Spirit Message of the Moment – Celebrate Summer Solstice

TIME TO CELEBRATE LITHA – MidSummer

“Also known as Summer Solstice, Litha, Alban Hefin, Sun Blessing, Gathering Day, Feill-Sheath246Fairy_Song-main, Whit Sunday, Whitsuntide, Vestalia, Thing-tide, St. John’s Day. In addition to the four great festivals of the Pagan Celtic year, there are four lesser holidays as well: the two solstices, and the two equinoxes. In folklore, these are referred to as the four ‘quarter-days’ of the year, and modern Witches call them the four ‘Lesser Sabbats’, or the four ‘Low Holidays’. The Summer Solstice is one of them.

Litha is usually celebrated on June 21st, but varies somewhat from the 20th to the 23rd, dependent upon the Earth’s rotation around the Sun. According to the old folklore calendar, Summer begins on Beltane (May 1st) and ends on Lughnassadh (August 1st), with the Summer Solstice midway between the two, marking MID-Summer. This makes more logical sense than suggesting that Summer begins on the day when the Sun’s power begins to wane and the days grow shorter. The most common other names for this holiday are the Summer Solstice or Midsummer, and it celebrates the arrival of Su481857_555874064427104_2129480533_nmmer, when the hours of daylight are longest. The Sun is now at the highest point before beginning its slide into darkness.

Humanity has been celebrating Litha and the triumph of light since ancient times. On the Wheel of the Year Litha lies directly across from Yule, the shortest day of the calendar year, that cold and dark winter turning when days begin to lengthen and humanity looks wistfully toward warmth, sunlight and growing things. Although Litha and Yule are low holidays or lesser sabbats in the ancient parlance, they are celebrated with more revel and merriment than any other day on the wheel except perhaps Samhain (my own favourite). The joyous rituals of Litha celebrate the verdant Earth in high summer, abundance, fertility, and all th208409_412438415499113_911770147_ne riches of Nature in full bloom. This is a madcap time of strong magic and empowerment, traditionally the time for handfasting or weddings and for communication with the spirits of Nature. At Litha, the veils between the worlds are thin; the portals between “the fields we know” and the worlds beyond stand open. This is an excellent time for rites of divination.

Those who celebrated Litha did so wearing garlands or crowns of flowers, and of course, their millinery always included the yellow blossoms of St. John’s Wort. The Litha rites of the ancients were boisterous communal festivities with morris dancing, singing, storytelling, pageantry and feasting taking place by the village bonfire and torch lit processions through the villages after dark. People believed that the Litha fires possessed great power, and that prospernahimaity and protection for oneself and one’s clan could be earned merely by jumping over the Litha bonfire. It was also common for courting couples joined hands and jump over the embers of the Litha fire three times to ensure a long and happy marriage, financial prosperity and many children. Even the charred embers from the Litha bonfire possessed protective powers – they were charms against injury and bad weather in harvest time, and embers were commonly placed around fields of grain and orchards to protect the crops and ensure an abundant reaping. Other Litha customs included carrying an ember of the Litha fire home and placing it on one’s hearth and decking one’s home with birch, fennel, St. John’s Wort, orpScreen-shot-2013-08-10-at-8.12.55-AMin, and white lilies for blessing and protection.

The Litha Sabbat is a time to celebrate both work and leisure, it is a time for children and childlike play. It is a time to celebrate the ending of the waxing year and the beginning of the waning year, in preparation for the harvest to come. Midsummer is a time to absorb the Sun’s warming rays and it is another fertility Sabbat, not only for humans, but also for crops and animals. Wiccans consider the Goddess to be heavy with pregnancy from the mating at Beltane – honor is given to Her. The Sun God is celebrated as the Sun is at its peak in the sky and we celebrate His approaching fatherhood – honor is also given to Him. The faeries abound at this time and it is customary to leave offerings – such as food or herbs – for them in the evening.

