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Archive for the ‘Dedicant Path Essays’ Category

I conducted my Midsummer ritual on Friday, June 21 as close to noon as I could arrange it, which ended up being about 3pm (the earliest I could get off work). This was a solitary ADF style ritual that followed the Core Order of Ritual, and was based around Ian Corrigan’s Solitary Blessing Rite, as I didn’t feel as connected to the Solitary Druid Fellowship ritual this high day. I did not honor a named Earth Mother or Gatekeeper, but I specifically honored Freyr as my patron and Sunna as the honored Deity of the rite. I brought incense for the fire and silver for the well, and the rest of the offerings were of a Peach Melomel (fruit mead) brewed not far from where I live in Texas.

I went back to a ritual that I know and love for this high day, because I couldn’t find anything I really liked – poetry or published ritual wise. Nothing was speaking to me, so I opted to work from an established template, albeit a generic ADF one and not a generic Norse one. I felt that the ritual went well – the poetry of the blessing rite is powerful and easy to read, and it flowed well in speech and in tempo of the ritual. I would have liked to do more to specifically honor Sunna, beyond a basic offering, but I didn’t have anything prepared. In hindsight, I should have improvised some praise offerings – I will remember that for my next ritual!

One thing I didn’t do (again) was remember to feed the Two Powers into the opening of the Gates, which I keep saying I need to do. Perhaps I will go back and re-read my previous ritual write ups next time before I start a high day ritual, to remember the things I’m supposed to be learning from this!

After making my offerings I asked “What blessings do you have for me in return for the offerings I have made?” and drew the following runes:

  • Berkano: Birch, Strength, Flexibility, Resourcefulness. This is the rune of resourcefulness and making something from nothing, and Rev. Dangler speaks of it as the rune of “female strength” (Very Basics of Runes 47). It speaks of birth and rebirth, and physical or mental growth. There is also an element of strength and pride to this rune meaning, alongside the current of fertility and creativity, that you can see in the last two lines of the rune poem. I see self-sufficiency as well, in the first lines of the poem (the tree that brings forth new trees generated from its own leaves)
  • Dagaz: Day – Rising sun, New day, Deliverance. This is a rune of a bright future, of good hope and promising things to come. Also, in Dangler’s Very Basics of Runes, he speaks of a sort of divine intervention aspect to this rune, that the blessings it brings are “heaven sent” (53). The idea that light will wash away evil, and gives hope and happiness to all. Daylight clarity as opposed to nighttime uncertainty. A time to plan or embark upon an enterprise. The power of change directed by your own will, transformation. Hope/happiness, the ideal. Breakthrough, awakening, awareness.
  • Othila: Stationary Wealth, Ancestors, Completion. This is inherited wealth or property, the kind of wealth that is passed from generation to generation and is stable and secure. Safety, increase, and abundance, or perhaps the completion of a task in such a way that it is stable and secure. Acting from your center, with all the support of your ancestors and your heritage, and being secure in their values.

We give you abundant blessings to get you through tough times. Things will end, and end well, and a new day will dawn.

I didn’t divide up the blessing questions between the Kindreds, since I was honoring both the three Kindreds and some Honored Deities. I feel like this is a pretty powerfully positive omen, which is encouraging, as a lot of things have been pretty rough going in my life of late.  I really couldn’t ask for a better blessing – strength, flexibility, resourcefulness, the brightness of a new day and new beginnings and a promising future, and the completion of a stable task (or wealth! I’m OK with wealth too!). I hope I get to see these blessings in action between now and Lammas in 6 weeks. It will be a good summer, if so.

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The Summer Solstice (in the Northern Hemisphere) occurs on or around June 21 every year, and marks the astronomical point at which the sun has reached its highest altitude in the sky. This produces the longest day/shortest night of the year, and the holy day of Midsummer or the Summer Solstice is celebrated at this time. This holiday is often referred to as Litha among various branches of neopaganism, a reference to Bede’s naming of the months of the summer.*

Historically this holiday was celebrated in most of Northern Europe, especially the British Isles, Scandinavia, and the Germanic lands, where celebrations included bonfires and the picking of golden-flowered plants, supposed to have miraculous healing powers. In the Scandinavia, where the sun sets very late and rises very early resulting in extremely long days, the Sun is the central figure, as well as the lit bonfires and celebrations of community. People frequently danced around (and through!) bonfires as a ritual of protection, as well as driving cattle through the fires to protect them. The strength of the Sun makes the crops grow, and there is a great deal of promised bounty as people tend the crops and prepare for the upcoming harvest.

