Samhain ritual (solitary ritual)

Samhain (pronounced saw-een) is the Pagan New Year. It is a time to say farewell to the old, and welcome in the new, and is thus a time for celebration as well as reflection. Samhain is traditionally a time of fire, sparklers, and fun, but it is also a time for reflection and inner work, as we think on the year that has passed and meditate on the year which is to come.

For this rite, you will need:

– a singing bowl or bell
– a cauldron or enclosed fireplace (prepare the cauldron for lighting beforehand)
– sprigs of rosemary (for remembrance),
– eucalyptus leaves (for healing and protection),
– small white candles, one for each of the loved ones who have passed on that you wish to honour and remember in this rite (tealights are fine).

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The rite

Set the cauldron in the middle of the Circle, and set the white candles around the cauldron in a circle.

Strike the singing bowl / ring a bell three times to signal silence, then move around the Circle, cleansing the air with the singing bowl.

Call in the quarters and welcomes the elements, then circle again with sound, binding the Circle fast.

Say:

It is Samhain.
The end of last year.
The beginning of a new year.
I take time to reflect on what has passed
And I take time to plan for the future.

Take the sprig of rosemary, and eucalyptus leaves, and light the cauldron, putting the rosemary and eucalyptus to the side of the cauldron.

Start the following chant:

The old is gone
Last year is gone
Passed away! Passed away!
The new is come
New year is come
Here and now! Here and now!

As you sing the chant, crumble the eucalyptus leaves into the cauldron fire.

When the eucalyptus leaves have been cast into the fire, change the chant:

Ancestors, friends and foes
Spirits I once did know
With Rosemary I remember you!
Summer, Autumn, Winter, Spring,
Away, away, away, away!
Summer, Autumn, Winter, Spring,
Come again! Come again!

Now the sprig of rosemary is cast into the fire.

Take time to reflect upon loved ones that have passed on. As you do so, light the white candles – one for each of your loved ones who you wish to honour this night.

When the cauldron has burned down, continue to meditate on the white candles, reflecting on the happy times you spent with those who have now passed on.

Meditate until the candles have burned down, then ground remaining energy, take cakes and ale if you wish, and close the Circle.

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Samhain Group Ritual

Samhain (pronounced saw-een) is the Pagan New Year.

It is a time to say farewell to the old, and welcome in the new, and is thus a time for celebration as well as reflection. Samhain is traditionally a time of fire, sparklers, and fun, but it is also a time for reflection and inner work, as we think on the year that has passed and meditate on the year which is to come.

Samhain Group Ritual

For this rite, you will need:

– a cauldron or enclosed fireplace (prepare the cauldron for lighting beforehand)
– sprigs of rosemary (for remembrance), and eucalyptus leaves (for healing and protection)
– small white candles, one for each of the loved ones who have passed on that you wish to honour and remember in this rite (tealights are fine).

A tree of lights at Samhain
A tree of lights at Samhain

Set the cauldron in the middle of the Circle, and set the white candles around the cauldron in a circle. Alternately, set the tealights in the shape of a tree if your lights represent family members who have passed on.

The Rite…

A group member strikes the singing bowl/rings a bell three times to signal silence, then moves around the Circle, cleansing the air with the singing bowl, and a second participant calls in the quarters and welcomes the elements.

The first person circles again with sound, and the Circle is bound fast.

First person:

It is Samhain.
The end of last year.
The beginning of a new year.
We take time to reflect on what has passed
And we take time to plan for the future.

A second person passes the sprigs of rosemary, and eucalyptus leaves around the group, sharing them out among the members.

The cauldron is lit, and the Covenors start the following chant:

The old is gone
Last year is gone
Passed away! Passed away!
The new is come
New year is come
Here and now! Here and now!

As they sing the chant, they cast the eucalyptus leaves into the cauldron fire.

When the eucalyptus leaves have all been cast into the fire, the last person to do so changes the chant:

Ancestors, friends and foes
Spirits we once did know
With Rosemary we remember you!
Summer, Autumn, Winter, Spring,
Away, away, away, away!
Summer, Autumn, Winter, Spring,
Come again! Come again!