Although Litha may seem at first glance to be a masculine observance and one which focuses on Lugh, the day is also dedicated to the Goddess, and Her flowers are the white blossoms of the elder.”

Today’s excerpts are from twopagans.com

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Spirit Message of the Moment – An Unexpected Pause Offers a Gift

THE WOLVERINE – Two of Air

“Wolverine warns us to take what we need and to prepare well for the future. She invites us to expwolverine_1lore the wilderness, to spend time alone and to journey deep within the sacred self. In doing so we may find the space to address our fears and heal ourselves. Wolverine supports the simple truth that if you do not know yourself then no one else will ever truly know you, and endorses taking emotional risks that will allow others to get to know your true heart. She assures us that it’s never too late to welcome love back into your life.” 

TWO OF AIR

“Two is the number of duality, increase and marriage (concept). It unites the opposites that are equal; the feminine and the masculine, the dark and the light, night 372bfa9cf0127cfdaf1eca2ad00f9a69and day, and the negative and the positive. The Twos remind us that sacred difference is what usually brings balance to a situation. some say the Twos are closely linked to the energies of the High Priestess, mainly because they speak of duality and that awkward moment spent worrying before a choice is made, trying to do more than one thing at a time, listening to your inner voice or trusting your intuition. They offer grounding, choice and direction when confusion would normally rule the mind.”

MESSAGE FROM SPIRITBLOGGER
The one thing we can always expect is change – which may include unexpected stops or pauses along our life path. You may find yourself at a crossroads where you may feel it’s time to make an important or critical decision. Take all the time needed to decipher how you truly feel about the situation. Part of the journey forward means stopping frequently along the way to evaluate, reassess, and refocus our path to ensure it still aligns with our changing vision, needs, wants, highest self, and life purpose.Which part of yourself do you need to tap into before you can move forward with passion and joy? What is needed to show and express your true heart in order to be your authentic self in all situations? Will love, gratitude, peace, grace, self-awareness, being emotionally open, or forgiveness towards yourself, others, or the world unblock you, lighten your load, and give you the freedom you seek?

Today’s guidance was excerpted from The Bohemian Animal Tarot by Scott Alexander King

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Spirit Message of the Moment – Find Abundance Within

THE ROMAN GODDESS POMONA

“Pomona is the Roman Goddess of abundance and harvest of the ripe fruits and fields. She is adorned with all manner of wildflowers and forest flora, as if to celebrate the yield of nature’s bounty. BNicolas_Fouché_001utterflies dance around her, representing transformation and a lightness of being.”

“We can all relate to the wonderful feelings of connectedness when Abundance bestows herself upon us. It can be felt physically with the harvesting of material success or good health, mentally in fruition of an idea or a dream, emotionally by finding new love or spiritually through expansion of the soul.”

MESSAGE FOR YOU

“This card calls you to reflect on the abundance already in your possession. Be thankful for all you have and be open to receiving more goodness in your life. It may be your turn to enjoy the fruits of your labors and the harvest of hard-earned efforts. Or perhaps you are currently looking for ways to increase the flow of abundance into your life.”

“From a prog011115actical perspective, decluttering helps you value what you already have, and creates an empty space so more abundance can follow. Forgiveness plays a vital role in decluttering the emotions. By releasing the past, we liberate ourselves. Freed from the gravity of weighty karmic effects, we reconnect with the light, abundant flow of unconditional love. How wonderful!”

“Gifting and tithing are known ways to increase the flow of prosperity. Now is a favorable time to establish a healthy balance between giving and receiving. In this materialistic age, it is common to mistake the measure of success and worth through the possession of money and status alone. There is nothing wrong with aspiring to have lovely things, or to create the security and opportunities that money can buy. However, western values generally encourage focupomona-762217s solely on the outward physical manifestations of abundance. We can be guided to find a healthy balance by focusing inwardly to discover spiritual riches available to us in every moment.”

“Our divine nature expands far beyond the horizons of the material plane alone, and has the power to banish fear and grant authentic peace, regardless of circumstance of status. these are just some of the fruits and bounties to be discovered as we journey home along the highway of life. In whatever form, may abundance in all its glory be yours!”

