Statement of Purpose:
Today is Beltaine, the feast of Belenos, and of Danu. Today we celebrate the union of these two great deities, and the joy and renewal that their union represents.
Beltaine is traditionally a celebration of fertility and sensuality, love and rebirth. These forces may manifest themselves in many ways: the growth of plants, the birth of young animals, the return of warmth and lengthening of days. We may find ourselves inspired to take on new challenges. Poetry may burst forth within our minds, love and affection may take root in our hearts, or we may feel drawn to a new and deepening closeness with the kindred.
However the spirit of this sacred day may find us, we should open ourselves to its power and embrace the gifts that are bestowed upon us.
Let us now prepare to open ourselves to the flow of magic.
Begin by closing your eyes and settling your body. Make yourself comfortable. Stretch and shift and place yourself at ease. Breathe deeply and slowly, allowing the cares and worries of the mundane world to flow out and away from you. As you continue to breathe, allow yourself to relax, body and mind.
Now, focus on your center—the core of your self. Feel this place within you that marks the center of all that you are. Now, slowly, pull yourself into that center, concentrating all that you are, all that you have ever been or will ever be into a single focused grain: A seed.
You are a seed, full of potential and possibilities. You are tucked beneath the ground, surrounded by the warm soil, snuggled in the embrace of the Earth Mother. You can feel the cool waters that flow beneath the earth moving all around you, and you draw energy and nourishment form those waters. You are safe, and comfortable, and at peace.
There is a tingling that begins slowly, building all around you, urging you to abandon your comfortable slumber and stretch for something more. At first, you try to ignore it, but the pull is irresistible. You stretch…there…you can feel the warmth above you…the source of the pull. But now, you are afraid to leave the comforts of the earth completely behind, so you stretch again. This time, you extend roots deep into the ground, connecting you to the nourishing waters that you continue to draw strength from.
Now, you are ready to reach out again. As you stretch this time, you break through the surface. You can feel the warmth of the sunshine pouring down and you continue to grow towards the light. You unfurl your leaves, to gather more of the light to yourself, and as you do, you feel even more energy surge into your being. You reach down further with your roots, to draw in more of the waters, and also, to anchor you against the wind as you grow taller, stretching ever closer to the sky.
You open yourself to the wonder of the world. You realize your potential as you extend yourself leaf by leaf, and then, when you are ready, you unfurl your treasure. Opening the flower that you have carried within you since you were a seed, you reveal your true self, and turn your face to the sun.
Now, breathe deeply and slowly, allow yourself to become aware of your surroundings, not as a flower, but as a human. Feel the wind on your face and your arms. Feel your breath filling your lungs, see the light shining behind your closed eyelids. Know that like the seed of your imaginings, you too have untapped potentials, and treasures in abundance to share. As you open your eyes and return to the world you know, carry within you the memory of the seed and let it guide you as you shape the magic within yourself.
Earth Mother Offering:
O beloved mother of all, as is our custom, our first offering is made to you. It is from your fertile womb that we are born. It is your body which nourishes and sustains us throughout our lives, and it is back into your warm embrace that we ultimately return. We give to you this token of our affection, our gratitude, and our love. Mother of all, accept our offering!
All respond: Mother of all, accept our offering!
Bardic Inspiration Offering:
Lady Brigid, patroness of poets and bards, grant us the gift of silver tongues. Let us speak only that which is true and honorable and good. Bless us so that our words may be pleasing to the kindreds. Lady Brigid, accept our offering!
All respond: Lady Brigid, accept our offering!
Hallow the Hallows: “The Portal Song”
Refrain (sing twice):
By fire and by water, between the earth and sky
We stand like the world tree, rooted deep, crowned high
Come we now to the well, the eye and the mouth of earth
Come we now to the well, and silver we bring
Come we now to the well, the waters of rebirth
Come we now to the well, together we sing
We will kindle a fire, bless all and with harm to none
We will kindle a fire, and offerings pour
We will kindle a fire, our light ‘neath the moon and sun
We will kindle a fire, our spirits will soar
Gather we at the tree, the root and the crown of all
Gather we at the tree, below and above
Gather we at the tree, together we make our call
Gather we at the tree, in wisdom and love
Manannan Mac Lir, Lord of the ways, we call upon you today as we have so many times before, to stand beside us as gatekeeper. We pray for you to watch over us as seek to commune with those who dwell beyond the boundaries of our own world.
O Manannan, we make this offering to you as a gesture of our love and our faith. We place our trust in you to guide us and guard us as we walk the paths between the realms. Manannan Mac Lir, accept our offering!
All respond: Manannan Mac Lir, accept our offering!
Open the Gates:
Now, Lord Manannan, guardian and guide, I ask that you join your magic with mine. Let this well, in its dark depths, become a doorway to the underworld and open as a gate! Let this fire, its flames reaching up into the heavens, open as a gate! Let this tree, with its roots anchored deep within the earth and its branches stretching up into the sky become for us the crossroads between all worlds, that our voices may be heard by those to whom we call!