Now the sprigs of Rosemary are cast into the fire, and the participants take time to reflect upon loved ones that have passed on.

As they do so, they light the white candles – one for each of their loved ones.

When the cauldron has burned down, the group continues to meditate on their white candles, reflecting on the happy times they spent with those who have now passed on.

They meditate while the candles burn down, then ground remaining energy and close the Circle, before moving on to a night of celebration with fireworks and feasting.

Jack O'Lanterns at Samhain.
Jack O’Lanterns at Samhain.

Thoughts at Samhain

It’s Samhain, and the cold is settling in.

We’ve had rain almost nonstop for two weeks now, and the last of the hazelnuts are on the ground, ready to be collected and stored. There’s that feeling in the air that winter is on it’s way, that it is time to clear out the last of the summer warmth, and that the time has come to collect my thoughts, reflect on the year that has past, and take advantage of the cold weather to plan for the year ahead.

It's Samhain, and the last of the hazelnuts have fallen on my farm...
It’s Samhain, and the last of the hazelnuts have fallen on my farm…

Samhain is traditionally the Pagan New Year. It’s the end of things, the end of the cycle – although, of course, the cycle never really ends. It continues, year after year, changing and growing and renewing. This past year for me has been one of physical work and inner reflection, doing the hard yards deciding who I am and who I want to be, and then making who I want to be come about, from vision to reality.

Weaving spells at Samhain
Weaving spells at Samhain

I’ve made a lot of changes in my life, not all of them easy. Some of the hardest changes lie ahead – I know what I have to do, but that doesn’t make the doing any easier. This is where the Wheel – and the energy of Samhain in particular – can help. It pushes forth change and sweeps away procrastination. It supports the power to do what must be done despite fear. It allows us to embrace our Dark Selves. It allows us to be complete.

Samhain is a Sabbat strongly associated with Death, but with death also comes renewal. By embracing the darkness within ourselves we learn to not be afraid.

No matter where we are, or what we do, we are never alone. We are always part of the Universe. We are always part of the Wheel.

Mabon – Solitary Ritual

moons
It’s the autumn equinox tomorrow (Wednesday). The moon is waxing, and will be full on the 25th, but in the meanwhile, there are rituals to be observed and there is work to be done.

I’ll be working solitaire this Mabon. Sometimes I like to get together with local Pagans; other times I like to work alone at the Sabbats, and do my own thing. This year, I’ll be alone, and taking time out to observe the change of the seasons, the cooling of the earth, and the preparation of the world around me for winter.

On my farm, the sheep have been shorn, and are starting to grow their woolly coats for winter. The second harvest is due, and it is time for me to call the Home Kill guy from down the road. He’ll shoot two more of our lambs – the last lambs from our ram, so we can keep him for another season.

As for the ram, he’ll be paying a short visit to two pretty black faced ewes at a neighbouring farm. It’s a favour we’re doing them, so they can keep the black-faced stock happening – our ram is a black-face, and very handsome. He’s also in demand from our neighbours across the road – once he comes back and does his duty with my ewes, he’ll be going over the road to the neighbours, to service their ewes.

Ah, the tough life of a good-looking healthy young ram!

With Mabon, you’re aware of the turn of the earth. It’s tupping time, time for the Second Harvest, time to gather the nuts that have fallen on the farm (I live on an organic hazelnut farm) and sell and barter and share them with friends.

But now, to ritual.

Mabon Solitary Ritual

You will need:

A candle in a jar. The candle can be red, orange or brown. The jar is for windproofing. If you choose, you can use a cauldron in a fire-safe way instead (epsom salts and methylated spirits work well).
A lighter.
Four elemental markers. These can be small rocks, semiprecious stones, or white candles. It is up to you.
You may need a Compass, if you are not proficient at finding directions innately.
Locally-gathered fallen leaves.
Locally gathered fresh nuts, or organic nuts if no local nuts are available. Ensure the nuts are ready to eat by removing any husks or shells.
Your blade (if you use one), sterilized and clean, or Wand for casting. If you do not use a blade, you will need a sterile needle, or sharp knife to cut yourself – only a small cut!
Antiseptic or saltwater or strong spirits.

