that goes with it.
This year we have decided to do an inspirational light hearted fairy ritual, celebrating the marriage of our archetypal masculine and feminine aspects. The narrative will be expressed through the symbology of the trees. Within you; What energy or situation no longer serves? What creative forces need to be channelled? What beauty needs to be recognised and brought to centre stage? What needs to be celebrated?
AGUS ANOIS, AN SCEAL by Anne
Every nation had their own version tales of lovers and kings - King Arthur Guinivere and Lancelot, King Mark, Tristan & Isolde. Here in Ireland we have Fionn, Diarmuid agus Grainne, Curoi, Blathanid agus Cú Chulainn. All these tales have a common mythic element to them, the old king , the young maid and the virile young lover. The young lovers after much trouble eventually end up together. A symbolic story of the old year/growth making way for the new strong growth.
Above: Although we put up hundreds of decorations they became invisible in the dark, only the lights are evident, but there is a lot more.....
Today I tell you the story of Edward Sean (great king), Frances Bush (free) and Richard Wood (powerful Leader). Edward was a great wise ruler of all the forest and he took Frances as his young bride. Edward, who’s name means 'Wealth protector”, was older than anyone could remember. A few years ago, a new sickness came over the forest and poor Edward succumbed to this illness and wasted away and died. His bride Frances, who was much younger that him was left a young widow and as is the tradition, spent the year in mourning for her dead husband. She threw away her finery in the autumn and spent the winter in silence looking at the skeleton of her dead husband. She is comforted by the new life growing around his dead frame as the herbs take hold around his feet. Spring arrived and as the sap rose, her heart lifted and she donned her new leaf and started to come out of mourning. She is sad to be alone and can see no suitor on the horizon. She longs to be loved and to feel a young lover's arms around her as Edward was much older than her. But she feels a new joy at being alive and has put on her green dress and beautiful blossoms. Frances is like the land, fertile and waiting for the warmth of the sun to encourage growth.
Richard is a young prince who has watched Fanny from a distance over the years as he has grown into a tall strong warrior tree. He has fallen in love with her and his heart yearns for her. He decides to woo her and make her notice him. He first decides what gifts he has that he can offer her. Richard then decides to show Fanny what a great protector he can be by doing a warrior stomping dance. Fanny hears Richard and watches as he ‘struts his stuff’. She is stirred and decides to add ‘jewellery’ and ‘do herself up’ in response. England is known for it Maypole and dances. Believe it or not we had the custom here in Ireland in some places. But in general, the Irish had the custom of dressing the May bush Dos Bhealtaine with flowers, ribbons and eggshells.
Above: some of the lighting
Now we have reached the point where Dick and Fanny come together and dance, circling each other and they come together united in love and passion. The Marriage of the strong oak tree Ruler and the beautiful white horse chestnut tree. “Men and Women were made to COMPLETE each other , not to compete with each other. “
We now have the wedding speeches and raise a toast to the bride and groom and leave them alone in the dark.
Above: the celebrators at the end of the royal wedding on Tara
Above: One of the womb like openings on the tree
We will meet at the gate for 8.15 and move to the place of ceremony where individuals will be cleansed with healing herbs. We orientate ourselves in the world by calling in the directions. We will then start our narrative and scatter wild flower seeds with a wooing dance of the male tree offering up its gifts. Then the female tree responds by adorning herself with lanterns and coloured flags. After taking time to admire our handy work there will be a simple but profound interweaving dance, followed by an opportunity to share a song, poem, thought or memory. We disengage from the creation of the sacred beautiful space and return to the outer world and to the wedding feast of the trees. We will raise a toast to the bride and groom and leave them alone in the dark taking all our decorations home with us.
Please Bring: A good torch (it gets dark after sunset), a paper lantern, string, a Bealtaine decoration to hang from the tree and take home afterwards, an open heart contribution/party piece (if you like)
Thanks to Maurizio who sent the following 4 pictures of the evening on Tara.
Approach to the fairy tree wedding feast
Above:The fairy tree groom and bride in the background
Thank you to all who came and celebrated with us in this fun celebration , those traveling far - you know who you are, thank you. We all created an atmosphere of earth centered community. And thank you to our distance celebrators, seed was scattered for your highest good and stomped into the ground with a good dance.