In the Neopagan myth, this is the time of the second battle between the Holly King and the Oak King, where the Holly King defeats the Oak King (who has reigned since Yule) and will then rule until December when the two will battle again. This begins the “Dark” half of the year, where the Sun’s power wanes and the days grow shorter again until the cycle begins anew at Yule.

Bonfires are a very common method of celebrating this high day, often accompanied by all night vigils. This seems to be both an honoring of fire and a warding against wildfires, which are at their most dangerous during the hot dry summer months. The spirits of the land are also important at this time. Most central, however, is honoring the Sun at her (or his) strongest point in the year. I usually make a special point to watch both the sunrise and the sunset on Midsummer, and always have a “bonfire” in my charcoal grill, where I make offerings to Sunna, who is at her brightest (and most destructive!) at this time. As a tropical Pagan, my relationship with Sunna is one of deep respect as well as joy, for while it is sunny here most of the year, and I love basking in her warmth, it is very dangerous to underestimate the power of Sunna in summer, especially on exposed skin.

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From Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary:

Fertility: The quality or state of being fertile.

Fertile:1  a : producing or bearing fruit in great quantities : productive
b : characterized by great resourcefulness of thought or imagination : inventive <a fertile mind>
2  a (1) : capable of sustaining abundant plant growth <fertile soil> (2) : affording abundant possibilities for growth or development <damp bathrooms are fertile ground for fungi — Consumer Reports> <a fertile area for research>
b : capable of growing or developing <a fertile egg>
c (1) : capable of producing fruit (2) of an anther : containing pollen (3) : developing spores or spore-bearing organs
d : capable of breeding or reproducing

From Our Own Druidry (83)

Bounty of mind, body, and spirit, involving creativity, production of objects, food, works of art, etc., an appreciation of the physical, sensual, nurturing

(Note: As with Hospitality, I used the dictionary definition of Fertile, as Fertility was self-defining.)

I really like the first part of the ADF definition of Fertility: “Bounty of mind, body, and spirit.” Fertility is the act of creation, whether that be to create things, art, ideas, food, or babies. While babies are certainly a part of fertility, this virtue is so much more than just procreation (which is, of course, not something all Druids will be interested in!). Bringing an idea from germination to fruition is as fertile an act as planting a seed and growing it into a vegetable plant from which you harvest tomatoes. Much like with the creation of babies, fertility also includes caring for those ideas as they grow and change, as they influence and are influenced by others. This is a virtue that anyone can value and nourish, regardless of their desire (or lack thereof) to have children.

This virtue also has an element of appreciating our connection to the Earth herself. We are physical beings, and fertility is an aspect of that physicality that is valuable and desirable. Our spirits are not disembodied things, nurtured only by thoughts – we have bodies too, and are fully of the Earth. We are to appreciate our physical forms, and the world that we perceive through our senses.

Fertility, as a virtue, keeps us constantly moving forward into new things. If we value fertility, and fertile minds, we will nurture that in each other, and ADF will be richer for the community of creators that it contains. Of course, nobody can be constantly fertile all the time; moderation applies even here, and fallow periods are normal in between periods of great productivity. But fertility is the path forward. If vision is what lights and shows us the path forward, fertility is the virtue that will get us there.

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From Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary:

Moderate: 1 a : avoiding extremes of behavior or expression : observing reasonable limits <a moderate drinker>
b : calm, temperate
2 a : tending toward the mean or average amount or dimension
b : having average or less than average quality : mediocre
3 : professing or characterized by political or social beliefs that are not extreme
4 : limited in scope or effect

From Our Own Druidry (83)

Cultivating one’s appetites so that one is neither a slave to them nor driven to ill health (mental or physical), through excess or deficiency

Again here I’ve used the definition of “moderate” because “moderation” was self defining (“The state of being moderate”), and I found I got more traction and useful definition from the root word.

For me, moderation is the antithesis of “black and white” thinking. In a logic class I took once, we were instructed always to look for a third option, and then a fourth and fifth, when presented with an all or nothing proposition. This helps prevent logical fallacies, but it also helps prevent destructive behavior through obsession (either with excess or deficiency). Looking for the third option doesn’t necessarily mean a middle road (though often that is the case), but can simply mean avoiding the obstacle altogether, or finding a creative and unusual solution to a problem. I’ve explored this a little further in my post Adventures in Polytheism, for those curious.