Setting up

Go to a sacred place where the Elements of Earth, Wind and Water meet. You will be providing the Fire and Spirit (Aether). A suitable spot is a quiet beach, or a riverbank.

If you cannot be outside, gather rainwater or blessed fresh water in a glass bowl.

Set up your elemental markers in the East, North, West and South. Light your Elemental Markers, if they are candles.

Place the Cauldron or candle in the jar in the center, and set it ready with the lighter beside it, with the cutting tool (if it is different from your Casting tool) in the center, but do not light the central fire yet.

Put the fallen leaves at the left side of the Fire. Put the nuts at the right side of the Fire.

You are ready to begin.

The Ritual

Cast Circle. A simple casting is as follows:

Stand in the East.
Raise your casting tool, and walking around the Circle three times counter-clockwise, say:

Wind, Fire, Sea, Stone
Breath, Flame, Wave, Bone
As I will, So it be done!
As I will, so it be done!
This circle is cast!
This circle is cast!
I am between the worlds.

Ensure that you reach each appropriate Elemental point as it is spoken: Wind / Breath (air=east), Fire / Flame (north), Sea / Wave (water=west), Stone / Bone (earth=south).

Once you have Cast, sit to the south of your central Fire (Aether / Spirit = Akasha), with your Casting tool in front of you.

Meditate on the changing of the seasons. Feel the wind on your cheeks. If it begins to rain, embrace it. Be glad. Let the minutes pass. Relax. Breathe in and out.

When you are centered and ready, light the central Fire.

Take up the fallen leaves in your left hand.

Look on them. Feel their dryness in your hand. If they are damp, feel that too. Sense everything that they are: the passing of the year that is gone; a symbol of death and of age. But see the beauty in them too – their elegance and loveliness. Cherish and thank them, and thank the tree they came from for giving life and nourishment.

Cast the leaves one by one into the Fire, saying:

The Old Year is past.
The Old Year must pass, to make way for the New.

Now, take up the nuts in your right hand.

Look on them. Roll them around in your hand. Feel their smoothness, their roughness, their give and their firmness. Sense the potential for life within them. Be thankful for the energy they are going to provide for you. Be thankful to the tree that bore them, and for the life you are given.

Say:

The New Year is upon us.
The Old has made way for the New.
Time is Change, Change is Time,
Change is the Way of the Goddess…

You can chant this if you wish. When you are ready, eat the nuts slowly with a sense of thankfulness.

Take up your Blade, or your cutting instrument. Run it through the Fire in front of you.

When you are ready, cut your hand or your finger a little, so that the blood drips to the earth below you.

Say:

There is no Life without Sacrifice.
There is no Change without Pain.
There is no Renewal without Death.
I welcome Change, I welcome Life,
And, when my time comes, I will welcome Death.

Relax, watch the Fire, and when you are ready, let the Fire die naturally or kill it yourself.

Stand when you are ready, and close Circle, starting with the South:

By the Earth that is Her Body
By the Water that is Her Blood
By the Fire of Her bright Spirit
By the Air that is Her Breath
This Circle is open, yet forever unbroken.
As I will, it is done.

The Circle is closed, and the Ritual over. Clean your wound if necessary. Take food and water to ground yourself.

Leave the site of your Ritual undamaged and undisturbed.

You are done.

Mabon – Large Group Ritual

The evening begins with a Coven member explaining what is to happen as the evening progresses, so that people know what to expect.

Once the introductions and welcome are through, participants are asked to stand, the lights are switched off, and the ritual begins.

A singing bowl or bell is struck three times to signal silence. The Crone takes up her broom and sweeps around the perimeter of the Circle.

A Coven member then moves around the Circle, cleansing the air with the singing bowl. A second Coven member calls in the quarters and welcomes the elements. The first Coven member circles again with sound, and the Circle is bound fast.