Today’s guidance was excerpted from Vintage Wisdom Oracle cards by Victoria Moseley.61kpU75EFZL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_

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Spirit Message of the Day – Practice Serenity, Promote Peace, Be Blessed

THE DRAGONFAE NAMED APALALA
“You are a peaceful being. When this card is drawn forth, a sense of peace and new depths of serenity become truths for you. Simply breathe deeply and learn that your peaceful nature can become a daily source of delight and courage, of strength and beauty. Peace is like a quiet glade within, a sacred grove to which you can go and belong. Take strength and draw nourishment from this place within you, and be sure to visit it daily.”

“Practice acts of peace within your life. Be strong, be free, be blessed and be at peace. When you come into this place daily, all around you will benefit. Do not mistake or confuse peace for inaction – being a peaceful activist is one of the most dynamic and powerful choices a being can make in this world, now and ever. When all around you is drama, and all within you feels in turmoil, go to that place and know the truth of your being in peace. Is serenity. Is serenity. Is blessed. And is free.”

ABOUT APALALA
“Many legends say that apalala was a convert to Buddhism. But the truth is that the Buddha and the Dragonfae wisdom-keeper Apalala shared many feelings, beliefs, and discussions, and the Buddha learned as much from the loving compassionate heart of Apalala as Apalala did from the wide-open eyes of Buddha. Apalala encourages you to take part in discussions about peace, and will support you in finding ways to promote peace on a personal, practical, and global levels. You may be interested in speaking with people who live a monastic life when this card is drawn.”

“This card can also indicate that you have already experienced other lifetimes as a member of a Buddhist Temple or monastery. Investigate this connection, but most of all, take care to be loving, peaceful and harmonious in the present moment. Remember, the Buddha loves laughter too!”

MESSAGE FOR YOU
” You are a peaceful being, bringing more peace into your life. You may be wishing for more peace and for conflict on a personal and global scale to be done with. Please do not put your energy into fighting war, instead, create peaceful moments wherever possible. This does not mean that you need to be weak or passive, but instead, choose to draw incredible strength and do not waiver from your choice to bring more peace in. Know that your conversations about peace and beliefs are bringing about change. People may have also told you lies about peaceful ways meaning lack of strength. This is not so. Choose to be stronger, more peaceful, and watch harmony and joy flower in your life.

WORKING WITH APALALA
“Invite peace into your life by choosing to work with people and beings whose beliefs are aligned with yours, and who are held with integrity. Understand that the conflict around you is the result of people attempting to control each other’s hearts and minds and futures. Apalala teaches us that the here and now, when tended with love, creates exciting and peaceful outcomes for all.”

Today’s message is from Oracle of the Dragonfae by Lucy Cavendish.

 

Spirit Message of the Day – Summon Strength for Change

THE PHOENIX
“The Phoenix appears as your Ally to celebrate your journey and to ensure your ultimate success. This is true even if it appears that you’ve just passed through a metaphorical experience of death or are currently enduring a perception of failure in your life. Death and rebirth are related when you enter the realm of the Phoenix. Seen in this light, nothing truly dies, but rather changes from one ending directly into new beginnings. The Phoenix is constantly reinventing itself and rises up whole and new and even more powerful with every death it experiences. This could signal an end of a relationship – or of a dynamic within one – or an end of a job, a project, or even a life.”

“Perhaps no failure is involved, but it’s time for a complete overhaul of your circumstances. You may be tired of what you’re doing, or you may know intuitively that it’s time to move on and try something new. Whatever the case, a death of the old and a celebration of new life are called for! Whatever you do now will indeed be a successful endeavor, for a rebirth is imminent!”

AS A CHALLENGER
“When the Phoenix challenges you,, it’s really just a gentle reminder to let go and let what doesn’t work fall away. Maybe you’re not allowing things to change because you’re more comfortable with the familiar, even if you know it’s not the best you could create for yourself. Fear of change is a crippling experience, as it works against Nature itself.”