It is a means of self-care and self-respect as well, to know one’s limits (both physical and mental), and to know how to use those limits but still function with respect to others. Much like hospitality, moderation will frequently run in with other people. The warrior virtues of integrity, courage, and perseverance will come in handy when cultivating moderation (to help you know and stick to your limits and your own sense of balance), and moderation can temper and balance those same warrior virtues (to keep you from running too far with any one idea). For me personally, moderation is the virtue that helps me know when I’ve pushed too far beyond what I can handle mentally, and to know when to balance self care with my desire to please others.

I find this an interesting choice to be included in the nine “primary” virtues of Druidry. While I certainly agree that it is a virtuous thing to cultivate moderation, I think it speaks to the nature of ADF as a group to seek a middle way – to accept both solitary and group work, to cultivate the intellectual mind and the intuitive mind, to be modern Neopagans but to take our cues from ancient cultures. Moderation is about balance, and it is, I think, included in the list in order to balance out some of the more polarizing of the virtues.

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From Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary:

Hospitality: : hospitable treatment, reception, or disposition

Hospitable:
1 a : given to generous and cordial reception of guests
b : promising or suggesting generous and cordial welcome
c : offering a pleasant or sustaining environment
2 : readily receptive : open <hospitable to new ideas>

From Our Own Druidry (83)

Acting as both a gracious host and an appreciative guest, involving benevolence, friendliness, humor, and the honoring of “a gift for a gift”

(Note: I chose to use the dictionary definition of “Hospitable” as the definition of “Hospitality” was rather slim and circularly defining, and I found the definitions of Hospitable to be more in line with the way this virtue is actually practiced in ADF and in my life.)

In this, the first of the “producer class” virtues, I think we start to see the other virtues come to light as part of an active society. Where integrity and courage are virtues you define as actions you take yourself, hospitality requires interaction with others – a fundamental part of Druidry, whether you interact online or in person.

This is a virtue I try actively to cultivate, as I think it is often forgotten in our modern culture. I appreciate being cared for as a guest, and I enjoy caring for my guests. A gracious host provides for their guest, and an appreciative guest brings a token to show their appreciation, and maybe offers to help with the dishes. The relationship we have is one of mutual honor and respect, and I think it is an extremely important virtue for the internet-inclined Druid. It is so very easy to forget to be hospitable, to forget to be gracious and appreciative of others, especially those who create friendly spaces online (like blogs and forums) and take the time to moderate and run them. This virtue goes a long way towards keeping the peace, even amidst disagreements, if mutual respect is maintained.

I do not, however, think that this virtue should be seen as “becoming a doormat” – one can be a gracious host or an appreciative guest while still maintaining one’s individual opinions and living according to one’s own integrity. In fact, it could be seen as an act of courage to maintain a disagreement while still honoring that you are a guest (or a host) and should behave accordingly. One can still say “please” and “thank you” while having a debate about the nature of something or other.

In terms of ADF’s basis in the *ghos-ti relationship, hospitality is the virtue that stems directly from *ghos-ti. It defines not only our interactions with each other, but our interactions with the Earth and our interactions with the Kindreds, whereby we accept and expect to be treated accordingly to our own offerings. It is a bit like the relationship that you have between friends, where you might keep a loose running tab of whose turn it is to pick up dinner, but you are both contributing to the relationship, and it is one of balance, commonality, and respect.

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From Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary:

 : continued effort to do or achieve something despite difficulties, failure, or opposition : the action or condition or an instance of persevering : steadfastness

From Our Own Druidry (82)

Drive; the motivation to pursue goals even when that pursuit becomes difficult

This is a virtue that I struggle with sometimes. Many things in my life have come easily (like academic study) and so when I am met with a challenge that I can’t think my way through, solve by thinking, or quickly figure out, I tend to get frustrated and give up. I also struggle with mental illness that can make motivation a very fickle trait. I am working more toward both of these definitions, though I especially like the word “steadfastness” as a synonym. This isn’t about completing tasks, or even (or especially) about succeeding at them – it’s about sticking with things, even when they get tough or annoying or boring, because you know that they have value. As a virtue of Druidry, it’s about getting your butt on a cushion and meditating, even when you don’t feel much like it, or even when you’re anxious or worried or distracted, because you have decided this path has value, and so you’re going to do it.