Two Coven members move around to the south, and take up their lighters. They light the candles of the ritual attendees, and bid them welcome. They then return to the Altar, gather the bowls of mojo ingredients, and pass them to the Crone, who explains what each ingredient was and what it was for.

Quarters of brown velvet form the Mabon mojo bags, which are bound with orange ribbon, the two colours representing the Autumnal Equinox and the change from the warm seasons to the cooler months.

The ingredients that are passed around are almonds, frankincense, pine needles, juniper berries and gumnuts or other locally-gathered nuts.

Each participant binds the ingredients in their mojo bag by the light of their candle, and takes time to meditate on their bag while the story of Mabon is read.

As well as the ingredients for the mojo bags, autumn leaves are passed around, and each participant takes one. They are then asked to meditate on the goals and achievements of the past year, what they have learned and how they have grown, as Mabon is a time of the Second Harvest – a time to reflect on the inner life.

When the bags are complete, and the participants have had a chance to reflect and meditate on their leaves, the Crone walks around the Circle, staff in hand, and asks each person that they be willing to sacrifice their leaf to the God and Goddess, for without sacrifice there can be no growth and renewal.

The leaves are gathered in. As a sign of sacrifice, the candles of the participants are each snuffed out as the sacrifice is made and the leaves taken in by the Crone.

Then the cauldron at the centre of the Circle is lit, and the Crone casts the spell of sacrifice, throwing the leaves to the flames. The leaves are consumed and burn brightly.

The cauldron burns for many minutes, shooting orange and brown flames into the air while everyone watches and meditates on the flames. Finally, with all the leaves reduced to ash, the Crone decides that it is time to draw the Circle to a close, and she calls down the Circle, bidding the elements farewell, and the cauldron is extinguished.

stonecircle

Midsummer – Taking a look back at Litha

I never discussed Midsummer at this blog, as I was away at summer and quite busy. So here’s a belated discussion of Midsummer. I’ll follow it up with some Midsummer rituals.

Midsummer, also known as Litha, is the time of the year when the days are longest and the nights shortest. The colors of the season are red and gold, representing heat and ripe fruit, and fruit is eaten in thanks.

Midsummer is celebrated on the 21st and 22nd of December in the Southern hemisphere, and on the 21st and 22nd of June in the Northern hemisphere. It is associated with Alban Hefin (Scottish), and the general midsummer mysteries.

In Australia the Sturt Desert Pea is a sacred flower of this time, and in New Zealand the sacred flower of Midsummer is the pohutukawa tree.

The pohutukawa tree, the sacred midsummer tree of New Zealand.
The pohutukawa tree, the sacred midsummer tree of New Zealand.

Due to the fact that fire restriction are common throughout summer, celebrations for this Sabbat tend to be quite different from those of most other Sabbats throughout the rest of the year. No candles are lit, no cauldrons burned, and no open flames are allowed throughout much of the southern hemisphere.

This means that we seek other ways of marking the quarters. One method is to make staffs for the Quarter Priest/esses to hold and brandish as the Elements are called in. Light sources include battery-operated torches that can be covered in colored cellophane to produce different colored light applicable to the various Elements.

The cauldron can be replaced with a glass bowl of water, filled with rosewater and seashells, symbolising the importance of water to pagans at this time. Garlands for our hair, wreaths to carry and use in ritual, and light, casual clothing are all a part of Midsummer celebrations.

Midsummer falls on the summer solstice, which is the longest day of the year, and a time of joy and strength for the light. This holiday celebrates the Sun King in all his glory, who can be identified amongst others as Mithras, the Bull God and Jesus Christ in Christian belief.

In Pagan celebrations in northern Europe, this is the time when the Oak King, representing the waxing year, is cast down by the Holly King, representing the waning year. The two are aspects of the one: the Oak King is the growing youth while the Holly King is male maturity.