Below are some photos of the decorated May tree at home
Below: Burren Spring Gentian, a sure sign that Bealtaine has arrived
1st May 2010 - Inspired by Symbol & Poetry
Look outside and you will notice the bud burst, the vibrant spring colours, the nesting birds. This is Spring, this is Bealtaine. The underlying energy may be considered effervescent, expansive and life giving. The sleeping hibernating animals are waking up and significantly this year the weather is improving, making up for all the cold and ice we had over Christmas.
The beautiful "weeds" are what Bernie recently caught on a photographic expedition. Brilliant Bealtaine ....
oh do I see 1.618? the mysteries of the Golden Proportion - sun and moon and magic!!!
The Sun in the Horns of Taurus
And for those with a keen eye somewhere “on the hilly lands” and “among long dappled grass” was inscribed the symbolic representation of this sacred mystery
at the centre is a lady's smock plant - also known as the cuckoo flower
This year on The Hill of Tara a happy group celebrated Bealtaine as never before. Locals were joined by folk from the States and Netherlands... we also heard from Holland, North Carolina, England, Scotland and Australia saying they were tuning in.... We picked 4 places over the hill and processed to each part with people joined by candle bearers trailing garlands of coloured ribbon and flowers. One candle bearer had a representation of the Silver apple of the Moon, the other candle bearer a representation of the Golden apple of the Sun. This symbolism arose from W.B. Yeats famous poem
The Song of Wandering Aengus
the last stanza of which reads:
Though I am old with wandering
Through hollow lands and hilly lands,
I will find out where she has gone
And kiss her lips and take her hands;
And walk among long dappled grass,
And pluck till time and times are done
The silver apples of the moon,
The golden apples of the sun.
1st connection - entering at the Gate we acknowledged the energies of the East, passed between the twin fires of our torches and were blessed with rosemary.
We then proceeded up the Ceremonial Entrance, known as the Banqueting Hall.
2nd connection - we acknowledged the energies of the south at Mound of Dall (Blind), which pairs with the Mound of Dorcha (Darkness) ... someone driving to the ceremony said that there was a big dark cloud over Tara!! We knocked on the Mound with elder and rosemary to encourage the nature spirits to wake up and come again into the land of the living. We blessed and thanked the land using a form of flower petal divination as a means of communication with the fairy realm.
Following a time of Dall (Blindness) we prayed to wake up and see the world....strangely the inscriptions on the lia fail which are usually invisible became visible!
3rd connection - At the fairy tree we acknowledged the west, honoured and thanked the fairy realm with beautiful flowers and with chanting the sound of creation Om, including the tree as a participant of our circle. We stood listening to the music of the raindrops through the trees and the birdsong in the woodland.
4th connection - at Cloenferta - the Sloping Trenches - we acknowledged the energies of the north. We had started out in light rain and it finally cleared with a touch of blue sky showing through. The gorse formed the Horns of Taurus as we stood in a circle around the mound. The glorious scent of coconut from the vibrant golden flowers filled our breath as nature, humans and all beings came together in the form of the symbol.
We held the space to birth the “Leanbh na Griann”, child of the sun or golden child. We linked to our inward golden child then shared that energy with the land by throwing white and yellow petals onto the mound, blessing all beings for the highest good. The Leanbh na Griann is a healthy product of the combining of the balanced forces of the female Brigit and Male Patrick at Imbolc and was regarded as a special child. Anyone who has combined their yin yang natures can also celebrate in this birth within themselves. To symbolise this we combined the Brigids well waters from Uisneach, Cullion and Kilcock, using this for ourselves and gifting some to the land. We also shared seeds gifting these to show our thanks and blessings to the land that nurtures and sustains us.
We did not formally close the ceremony leaving it open to pour its magic enliving energy continuously into the country which badly needs it at the moment.
Shondell Kelley has kindly agreed to share the words of the songs she sang in the Open Heart part of the ceremony. She says that both of these sound well when sung as a round. She didn't write these songs, She just carried them to us, having picked them up during her journey from various people who couldn't tell her who originally wrote them.
Happiness moves in a circular motion
We are like a little boat on the sea
We’re all a part of everything anyway
You can be as happy as you let yourself be
Lakota style song. During the intonation of the third verse one is meant to feel/visualize ones’ message/intent/prayer. Our voices are how the Ancestors recognize us.