In some ways, perseverance can even make a task easier – there is some level of value in something truly fought for, something you really have to put your blood sweat and tears into. I made a lot of very good grades in college, but the A I earned in my second semester of Latin is one of the grades I am most proud of, because I poured my entire being into that class, with a professor who averaged two A’s a semester. I knew it would be tough, but I knew I wanted that A, and I was going to work for it even when I felt like stabbing myself in the eyeball with a pencil because of the complicated translations. Without that drive, I would easily have settled for a lower grade.

I think Wisdom needs to temper Perseverance as well. Much like anything, it is good to know when you should stick it out and try to finish something, and when you should count your losses and move on. It is both “When the going gets tough, the tough get going” and “Choose the hill you’re going to die on” – choosing the things that are most important to you, and then really sticking to them, with integrity and courage.

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I’ve made some pretty serious updates and changes to my main altar space lately. It was getting extremely cluttered, and I wanted it to have a different feeling than it had previously. You can see my first and second altar updates at those links, respectively.

This is what it looks like now (apologies for the yellow tone – the room my altar is in is actually painted yellow, and taking pictures in there at night makes the whole place feel like it’s lit by firelight. This is quite cool! But makes for very yellow pictures!)

altar4-13a

That’s the entire altar area. I moved a lot of the meaningful but not functional items up to the shelf above the altar. Eventually I’d like to add some God/dess statues there instead of just the little owls and the green man and the acorn, but for now it works. It also got the taller candles up out of the way, and leaves my actual working space looking like this:altar4-13b

The new things on the altar are as follows:

  • A new World Tree – this one is made of a recycled oil drum, through a craft group in Haiti. It’s something I’ve gone back and forth on, but ultimately decided I liked it. Plus, since it’s wall mounted, it doesn’t take up any extra space on the actual working surface.
  • A new offering bowl – I was using a collection of small bowls, and that was just too much of a pain to work with. I bought this wooden bowl and have been much happier with it.
  • A new goblet – I still have some small bowls and a tiny pitcher for offerings, but most of the time I’m offering drink (lately mead) and so I’m pouring it out of my own cup. This was rather unimpressive when I ended up using a regular drinking glass, so I purchased this aluminum goblet. It works VERY nicely. Eventually I’d like a handmade ceramic one, but this is a good in-between.
  • A new incense burner – one that does specifically well with the type of incense I usually burn. (that’s the little silver disc on the right). I’ve been burning loose incense for actual rituals, in the little blue cauldron burner, but I burn stick incense as offerings during the week. (You can see two unburned sticks in the top picture)
  • A set of tingshas (only visible in the top picture) – I couldn’t find a bell I liked, and wanted some sort of musical signal to start my rituals. These tingshas were inexpensive and make a very bright clear sound. I’m quite happy with them (if not yet always good at striking them properly).

Overall, I think these changes have increased both the visual appeal of my altar space (it’s less cluttered) and the overall functionality of it. I still have the things that are meaningful to me, but I have a more clear working space and better flow for doing ritual.

I know an altar space is always a work in progress. I’d love to get some little Norse statues, especially of the type similar to god-posts or figurines found from the Viking age. I’d also like to get some more symbols for Freyr. I know as time goes on, this little altar will evolve, and other altars are already starting to spring up in my house. I’ve got my “hearth”, which is really just a collection of candles on my stove right now, but it serves as a place for me to keep my hearth-fire lit. And I’d like to add some sort of Ancestor altar somewhere – though finding a good, cat-proof spot for it may be challenging.

I like the process of evolving it though. A good altar is a place where Work happens, and is a functional as well as a beautiful space. I think mine is getting there!

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From Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary:

1 : firm adherence to a code of especially moral or artistic values : incorruptibility
2 : an unimpaired condition : soundness
3 : the quality or state of being complete or undivided : completeness

From Our Own Druidry (82)

Honor; being trustworthy to oneself and to others, involving oathkeeping, honesty, fairness, respect, self-confidence.