Because Midsummer in the southern hemisphere falls close to the mainstream Christian festival of Christmas, a lovely traditional part of Midsummer celebrations is to ask Coven members to give small monetary donations, which can then be passed on to children’s charities.

By doing this, we are acknowledging that although our faiths may differ, we are all part of the same community and have a responsibility towards caring for children – especially at this time of the year.

Healings, growth spells, empowerment spells, and love magick are all incredibly potent at this time of the year. It is a time when all things are possible, and the sprites and faeries of Midsummer Night can cause mischief in the mortal world.

It is considered that the veil between the immortal and mortal worlds is thin at Midsummer, and that time can be stretched and twisted as the worlds are drawn closer together.

Mabon

Mabon falls at the Autumnal Equinox. In the Southern hemisphere, Mabon falls on the 21st and 22nd of March. In the Northern hemisphere it falls on the 21st and 22nd of September. Mabon is associated with the festivals of Winter Finding (Teutonic) and Alban Elfed (Scottish).

Nights and days are of equal length, but light bends increasing towards darkness, and winter is on its way. It is a time of balance, and a time of looking forward to and preparation for the winter.

At this time food is prepared for storage. Jams and pickles are made, and fruits are candied and preserved. Maple syrup is a traditional food for Mabon, as are all long-keeping plant foods, and honey, which is a natural preservative.

Mabon coincides with nutting time, when nuts fall from the trees and can be collected from the ground. On my own property, the hazelnuts and walnuts are falling, and being gathered and stored for the year. We share plenty with our friends and family, remembering to build community with what we have been given.

Mabon coincides with nutting time, and the collection of seeds, nuts, bark, resins and oils. These are hazelnuts.
Mabon coincides with nutting time, and the collection of seeds, nuts, bark, resins and oils. These are hazelnuts.

Special foods to celebrate with include honey cakes, and anything preserved or that involves fermentation. The colors of the season are brown and gold.

In Australia and New Zealand, Mabon falls close to the end of Daylight Savings time, and the change in the time that evening falls makes us very aware that winter is on its way, and that summer is well and truly over.

At Mabon the Cauldrons are first lit again, the last of the summer fruits are eaten in thanks, and summer ribbons and garlands are put away in preparation for the colder months.

Mabon is the second harvest. The Goddess is mourning her fallen consort as he has been cast down, but rebirth is found in the seeds of harvest gives hope for the future, and the continuing circle of hope.

Mabon is a time of gathering, of preparation. It is also a time to walk among the trees, smelling the resin and the oils in the air, sensing the moisture rising from the earth with the cooler weather that is arriving. It is a time to gather oils, barks, plants and herbs to be dried for culinary, medicinal and magickal purposes.

At the Autumnal Equinox, altars are dressed with leaves, nuts, seeds and bark, the last of the flowers and the first of the winter fruits. Suitable offerings include autumnal vegetables and pickles, and preserved fruits and root crops.

Mabon is a time to acknowledge the joys of living, as well as the suffering that is a part of life. It is a quiet time for meditation and repose, and for spending time with close family, friends and Coven members in silent appreciation of the relationships we share and that strengthen us.

Beltane Group Ritual 2

The following ritual is suitable for a coven or smallish public group.

Planning in advance / Setup

  • A brazier, cauldron or bonfire.
  • Confirm approval with appropriate fire safety authorities in your local area first, and obtain appropriate permits.
  • Appropriate kindling
  • Lighter or matches
  • Torches or lamps
  • A hand drum
  • Boughs of hawthorn in bloom
  • (For PART TWO) Threads / wool / ribbons to represent Air (yellow), Fire (red), Water (blue) and Earth (green); scissors
  • (For PART TWO) Tall trees, posts or telegraph poles for maypole dancing
  • (For PART THREE) Chalice and Athame for the Great Rite (symbolic version)
  • (For PART THREE) Cakes (snacks) and Ale (Cider or Juice); snacks

The group will need to appoint a Beltane Queen and Horned God. These are usually female and male, but do not need to be. They do not need to be a couple for this ritual.
The group will also need to appoint a member or members to a) Cast Circle, b) Close Circle and c) Direct the ritual action.