MESSAGE FOR YOU
“The task at hand is to allow for an ending, as it’s timely and right that you do so for the highest good of all. In surrendering to the fundamental purposeful change, you will most definitely find yourself in better circumstances. The action needed is allowing. A rebirth is assured.” Summon strength and courage and embrace inevitable change.

Today’s message is from Wisdom of the Hidden Realms by Colette Baron-Reid.

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Spirit Message of the Day – Life Is Abundant and Full of Blessings

THE HUNGRY GHOSTS
“When the hungry ghosts appear on your path, they may not at first seem like Allies because they represent your constant focus on the past and the consuming desire to know the future, which rob you of your true present. But, in fact, they are here in the service of alerting you to obsessive thinking and addictions: they’re masters at magnifying repetitive behaviors.”

MESSAGE FOR YOU
“The message is for you to examine whether you’re doing the same thing over and over while expecting a different result. ‘This time will be different’ and ‘I have control over this’ are false statements and a sign of deep denial of the truth. Now is the time to let go of that thinking. Surrender your will, your life, your heart’s desires, and all that pains you to the Divine. Order will be restored in your world.”

“The Hungry Ghosts also bring understanding about the distractions of life that seduce you into forgetting what you really desire. They’re asking you to become aware of what others want and what the culture dictates will make you happy may not be what’s best for you. Don’t get caught up in outside appearances. All that glitters may not be gold – at least not for you. Look beyond the veneer and you will find the true substance in your life. You deserve nothing less.”

YOUR CHALLENGER
“When the Hungry Ghosts come to challenge, it’s a sign that you’ve succumbed to the fear of lack, which is whispering in your ear that you’ll fail. Whatever it is you’ve intended, you’ve stayed too long in the desiring stage. Longing and yearning have become  your constant state of mind. Are you comparing your experience with others? Do you envy their success? Do you judge yourself only on your material accomplishments? Are you afraid that there will never be enough of anything and none of your dreams will be there upon awaking in reality? Perhaps you’ve turned to compulsive eating, shopping, working, or drinking to distract yourself.”

“Let go of the illusion of lack, and accept things as they are: perfect, abundant, meaningful expressions of the Divine. There will never be enough for the Hungry Ghosts that challenge you, for the only experience they know is scarcity. It’s not your job to feed them. They will lose their power to haunt you. Trust in the abundance of Spirit.”

Today’s guidance is from Wisdom of the Hidden Realms by Colette Baron-Reid.

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Spirit Message of the Day – Allow Your Life To Flow Naturally

ANDELLE
“People always imagine that we who are of the Dragonfae have special powers that render us immune from sadness. Not so. From time to time, I have found my own sadness overflow, and it is at those times that I need to return to water, to commune with that element’s wisdom until I am calmed, soothed, and refreshed. At this time, I understand that there is sadness and a sense that only after some time will you feel strong again. This sadness is held at the heart and solar plexus chakras and feels a little like a stone that has been swallowed, harsh and heavy inside your sweet self. Know that simply by going to a body of water – this can be your bath, a lake, river, pond, puddle, or even oceanic majesty – you will be soothed.”

“Know that as water takes on the characteristics of the environment, so too will the Dragonfae of the water come to you and gently dilute and dissolve the sadness that has weighed so heavily upon you. Also allow your tears to fall at this time. They are a beautiful way of reducing the high levels of stress chemicals within your body, and shedding them leads you to feel softer and lighter. Take steps at this stage to protect and soothe, and know that all the spirits of water are your allies right now. So allow tears to fall, bathe in the waters of the Goddess and drink plenty of pure, fresh water today. Notice how soothing this element is for you.”