"All My Relations"
All life is sacred, the Mountains and the Seas
All life is sacred, the Mountains and the Seas
All, all my Relations
All, all my Relations
All life is sacred, the Animals and the Trees
All life is sacred, the Animals and the Trees
All, all my Relations
All, all my Relations
Hey-ya, Hey-ya Heeeey- ya
Hey-ya, Hey, ya Hey!
Hey-ya, Hey-ya Heeeey- ya
Hey-ya, Hey, ya Hey!
All, all my Relations
All, all my Relations
May Day dew, the application gives eternal youth! or so they say.
2009 - Money to Burn
Bealtaine vibrancy in full effect in front of our goddess centered centre, sheltered by the chestnut.
Above: Our Bealtaine gathering under the beautiful chestnut on the Hill of Tara
Above: The coconut sweet smelling Gorse/Whinz caught in a beam of sunlight at our Bealtaine gathering
Above: The flower strewn woodland on Tara
Above: Yes! I have money to burn !
Above: And Yes thats real money burning!....releasing the fossalised sunlight!
Bealtaine is a celebration of the sun and Abundance. Yet today much of our abundance is determined by money. By pieces of worthless paper. Paper that people covet and lust after and kill for and beg for and steal and work for and value themselves by the amount they have.....
The first part of this ceremony took place near Carcassonne where we jumped the Bealtaine fires in honour of the marriage of our yin/yang, male/female, rational/intuitive sides. It is the natural progression from Imbolc where we honour the strong male and female deitys of Patrick and Brigid, accepting those powerful aspects of self marrying them together to produce the Bealtaine "Leanbh na Griann" (child of the sun). ...hence our goddess figure. The purpose of this gathering was to heal our relationship with money. So we lit a fire and blessed it with our beings. We could have donated all the money burnt to charity and made a difference to someones life, instead we burnt it..... did we feel guilty.... I did. But this is another powerful negative feeling associated with paper, how does it hold such power over me? I feel guilty for having it, unworthy to recieve it, inadequate to charge for my services. The Irish economy is in severe need of healing or perhaps it is me that needs to change my relationship with this paper. As a group we did a round of EFT to dissipate the negative feelings associated with a specific incident and brought in some healthy affirmative self talk to do with wealth and abundance. We then walked and jumped the bealtaine fire for ourselves, for our loved ones and for world issues including the state of money, the black madonnas with their hidden wisdom, for joy and vibrancy. And having money to burn is a symbol to the subconscious that we are abundantly wealthy. I am! We are keeping the ash of this sacred fire as a talisman for the next year.
We had started by calling upon the animals, trees, plants, ancestors, family and friends, dreamers and all that we hold most holy to teach us and show us their ways and now we remembered the abundance the earth shares with us. We passed around a pot filled with herbs - lovage, fennel, mint, lavendar, lemon balm, chives, sage, bay leaves. Savouring their aroma we were sensually aware of our own perfumed gardens where they were gathered earlier. The powers of the earth were acknowledged as we poured milk and honey onto the land in gratitude and thanks for its fertility and blossoming potential. The evening finished off with a reading of the Poem below composed by Fr. Vincent which hit every note and brought a natural close to the evening which was then ended with fresh herbal tea and chocolate eggs! Bealtaine Blessings
The Fir Cone fire in Carcasonne, France
A SALUTE TO THE SUN FROM THE HILL OF UISNEAGH
It’s Bealtaine as we wait, expectant
that our friendly star may gift us with a glorious summer.
There’s something of a sun-worshiper in each of us !
Sun, source of fire, of light and life
Source of wonder and joy too
Ever faithful one, returning each day even unnoticed
Kissing every face, lifting every heart
As you enter gently and silently each morn.
Much is artificial that surrounds us;
our mobiles, cars and TVs
[they need your power]
We’d almost forgotten you are the driving force.
Beauty ever ancient ever new;
whose rising and setting stirs the human heart!
And there’s the hearth in every family, for strength and warmth –
that’s yours too
Wise ones told us that
the child who plays in the sun-
through the winter will run.
Tonight we see your children leaping on the hills
For every fire we light is your offspring
Images all of you their parent
We become thoughtful as we look into the flames…
becoming mindful of the Eternal Flame within us
as the joyful fire within us makes our life vibrant.
May the fire in our hearts give us courage to speak the truth
and its warmth break out in hospitality & welcome.