PART ONE: The Ritual begins after sundown.

The group gathers around the fire to be lit (bonfire, cauldron or brazier). The Horned God and the Beltane Queen must stand opposite each other, facing each other, with the Fire between them.

Each member present should have a bough of hawthorn in bloom. If hawthorn is not available, any local, native wood in bloom is fine.

Circle is cast as a member walks sunwise around the fire, leaving enough room between the fire and participants for the action to take place:

Air, Fire, Water, Stone
Breath, Flame, Wave, Bone
As I will, So it be done!
Three times around, the Circle found
Three times around, the Circle bound
We are between the worlds.

One of the members, lights the fire. Once lit, s/he begins the following words / song, and others join in:

Brightly the fires at Beltane burn
Bright, as the dusk light is fading / faded
And we will dance, as we sing this song
Sing, to the Lord and the Lady!

(The song is a round, and can be sung in unison, or as a round, and can be elaborated / embellished upon as the group wishes.)

The song dies down to humming, and simple hand drumming in rhythm.

One by one, the members of the group come forward, while the humming (or low singing) continues, kiss the flowers of the hawthorn they carry, and speak aloud (or think upon in private if they choose) a wish for fertility, love, sex or happiness that is relevant to them for the coming year.

Then, when their wish is fully complete in their mind or in words, they cast their blooms upon the fire.

Once all the blooms have been cast, the High Priestess says clearly:

It is done.
It is done.
It is Done!

To which the Horned God responds happily and sexily (or in a friendly way, depending on the relationship between them):

NOT YET!

And begins to chase the Beltane Queen sunwise around the circle, slowly at first, then quicker and quicker. They walk / run three times around the fire, at the end of which he catches her, and embraces and kisses her (it is up to the group to what extent! It can be a friendly scheek kiss if you wish, as this is all symbolic).

All members then take follow the couple’s lead, circling the fire three times sunwise to the beat of the drum, then end at their original places (or thereabouts), spread around the circle.

The Circle is closed, starting in the South, moving widdershins (against the sun):

By Earth, Water, Fire and Air:
The Circle is open
Yet remains unbroken
Merry meet, and merry part
And merry meet again!

The group watch the bonfire die (or put out the flames if they wish).

The first part of the evening is complete.

PART TWO: Decorate the world, and dance the maypole!

After a brief break inside (toilet break etc.), the group heads out on the town. They will need their balls of coloured wool or reams of coloured ribbon for this part of the evening.

The goal here is simply to find tall, straight trees and telegraph poles, and dance the May Dance around them in colours of yellow, red, blue and green. At the bottom of each pole, cut the threads and tie the colours in a bow 🙂

Don’t get caught!

PART THREE: Great Rite and Cakes and Ale.

GREAT RITE: The group returns to the host home, and gathers around the table.

A member acting in the role of HPS plunges her athame into a chalice of cider or wine, and says the following (or similar):

At this time of Beltane, the Lord and Lady are joined as One. We Honour the Lord. We Honour the Lady. We Honour them as One. Blessed Be!

The Chalice is shared around the group, until it is drained.

CAKES AND ALE:

The blessing of cakes and ale generally occurs towards the end of a ritual. Eating and drinking is an excellent way of grounding excess energy and generally ‘coming back down to Earth’. It reminds us of our physical needs and nature, and prepares us for re-entry into the physical, day-to-day world.

Blessing of cakes and ale is also a beautiful and practical way to honour the Divine Presence, and thank him/her for all the gifts and joys we are given. In a very real way, we acknowledge our physical self, and the physical world around us.

Although called ‘cakes’ and ‘ale’, ritual food does not necessarily and literally have to be cake and ale. It is common to share biscuits, home-made bread, or even crackers and dip. Ale can be anything from water or juice to fortified wine.

It is, however, important to remember that if minors are to be present, it is much easier to serve everyone soft drink or water than to share two chalices, one for adults and one for minors. Sharing a soft drink together is also much more inclusive. Apple juice is an excellent option, as apples are a fruit sacred to the Goddess.