“I know this, as I am of water, and although I am sad at the moment, this shall pass, the flow of life will move on and I will move with it, feeling again inspired, happy and at peace. For now, I know that water’s presence is a true blessing, and I give thanks for her presence in my life. Your life swirls and flows like water…keep moving, too, to avoid stagnation in sadness. Sensitivity is yours and will be yours for this lifetime, but how you use this gift can either cause you pain or the most wonderful pleasures. Please seek to allow your sensitivity to flow, as does water, today.”

ABOUT ANDELLE
“Andelle is a sylph-like Dragonfae being: her heart is very, very open and she feels things so very much. A natural empath, she connects with others deeply and this can lead her to sadness. However, mainly she weeps for the ways she sees us hurting each other, and she knows that it is no longer necessary for human beings to believe in so much lack and pain. She knows that sensitivity is a gift and she wishes to demonstrate this to you by allowing you to see how her sadness and weeping cleanses her.”

“She is often known as an angel and her presence is one of great gentleness and lightness. She helps those who have not cried for years to release their pain, in a sweetening of the emotions, and an overall softening of who they are. She is so gentle and exquisite, and she is truly a Dragonfae, precious and fragile, yet so strong in her willingness to assist others. Assist her, by releasing your tears, taking in the gift of water and allowing your life to flow naturally.”

MESSAGE FOR YOU
“Feeling deep sadness; having trouble expressing sadness and emotions to others; judging emotions as negative and denying them; refusing to cry; not drinking enough pure water; dehydrated; dry quality to life; judging tears and emotions as weak; learning to let go; needing to connect more to the element of water and its flow. Feeling stuck, misjudged. A close friend will provide help and nurturing.”

WORKING WITH ANDELLE
“You will know when Andelle is with you, as you will feel an urge to cry, to release your tears. After you do so, you will feel software, lighter, more open, and much more relaxed. Allow her to guide you to a sacred body of water – even if this is your bath – and as you enter the water, see your pains and sorrows literally being washed gently away by Andelle, as a mother would bathe her child, and tend their hurts. For you are her child, her sister, her beloved soul-friend, and she cares for you.”

“Know that your sensitivity to pain is something that the world needs, and in time this blessing will seem like a curse…Do not become stuck in your pain: express it gently, and flow on. Andelle is a being of exquisite sweetness and her energy is deeply soothing and blessed. She will help you accept your emotional nature, and not be overwhelmed by your own feelings.”

Today’s guidance is from Oracle of the Dragonfae by Lucy Cavendish.

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Spirit Message of the Day – A Gift of Grace, A Time for Gratitude

BE THANKFUL
“Think about the people and things you feel grateful for. Gratitude warms your heart with good feelings that are healthy for your mind and body. You can make yourself feel better by making a list of everything and everyone you’re thankful for. Gratitude replaces sadness, and makes everything go better. Gratitude is such a powerful way to make your life better that it’s almost magical! Everyone loves a thankful person. They want to be friends with, give to, and help a person who says ‘Thank You’. When you say ‘thank you’ and really mean it, you find more reasons to feel gratitude.”

“People who aren’t grateful or who have self-pity actually make themselves sad. They can’t understand why other people avoid them, and why they don’t receive many gifts. They take away their own power because they believe that life doesn’t give them much. But if you count your blessings and think about all the reasons you have to feel grateful, then you’ll see how generous life really is. The more you believe that ‘life gives me lots of gifts’, the more you’ll receive. Then you’ll want to give to others, too. To get more out of life, stop and feel grateful for all that you’ve received so far. Then, get ready to feel gratitude for countless blessings that are coming to you now!”

Doreen Virtue, PHD. Magickal Unicorn Oracle Cards.

“Prosperity is an attitude and a perspective. What you value, what thoughts you think and beliefs you hold, will determine the riches in your life. Goodies are born out of the seeds of gratitude. The new shape of wealth is hidden in our intentions and the actions we take to manifest them.”

-Colette Baron-Reid. Excerpt taken from article The Desire For Security.