For me, this is probably the most important virtue of the lot – it’s the one from which all the others branch out. Integrity is a core tenet of how I try to live my life, and it’s something I’ve given a lot of thought to. I generally dislike the term “honor”, as it’s too easy for that word to be abused to mean “what society thinks you should do for the better of society”. This isn’t to say that integrity isn’t often influenced by societal norms, but that in the end, integrity is a condition of the self. It encompasses all three parts of the dictionary definition. True integrity is incorruptible (it doesn’t waver under pressure); it is conditionally sound (it is consistent within itself); and it is complete and undivided (it encompasses all aspects of life).

Of course, that’s an impossible standard for any human to live up to, but I think it’s a goal worth striving for. To me, integrity is my willingness to make a decision about what I think is right (which includes elements of the virtue of Wisdom, and also of Vision), to stick up for it when it is challenged (Courage and Perseverance), and ultimately to increase my ability to interact with fairness towards others (Hospitality and Moderation). It includes uncompromising honesty – something I strive for, even when it might have negative consequences.

For example, I was recently selected for municipal court jury duty, but I put the summons somewhere where it got shuffled into the paperwork on my desk and I flat out didn’t show up on the day I was called. Instead of making up some excuse about why I couldn’t be there (when I finally remembered about it two weeks later), I told the court administrator the truth. She was understanding, and I was given a new day to show up for jury service. But I was prepared to be told I needed to pay a hefty fine for that mistake. Still, I would rather have told the truth than lied about it (as I was encouraged to do by my coworkers).

That’s a good example of my trying to live up to integrity – but my still being “closeted” about being Pagan can sometimes cause me to not live up to this virtue, or at least, to not live up to it fully. I don’t lie about my religious beliefs, but I definitely dodge the question, and I give off the impression (knowingly) of still being Christian to my extremely Christian family (and to my workplace). This does bother me, but I don’t yet have the courage (or the desire to cause damage to my family or create weirdness at my job) to change that, so I live with an aspect of my life that doesn’t live up to this virtue as well.

Nothing bothers me more than people who are cruel in the name of honesty, however, which is why this virtue is also about fairness, and wisdom, and courage, and vision, and even (to some extent) moderation. It’s the virtue that the whole system hinges on, in my view. I’m not always very good at keeping to it, when things get very tough, but this is one of the most important virtues for me.

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I conducted my Maitag ritual in midafternoon on Friday, May 3. I specifically took half a day’s vacation for this, since doing a ritual after work seems to cause me to struggle with grounding. This was a solitary ADF style ritual that followed the Core Order of Ritual. I used a combination of sources to create this ritual, including the Solitary Ritual Outline on ADF’s website, a published Maitag ritual, and the Solitary Druid Fellowship’s Beltane devotional supplement. I honored Nerthus as the Earth Mother, Heimdall as the gatekeeper, and Frey and Freyja as the Deities of the Occasion. I brought incense for the fire, but forgot the silver for the well (oops!), and mead and poetry for the kindreds and honored deities.

I am really glad I took the time to put together a ritual I liked out of bits and pieces of other published rituals. I still haven’t made the (seemingly insurmountable) step of completely crafting a ritual from scratch, but I added in some sections that I just thought worked really well from rituals I’d done in the past. I will continue to use that language going forward, specifically the language and hand motions I used to open the gates after invoking the gatekeeper. I totally forgot about using the two powers to feed the opening gate, but I will try to remember to use that imagery going forward.

That said, I definitely got little chills once I got the gate open. I think my greater familiarity with this ritual and my increasing familiarity with the CoOR in general is helping with my ability to connect. (I also am having a much lower anxiety level today, and that helped as well.) My grounding and centering took much less time than I’d expected to reach a stable light trance. My overall focus was good as well, though I didn’t maintain the trance state all the way through the ritual. That will take practice.

I also think I like the SDF calling of the Kindreds better than the one I used this time, so I’ll be using that in the future.

This was my first ritual with my new tools, and I think they work swimmingly. Instead of a ton of small bowls for offerings, I now have one large bowl to collect the offerings (which is MUCH easier to handle) and my new goblet works splendidly for pouring offerings out to the Kindreds. I also purchased some new incense to use, and I am extremely pleased with it. It’s available on etsy, and I can’t recommend the seller highly enough. There was a problem with my shipment, and after two weeks she shipped me a second one – rush delivery – to make sure I’d have it in time for Beltane.

