wheel of the year

Beltaine/May Eve
The adolescent god and goddess, green man and lady back in the forest, oak king and may queen, the Beltaine fire

Berengaria Order of Druids ceremony – Beltaine
By Sarah Rooke, Archdruidess

On an altar let there be a phial of anointing oil, a chalice of water, a salver of salt, burning incense, three lighted candles, a rock or crystal, some flowers, a wand and or athame, a sword or bat’leth (if possible), bread and wine/fruit juice and a container of herbs. Druids in white or pastel, or Druidic/Celtic robes

Opening Ceremony

Celebrant: Before I begin, am I ready to start this ceremony?

Celebrant: I am

Celebrant: (Takes sword or wand in the air, going round in a circle) I conjure thee oh circle of power, that thou may be a meeting place of love, joy and truth, a shield against all wickedness and evil, a container and a condenser of all the power that we shall raise within thee. A rampart and a protection. Until the time when the sky falls above our heads, or the sea rises up and smothers us, or the earth opens her maw and swallows us, in the holy names of the gods and goddesses that we worship, I do consecrate and bless thee

Celebrant: The earth is blessed

Celebrant holding a container of salt water, walks round the circle, sprinkling on floor saying:

Earth and water were you cast, let no adverse purpose past. Be in complete accord with we, as is our will so mote it be

Celebrant holding burning incense, walks around circle, wafting the scent everywhere saying:

Air and fire harken now to our desire, awaken the sleeper deep within, let no evil enter in.  Be in complete accord with we, as is our will so mote it be

Celebrant (at East):  There is peace in the East

Celebrant (at South): There is peace in the South

Celebrant (at West): There is peace in the West

Celebrant (at North): There is peace in the North

Celebrant (standing in centre):  There is peace throughout the entire land

Celebrant: Holds athame/wand up and in a sweeping circle points it down saying:

The Earth our mother lies at our feet, the sky above protects us. This circle is now complete, and the ceremony may now commence

The main ceremony

Celebrant: I stand before the Sacred Grove of Minbar of the Berengaria Order of Druids and to the Guardians, Ancestors, and Spirits of this Place.  I declare my intent, I am grey, I stand between the candle and the star. We are grey, we stand between the darkness and the light

Celebrant: Beltaine or May Eve is one of the Four ‘Fire Festivals’ and marks early summer. It is the time of the youthful God and Goddess as lovers, the Oak King and May Queen. The Green Man and Green Lady are back in the forest again, as oak leaves and hawthorn, or may blossom, grow and bloom. Life is ripe and is a time of joyful celebration. In times past, couples would jump over the burning ‘Beltaine Fire’ to ensure fertility and good luck for the coming year. Young lovers would also slip away into the depths of the forest and would emerge later after experiencing passion and sensuality together. It is surely a time to ‘go native’ and get back to nature. The oak king of summer has defeated the holly king of winter again, so let us rejoice!

Celebrant: Villages would install a maypole in the square and everyone would dance around it, weaving the many coloured ribbons around the centre, after the world tree or Yggdrasil, or the tree of life. A young man was chosen as the Oak King and a young woman was chosen as the May Queen, before being paraded throughout the entire community. Nowadays, certain traditions are still enacted that have roots in the past, though their significance may have been lost down the mists of time, like Morris Dancers and the Padstow May Song. Many of these have now been Christianized by modern society, though they are still popular today. In many Celtic countries, the time is celebrated by the annual holiday of ‘May Day’, a folk memory that links us to what was past. Let us meditate of what this time of year means as we start to enter early summer.

Celebrant takes time to meditate and reflect on this mystery, reflecting in ones own life and at this special time of the year. 

Celebrant: (Visualises Oak King and May Queen before them and offers incense):  I see before me the Oak King and the May Queen. The Oak King is crowned with a circlet of oak leaves and the May Queen is crowned with a circlet of flowers. The Oak King represents the God and the May Queen represents the Goddess. May we receive the blessings of the God and Goddess at this time of year. So mote it be, and blessed be. And blessed be as blessed is, and blessed may we all be.