Spirit Message of the Day – Pay Close Attention

THE HAWK PRINCE
“As an Ally, The Hawk Prince appears with good news: He flies into your life to alert you that a message is coming to help you manifest your destiny! Expect a phone call, letter, email, or conversation that lets you know the next step to take toward your greatest good, or to tell you that you’ve arrived at an important stage along your path.”

“The Hawk Prince is also the Ally for spirit communication, so pay attention when you think you hear something important pop out at you on the radio, on TV, or in overhearing the conversations of strangers. Spirit is constantly in dialogue with you. Are you listening? Stay open and expect Spirit to speak to you and show you the way to your prosperity in all aspects of your life.”

“As a Challenger, The Hawk Prince challenges you to pay attention and listen to the warnings being sent your way. Are you pushing forward in spite of others’ cautionings about the direction your headed? Are you refusing to listen to your own inner voice? Red flags are waving in the breeze, and you’re being challenged to heed their message. When the Hawk Prince descends as your challenger, it’s an indication that something isn’t quite right. Don’t worry, though; he always arrives just in time for you to let go of your old ideas and begin again. Spirit only wants the best for you!”

Today’s message is from Wisdom of the Hidden Realms by Colette Baron-Reid.

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Spirit Message of the Day – Bright Beltane Blessings to You 2011

A Blessed Beltane to You

It’s the Beltane season for our Northern Hemisphere readers, and the traditional time to begin observing the fertility celebrations. If you lived in rural England a few centuries ago, you’d be preparing your bonfire, and figuring out which of your lusty neighbors you wanted to pair off with for the evening. In Germanic countries, they’re busy getting ready for Walpurgisnight, and the ancient Romans were gearing up for their annual Floralia party.

Set up your Maypole and get ready to welcome the greening of the earth. No matter how you choose to observe it, Beltane is a time to honor the fertility and rebirth of the land, the abundance of life that returns to us each year after the cold winter months have passed. May you and yours have a fruitful and blessed Beltane.

Beltane Rites and Rituals

There are a number of ways you can celebrate Beltane on May 1. Hold a bonfire ceremony, a traditional Maypole dance, or even a Handfasting celebration! Beltane is a time to celebrate fertility and the greening of the earth. Try some of these celebrations and ritual ideas at Beltane to honor the arrival of spring and new life.

Setting Up Your Beltane Altar – What To Include on Your Beltane Altar

Okay, so we know that Beltane is a fertility festival… but how do you translate that into altar setup? Here are some tips about how to set up your altar to celebrate the Beltane sabbat.

Beltane Altar Photo Gallery

Beltane is a celebration of fertility and fire, and a number of our readers have shared their altar decorations with us. Check out this image gallery to see how other Pagans and Wiccans set up their altar for Beltane.

Celebrate Beltane with a Maypole Dance

The Maypole is one of the traditional symbols of Beltane, and let’s not kid ourselves about its purpose: it’s a giant phallus. Because Beltane festivities usually kicked off the night before with a big bonfire, the Maypole celebration usually took place shortly after sunrise the next morning. This was when couples (and probably more than a few surprised triads) came staggering in from the fields, clothes in disarray and straw in their hair after a night of bonfire-inspired lustiness. Here’s How:

  1. The pole was erected on the village green or common, or even a handy field — thrust into the ground either permanently or on a temporary basis — and brightly colored ribbons attached to it. Young people came and danced around the pole, each holding the end of a ribbon. As they wove in and out, men going one way and women the other, it created a sleeve of sorts — the enveloping womb of the earth — around the pole. By the time they were done, the Maypole was nearly invisible beneath a sheath of ribbons.
  2. To set up your own Maypole dance, here’s what you’ll need:
  • A pole anywhere from 15 to 20 feet long, preferably made of wood
  • Guests who like to have fun

Dig a hole in advance, a few feet deep. You don’t want your friends to wait while you hunt for a shovel. The hole should be at least three feet deep, to keep the pole from flopping over during the ceremony.