Two ancient fires lit up our schooldays
of Slane and Tara -- where Patrick outshone the King.
Our new Ireland needs a symphony of flames North & South.
Our West too can embrace the crescent from the East,
for difference respected is the dawning of peace.
Banish the devastating fires of war consuming the earth and innocents
But nourish fire in our hearts and fire in our factories
so that we can be builders of peace:-
turning swords into ploughs and spears into reaping hooks.
Tonight we celebrate that we are all keepers of fires, fanning them into life
And with the tiger’s eyes not burning bright
extra time we now have
to patiently tend those forgotten fires …
and disperse the cold cloud of recession with new torches.
May we and the people of Ireland be ablaze with hope, with neighbourliness
and with a hundred thousand welcomes…
Many thanks to Vincent for sharing this.
Cattle were protected by passing them through the magical twin fires of Bealtaine
May Day memories from BJ in the States
As a child in elementary school we celebrated May Day on the 1st each year by making little baskets and giving them to neighbors, etc. As a 6th grader we got to be part of a May Day Fest (today someone would probably ban it as non-Christian and harmful--what nonsense), but for that all of us girls' mothers made us gathered skirts and hair pieces --the boys wore long trousers and a white shirt) and the flag pole in the school yard became the May Pole and it was decorated with all types of pastel ribbons that matched our outfits. We wove in and out and covered the May Pole with a beautiful set of colored ribbons.
When I was a senior in high school (1957) we were still having some form of a May Day celebration and about 16-20 of the senior girls were voted to be on the May Court by the faculty and we wore long gowns of pastel colors. The Queen of the May was chosen by a popular vote from the entire top 3 grades. I was not May Queen, but remember a beautiful coral colored chiffon full skirted, strapless gown that I wore and I felt like a queen.. Somewhere in my stuff is a photo of that day. Schools don't do those things now--not educational enough--not directed to State Education Standards and sadly a lot of our pupils don't even know about these days of ancient Celtic celebration. But, you can believe that my astronomy classes did with my passion for archeoastronomy.
From Liz in Derbyshire -
Connecting to the carpet of woodland bluebells in Sherwood Forest, Nottinghamshire, England
Bluer than a sailor's eyes,
Bluer than the bluest skies
Spread your carpet, ring your bells
Round the trees and down the dells.
Call a meeting place for friends
In the woods where anger ends.
Tell two hearts for truelove's sake
To keep the loving vows they make.
Though trains may whistle, traffic roar
And aircraft in the heavens soar
Though houses rise and cities fall
The bluebell grows in spite of all.
2008 - Bealtaine Ritual Meditation
A light bearer carrying the light from the direction of Uisneach where the sacred fire was first kindled each member of the group holding the light, placing their intent and passing the flame, lighting of our Bealtaine fire, planting seeds and imbuing them with life force. Meditation on Mary as this is her month and on mothering the earth, purification by fire, creation of a magic elixir vitae, contributions from those gathered.
Below a detail of a Bealtaine Posie with herbs and flowers of the season.
Below: Our special elixer vitae healing potion/ healing vibration that we created and energised on the hill of Tara.
Below: Our Bealtaine threshold
Bealtaine is the time of year when nature suddenly seems to burst forth from the winter grip. Flowers, leaves and buds erupt and proclaim the vibrancy of life. The name itself refers to the ritual bright summer fires. At Bealtaine all fires were exinguished and a sacred fire was started on the Hill of Uisneach, which was then brought to Tara. All household fires were then kindled from this one flame. The underlying energies sponsor expansion, growth, fun, play, joy, bounty, invigoration and cultivation. The Patriarchal energy of Patrick and the Matriarchal energy of Brigid have combined to produce the blessed 'leanbh na grian' who is full of life, brightness and promise. What are you putting your energy into?
Cress seeds carried our intentions and sprouted quickly the following week
On Tara the crows are busy...
but the cows are taking it easy - or maybe it is about to rain?
We welcome the symbolic light bearer from the direction of Uisneach. We walked to the Fairy Hill and played an ice-breaking came of jokes and forfeits. We walked between two fires, once for Tara, once for personal intentions and once for the world. Using tai chi we drew down the moon. Finally we blessed and thanked the fairy tree gifting flowers amongst its branches.
Page last updated: 14th May 2013