Celebrant (visualises Oak King and May Queen enacting the Beltaine Love Chase): As is tradition, I see the Oak King and May Queen enacting the Beltaine Love Chase, whereby the persistent Oak King chases the playful May Queen, who tries to evade capture from him. Eventually, the Oak King wins, and he is rewarded with an embrace and a kiss from the May Queen (Celebrant visualises seeing the Oak King kiss and embrace the May Queen). 

Celebrant (visualises Oak King and May Queen jumping over the Beltaine Fire): The Oak King and May Queen are the archetypal young lovers who are free and in love. For love is one of the greatest gifts and powers to be bestowed in the cosmos.

Celebrant: These emotions are primal instincts and date back into antiquity in the human genome. They are part of us and we shouldn’t ignore or try to bury them. They need expression; otherwise imbalances in the psyche will occur. They are pro-life, so why be afraid of them? Denying them is like experiencing entropy and death, with no love or joy to look forward to. 

Celebrant: We remember that for Minbari, the female watches over the male as he sleeps on three consecutive nights. They believe that the true soul or face of a person appears when one is asleep. If the female likes what she sees in the expressions of the male as he dreams, they will marry. However, we also know that Klingon love rituals are not for the faint hearted! The male reads love poetry, whilst the female throws crockery around to the sound of a good Klingon opera. 

Celebrant: May the Goddesses and Gods bestow their gifts of joy and love to all in peace and harmony.

A path working or meditation in the celebrants chosen path may follow. Celebrant may seek to commune with the Gods and Goddesses of their tradition.

Celebrant: I give thanks to the Guardians, Ancestors and Spirits of the Place for the Inspiration, Originality, and Imagination that has been bestowed on me today.

Celebrant holds out platter of bread, with wand/athame makes pentagram to bless it

I hereby bless this in the name of the Gods and Goddesses

Celebrant holds out chalice of wine, with wand/athame makes pentagram to bless it

I hereby bless this in the name of the Gods and Goddesses.

After partaking of bread and wine, celebrant intones druidic chant of Awen three times: 

Awen, Awen, Awen

Celebrant: I shall now recite the Druids Prayer, Grant oh God/Goddess, thy protection, and in protection, strength. And in strength, understanding, and in understanding, knowledge. And in knowledge, the knowledge of justice, and in the knowledge of justice, the love of it. And in the love of it, the love of all existences. And in the love of all existences, the love of god and goddess and all goodness

Celebrant: I shall now say the Druids Oath, We swear, by peace and love to stand, heart to heart and hand in hand, mark oh spirit and hear us now, confirming this our sacred vow.

Celebrant may like to offer their own poems, dancing or songs here, and also any special prayers or thoughts at this time as they feel appropriate

Closing Ceremony

Celebrant: As is tradition, I raise my hands in the air, sending out thoughts of peace and harmony to all things and beings, and any projects I have in mind

Celebrant:  My ceremony completed, I close this circle so I may return to everyday life. But first i thank the Guardians, Ancestors and Spirits of the Place.

Turns to East: There is peace in the East

Turns to South: There is peace in the South

Turns to West: There is peace in the West

Turns to North: There is peace in the North

Standing in centre: There is peace throughout the entire land

Celebrant: In the Name of the Gods and Goddesses that I worship, I send blessings out to the cosmos and the soma of our Universe, and all lifeforms, things and beings, remembering that the truth is out there! We also give thanks to the Gods and Goddesses for the love, beauty and truth that surrounds us now and forever. May we go forth with the Divine Blessing. Live Long and Prosper. May the Force Be With Us! Happy Beltaine!

Celebrant: Merry meet, merry part, and merry meet again

 Note: This a solo use ceremony that can be performed alone by oneself or with others

wheel of the year