  1. Ask each participant to bring their own ribbon — it should be about 20 feet long, by two to three inches wide. Once everyone arrives, attach the ribbons to one end of the pole (if you put a metal eyelet screw in the pole beforehand, it makes it a lot easier — you can just tie each ribbon to the eyelet). Have extra ribbons on hand, because inevitably someone will have forgotten theirs.
  2. Once the ribbons are attached, raise the pole until it is vertical, and slide it into the hole. Be sure to make lots of bawdy jokes here. Pack dirt in around the base of the pole so it won’t shift or fall during the dance.
  3. If you don’t have an equal number of male and female guests, don’t worry. Just have everyone count off by twos. People who are “1” will go in a clockwise direction, people who are “2” go counterclockwise. Hold your ribbons in the hand that is closest to the pole, your inside hand. As you move in the circle, pass people by on first the left, and then the right, then the left again. If you’re passing them on the outside, hold your ribbon up so they pass under it. You might want to do a practice round beforehand. Keep going until everyone runs out of ribbon, and then knot all the ribbons at the bottom.
  4. One thing that’s always welcome at a Maypole Dance is music. There are a number of CDs available, but there are some bands whose music have a May theme to them. Look for the phrase “Morris music” or traditional pipe and drum tunes. Of course, the best thing of all is to have live music, so if you have friends who are willing to share their skill and sit out the dance, ask them to provide some musical entertainment for you.

Tips: If you’re doing a kids’ Maypole, it’s probably easier just to have them all go in one direction with their ribbons. It doesn’t look quite as fancy when it’s done, but it’s still pretty. You may want to have a crown of flowers attached as well — put that at the top once all the ribbons are in place, but before you raise the pole.

What You Need: A pole, Lots of ribbon, Friends who like to have a good time

Hold a Beltane Bonfire Rite

The Beltane bonfire is a tradition that goes back hundreds of years. The fire was more than a big pile of logs and some flame. It was a place where the entire community gathered around — a place of music and magic and dancing and lovemaking. It was customary to light the fire on May Eve (the last night of April) and allow it to burn until the sun went down on May 1. The bonfire was lit with a bundle made from nine different types of wood and wrapped with colorful ribbons. Once the fire was blazing, a piece of smoldering wood was taken to each home in the village, to ensure fertility throughout the summer months.

Here’s How:

  1. This was typically the time of year when fairs and markets were held, and as most country villages had a common or a green of some sort, there was always room for merriment. Depending on where you live, you might not have enough space for a big bonfire or dancing — and that’s okay. Just make do with what you have. An alternative to a large bonfire might be a small fire bowl (they’re usually available at discount stores and home improvement chains) or even a tabletop brazier. If you’re in an apartment and space is at a premium, consider building your fire in a small cauldron or other heat resistant bowl.
  2. Beltane is the spring counterpart to Samhain. While in the autumn, everything is dying, in spring it comes alive, glorious and bursting free from the earth. Beltane is about fertility and sex and passion and life. This ceremony is designed for a group, and includes a symbolic union of the May Queen and the King of the Forest. Depending on the relationship between the people playing these roles, you can get as lusty as you like. If you’re doing a family-oriented Beltane celebration, you may choose instead to keep things fairly tame.
  3. For this ritual you’ll need the following:
  • A bonfire — set it up ahead of time, and designate someone to be in charge of lighting and tending it
  • A May Queen — if possible, select a woman to play this part who is still within her childbearing years
  • A King of the Forest — any adult man can play this role, but it’s even better if he’s someone who is actually partnered with the woman playing the May Queen
  • Drums and other noisemakers
  • Optional: a crown of flowers for each of the females present
  • Optional: a headdress of antlers for each of the males present
  1. First, have the group circle around the fire, with the May Queen and the King of the Forest on opposite sides. The High Priest (HP) or High Priestess (HPs) should welcome everyone with something like this:

Beltane is here! It is a time when the earth is fertile and full.
Long ago, our ancestors planted their fields at Beltane.
The fields that lay fallow for months are now warm and waiting.
The soil that was dormant for the winter now begs us to plant our seeds.
The earth is awakening and ripe, and this is a season of love and passion.
It is a season of fire.