For the omens, I asked “What blessings do you have for me today?” and drew the following runes:

  • Ancestors: Tiwaz (Tyr): Guidance, Justice, Navigation – The right direction, spiritual guidance, the path that leads to right action and justice. The cosmic order is being maintained. Things will be set to right, so long as you live with deep integrity. Willingness to self-sacrifice for the greater good. Victory and success.
  • Nature Spirits: Jera (Year): Year, the harvest, hard work – Each is given their proper due in full measure, good or ill. The golden crop, sown in the past, has come to fruition and is now the full harvest; the results of earlier efforts are realized. Natural cycles will always spin, and the year will always turn again, but for now all is well. The order of the cosmos is maintained, and everyone reaps the benefits of hard work and has a chance to build a new harvest for next year.
  • Gods and Goddesses: Pertho (dice cup, vulva): Chance, the unknown – A secret thing, hidden matters, an unseen destiny. Initiation and the unknown changes it will bring. The gamble that is any new beginning. Female mysteries.

When I set my rune bag down, the following rune “jumped” out, so I am considering it part of the blessing:

  • Gebo (Gift): Gift, Reciprocity – You have given freely and will gain freely in return. The cosmos is in harmony, and you are working properly within it. Sacrifice and generosity, and the balance between them.

Since I asked essentially three separate questions this time, I feel that I’m being given three separate answers. That the Ancestors will provide guidance, justice and navigation – spiritual guidance and the knowledge of the right path to take forward. The Nature Spirits will grant a full blessing, and my hard work will be rewarded. (I hope this means my garden will do well!) The Gods and Goddesses have a hidden agenda for me, but I am on that path, and they will reveal it in time. Perhaps that will lead to an initiation, formal or informal, in time.

Having Gebo “jump out” at me suggests that my ritual was well received, and that my work on it was appreciated. I felt good about this ritual, and I think the Kindreds agreed. All the omens were fairly positive, and I am encouraged about continuing to figure out where my next step will be.

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Beltane is the second cross-quarter day in the Neopagan calendar, and occurs on or around May 1st. This is sometimes considered the second most important holiday to Samhain, and is in a lot of ways it’s mirror holiday. While Samhain celebrates death, the ending of the year, and the beloved dead, Beltane is a fertility festival, steeped in the coming new life of the earth and the return of flowers, as well as the promise of a good harvest. I have heard it said that Samhain is when the Otherworld comes closest to joining our world, and that Beltane is when our world is closest to joining the Otherworld.

Ancient Gaelic traditions include building fires and driving the livestock between them to bless them. Many other traditions, like maypole dancing, come from the Germanic cultures, making this Neopagan holiday a good blend of Indo European traditions. The name Beltane is, itself, Gaelic – the Germanic culture celebrated Walpurgis Night. There is a possible connection as well to the Roman festival of Flora, the goddess of flowers, though the festival of flowers was centered less on bonfires and more on flowers and drinking. (Drinking, of course, is likely common to all of these celebrations, but modern Neopagans are warned to be careful about combining alcohol with bonfire jumping.)

In the Neopagan Wheel of the Year, Beltane is when the Goddess and the God are celebrating their fertility and consummating their marriage. Common traditions are creating flower garlands, dancing a may-pole, building bonfires, having sex (consenting adults only), and generally celebrating the fact that Summer is on its way in, and the Earth’s fertility has resumed, and it’s not cold and snowy anymore. Less common are flower baskets (May baskets) left anonymously as gifts on people’s porches (which makes a nice counterpart to trick-or-treating at Samhain). The May morning dew is said to be miraculously healing and rejuvenating, leading to myths about bathing your face in it, or gathering it in special cloths.

Beltane, Walpurgis Night, May Day and other associated holidays are all celebrated widely, even into modern times in a lot of places, regardless of Christianization. In many places, May is dedicated to the Virgin Mary, but the same celebrations (like giving baskets of flowers) are simply given new names and continued. In other places, people simply continue to build their bonfires and celebrate the coming of May, regardless of what tradition or religion they might be.

This is, in general, an extremely lighthearted and joyful celebration in modern times. It frequently gets connected with faeries and fey lore, and gives modern Neopagans a chance to dance, sing, drink, and make merry at the end of winter. This year, since the spring has been so cool and wet (and even, in some places, snowy) many US Neopagans are looking forward to Beltane and hoping that the weather will cooperate. Here on the Gulf Coast, the cooler weather has meant that things aren’t growing as fast as they usually do, so my celebration will include some extra oomph for my garden, so that it will be productive and fruitful before the heat of summer!

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