We headed off across the field, flowers in our hair, to find the bluebell woods at Beltane. Some of us had seen them before; the others were in for a big surprise.
As we neared the gate, the scent of the blossom floated on the breeze, and a haze of purple/blue could be seen. As we passed through, we simply stood and stared at the thick, lush carpet of flowers that covered the entire floor of the little wood. This place was special.
We walked on, talking of faeries and bending down to touch and smell those flowers next to the path. Bees buzzed past, and the greening canopy of leaves overhead whispered in the breeze of the coming summer. We made our way to a little faery knoll, where there was a space of grass and where we could do the first half of our ritual without fear of crushing any of the tiny, precious flowers.
We sat, and prayed to the spirits of the wood. They welcomed us with open arms, a gentle hug of affirmation. We proceeded with our ritual, honouring the gods, the ancestors the four quarters, the three realms. We spoke of our own fires within, of what sparked our passion in life. Our words were witnessed by the circle of present, and all else around us, both seen and unseen.
We then made our offerings and closed down the ritual, heading back to the house. Once there, we lit the twin fires in the backyard, and drummed the energy into being. With drums pounding, we each took our turn walking between the fires, letting their heat and energy fill our souls with the song of flames and smoke, of fuel and light, of love, sex and passion. We let the flames purify our souls, and released what we had held onto all winter that was unnecessary. Once the flames died down, we then jumped the fires, some with skirts held high, with joy in our hearts and smiles on our faces.
The fires burned lower, and we walked once again between the two fires, to be smudged by twin bearers of mugwort, who lit their bundles in the flames and swept them all over our bodies. There was laughter and thoughtfulness, and we then sat down around the fires for the next part of our ritual.
We had prepared words of love; words of love that we wished someone would write or say to us. We wrote love poems to ourselves, with words honouring the fact that love must first come from within. We shared the poems and words with laughter and with tears, and then burned the papers in offering to the spirits. We then stood, delighting in an energy shower/chant that one of our group taught to us on the spot, and then we did a drum healing for all.
All in all, it was the most blessed Beltane ritual that I have ever had the pleasure of attending. This year feels so…. it just feels so much more. Things are happening. Things are moving, changing. The gods are calling, the woods beckon, the fire of light and life ignites in our souls. Welcome summer.