  1. At this point, the fire starter should begin lighting the bonfire. The HP or HPS continues:

As our fires grow, lighting up the night sky, the fire within us grows stronger.
It is the fire of lust and passion, knowing that like the earth, we too are fertile.
Tonight, the God emerges from the forest. He is known by many names —
he is Pan, Herne, Cernunnos, the Green Man. He is the God of the Forest.
Tonight is the night he will chase and capture the maiden.
She is the Queen of the May, Aphrodite, Venus, Cerridwen.
She is the Goddess of fields and flowers, she is Mother Earth herself.

  1. As the HP introduces the God of the Forest and the May Queen, they should each step forward into the circle. The HP says:

Bring fertility to the land! Let the hunt begin!

  1. At this point, the May Queen and the God of the Forest begin the chase, traveling sunwise around the circle, weaving in and out of the other participants. Remember, the May Queen wants to make love to the God of the Forest. This is a fun chase, a joyful courtship, not a mock rape; make sure both parties understand this and prepare accordingly. She can even allow him to get close to her, pretending she’s ready to join him… and then slipping away at the last second. They should travel the circle three times in the chase, and finally stop at a point in front of the bonfire — hopefully, it will be burning well by now.
  2. While the God of the Forest is pursuing his lady love, everyone else in the circle starts drumming. Start of slowly — after all, a courtship can take some time to get started. As the couple begins to speed up, increase the tempo of the music. If you’d like to chant instead of or in addition to drumming, go ahead. There are many popular traditional chants in Wicca and Paganism, and nearly all sound good when you sing them with a group. When the May Queen and the God of the Forest finally complete their three-times journey of the circle, the drums should stop abruptly.
  3. The HP says:

Fire and passion, love and life, brought together as one.

At this point, the May Queen says to the God of the Forest:

I am the earth, the womb of all creation.
Within me, new life grows each year.
Water is my blood, air my breath, and fire is my spirit.
I give you honor, and shall create new life with you.

The God of the Forest replies to her, saying:

I am the rutting stag, the seed, the energy of life.
I am the mighty oak that grows in the forest.
I give you honor, and shall create new life with you.

  1. The couple kisses, long and passionate. If they’re feeling really lusty, they can fall to the ground and roll around for a while — feel free to cover them with a blanket if you like. This kiss (or more) is the symbolic union of the male and female spirit, the great rite between man and woman. Once the embrace is broken, the HP calls out:

The earth is once more growing new life within! We shall be blessed with abundance this year!

  1. Everyone else in the circle claps and cheers — after all, you’ve just guaranteed that your village will have hearty crops and strong livestock this year! Celebrate by dancing around the bonfire, drumming and singing. When you are ready, end the ritual.

Tips:  If you have a woman in your group who is trying to conceive, she is absolutely the best choice for the role of May Queen. Her partner or lover may act the part of the God of the Forest, or another man may stand in as a symbolic consort.

What You Need: A bonfire, A couple willing to play the parts of May Queen and God of the Forest, Drums and noisemakers

Handfastings: A Pagan and Wiccan Wedding Primer

More and more Pagans and Wiccans are turning to handfasting rituals, rather than traditional weddings. Here’s where you’ll find information about the history of the custom, as well as proper handfasting etiquette, and ideas for ceremonies.

Pagan Clergy Listings

Are you Pagan clergy with services to offer our readers, such as handfastings, baby blessings, or memorial celebrations? You can post your listings here! Readers, if you’re looking for Pagan clergy in your area, be sure to check our listings to see who’s near you.

Handfasting History: An Old Tradition Made New

Handfasting was common centuries ago in the British Isles, and then vanished for a while. Now, however, it’s seeing a rising popularity among Wiccan and Pagan couples who are interested in tying the knot. Find out where this custom came from, and what brought it back.

All Excerpts from Patti Wiginton on about.com