To bless the ritual meal, take the platter of cakes from the altar, raise them in front of the altar, and say:

By the Lord and the Lady, who I do worship and honour, are these cakes blessed. I thank the Great Ones for their bounty.

Next, take the Chalice of ale, raise it in front of the altar, and say:

By the Lord and the Lady, who I do worship and honour, is this ale blessed. I thank the Great Ones for their bounty.

Feast on the cakes and ale, meditating on your commitment to your path, then close the Circle (if necessary) when you are ready.

Beltane group ritual 1

Beltane is the festival of the Sacred Marriage, and is the time of the year when sexuality and fertility are recognised and most revered.

Beltane is a time for singing, dancing and making merry. The Maypole Dance is traditional at this time, and the following ritual incorporates music, dancing and the traditional Beltane fires.

For this ritual you will need:

  • A Maypole (a straight tree with space around which to dance is ideal, or even a Hill’s Hoist will do!)
  • Ribbons for the Maypole (you will need an even number, and they must be quite long – at least 4 metres.
  • 2 cauldrons, and bricks upon which to stand them.
  • Fuel for the cauldron, and matches.
  • A bowl of almonds for the Beltane fires.
  • Hand drums, tambourines and any other instrument you would like to use for the Beltane Song.

Preparation:

  1. Attach one end of each of the ribbons to the top of the Maypole.
  2. Set up the cauldrons or bonfires, ready to light. Set them at least 2 metres apart, with a wide enough gap between them for couples to walk between.
  3. Ensure that all members of the group have learned the Beltane Song, and that they have any instruments ready that they wish to play.
  4. Ensure that the group have learned how to dance the Maypole.
  5. Any couples who wish to be handfasted, or who wish to declare their love or friendship, should be prepared to walk between the fires together.

Cast circle in your preferred way, ensuring that the sacred space includes the Maypole and cauldrons. The group should face inwards and, when ready, begin the Beltane Song*:

Brightly the fires at Beltane burn
Rise, as the dusklight is fading
And we will dance as we sing this song
Sing, for the Lord and the Lady!

Magickal Covens at beltane meet
Mystical powers together
And we will rise as we weave our spell
Weave for the Lord and the Lady!

When the song is finished (it may be sung several times, in rounds and in parts, depending on the group’s wishes), the Beltane Priest/ess should step forward, and say:

It is Beltane
A time of power, a time of joy
A time of pleasure, and a time to be with loved ones.
Beltane is a time for committments –
A time to acknowledge the love and friendship we have for each other.
Those who choose to walk between the fires
Will be bound, in the eyes of all,
Until the next year, when the Beltane fires are lit again.
Then, should they so choose,
They may part in peace from one another.

Are there any here who wish to declare their love?

If a couple state that they wish to declare their love, a Handmaiden should light the fires. As she lights the first fire, she should say: For the Lady and the groups should repeat this.

As she lights the second fire, she should say: For the Lord and the groups should repeat this. She should then offer almonds to the couple, who take a small handful each, to be used as an offering.

Beltane Priest/ess:

These fires are the eyes of the Lord and Lady
Walk between them, and know that you are blessed.

The first couple walk between the fires, and cast their almonds – half into each fire. Then the statements are repeated for any other couples or friends who wish to declare their love, and they too pass between the fires in the same way.

One all couples have passed through and returned to the Circle, the whole group join hands in a circle, and the Beltane Priest/ess says:

Now, as a symbol of the strength and unity of this group, we will pass through the fires together.

The group pass between the fires as a line of individuals holding hands, and rejoin their hands afterwards.

The Beltane Priest/ess says:

This rite is done.

Next, as the fires begin to die down, the group dance the Maypole, singing and making merry.

Lastly, cakes and ale are shared, and the Circle is closed.
The Beltane Song is part of the Wheel of the Year Pagan Song cycle, and the sheet music (and midis) is freely available at the Choral Public Domain Library.