Let the gates be open!
All respond: Let the gates be open!
I now call to all those of the outer dark, all who abide beyond the light of this work’s fire. Be it known that we wish no harm upon you, and ask only that you visit no harm upon us. As a token of our regard and a gesture of goodwill to seal this bargain, we offer up the promise of this gift, set aside in a place reserved for you. Outdwellers, accept our offering!
All respond: Outdwellers, accept our offering!
Grove Patron – Ratatosk
Noble Ratatosk, we call to you this night as the patron of our grove. Teacher and guardian, playmate and friend, we invite you to join us as we celebrate the feast of Imbolc. As we set aside this sacred time to contemplate the turning of the year, we make a special place for you among us and give to you tokens of our affection and devotion.
Ratatosk, Accept our sacrifice!
All respond: Ratatosk, accept our sacrifice!
Land Spirits Offering:
I call upon the spirits of the land, and offer you welcome. I call the spirits stone and mountain, rain and river, wind and storm, and offer you welcome. I call upon the spirits of the green, the trees and plants and offer you welcome. I call upon the animals, all the beings that fly and swim and walk, sharing the earth with us, and offer you welcome. I call upon the unseen spirits, the fey and sidhe, and offer you welcome
To all the spirits of nature, both seen and unseen, come and be welcome among us! Accept this token of our affection and join us in our rite. Land Spirits, accept our offering!
All respond: Land Spirits, accept our offering!
I call to the ancestors, to all those who walked in this world before us. To the ancestors of all those gathered here, great-grandfathers and grandmothers of our blood, we offer you welcome. To the ancestors of the spiritual paths we now walk, prophetic women and men whose words challenge us to confront powers and structures of evil with justice, compassion and the transforming power of love, we offer you welcome. And to all the ancestors of this land, known to us or unknown, whose blood and spirits are bound to this piece of earth, we offer you welcome.
To all of our ancestors, come and be welcome among us! Accept this token of our affection and join us in our rite. Ancestors, accept our offering!
All respond: Ancestors, accept our offering!
Shining Ones Offering:
I call now to the shining ones, to the gods and goddesses. To the deities of all those gathered here, patrons and patronesses, I offer you welcome. To the deities of the paths we travel, those who make up the pantheons of our faiths, we offer you welcome. To the deities of this place, known to us or unknown, who still look over this piece of the earth, we offer you welcome.
To all the shining ones, come and be welcome among us! Accept this token of our affection and join us in our rite. Shining Ones, accept our offering!
All Respond: Shining Ones, accept our offering!
Offerings to the Patrons of the Rite
Offerings to Belanos:
Great god Belanos!
Father of gods and men,
God of fire, of sky, of the life-giving sun
You who are present in the heart of the flame,
And in the heart of all who would honor you in word and deed,
We ask you to be present with us this day.
Join us in our celebration!
Accept our offerings!
All respond: Belanos, accept our offering!
Offering to Danu:
Great Goddess Danu!
Matriarch of the clans,
Blessed mother of the waters of life,
Bringer of fertility and renewal,
We ask you to join with us this day.
You who are mother to all,
Giver of comfort and inspiration to all who seek you out,
Be present among us.
Join us in our celebration!
Accept our offerings!
All respond: Danu, accept our offering!
Today we honor these two deities, and their sacred joining.
Today we honor the powers of fire and water,
The powers of earth and sky,
United in the act of creation.
Today we honor the act of creation itself:
The awakening of the land after a long winter’s slumber,
The quickening of life within a woman’s womb,
And the spark of inspiration
That moves each of us to new and great endeavors.
Let us make welcome in our hearts the patrons of our rite and the powerful forces of renewal and rebirth that they embody.
If anyone would like to come forward with an offering to the kindreds, Lady Danu, or Lord Belanos, we invite you to do so now.
Offering of the Sacred Bull:
Children of the Earth Mother, behold the sacred bull! We sacrifice this final gift to honor all the kindred. Half we offer up to the gods, the ancestors and the land spirits, and half we will distribute among the people that we may share this sacred meal with the kindred.
Hallow the Waters:
Ancient and mighty ones we have honored you. We pray you honor us in turn, for a gift calls for a gift. Hear your children and bless these waters. Infuse them with your wisdom and strength.
Behold, the waters of life!
All respond: Behold, the waters of life!
Sharing of the Blessing
The mighty ones have blessed us. With joy in our hearts let us carry the magic from our sacred grove into our lives and work. As we prepare to depart let us give thanks to all those who have aided us.
Lady Danu, mother goddess, we thank you!
All Respond: Lady Danu, we thank you!
Lord Belanos, god of fire and sky, we thank you!
All respond: Lord Belanos, we thank you!
Shining Ones, first children of the mother, patrons and patronesses, we thank you!
All respond: Shining Ones, we thank you!
Mighty Ancestors, blood of blood and spirit of our spirit, we thank you!
All respond: Ancestors, we thank you!
Land Spirits, all those who walk this world with us, we thank you!
All respond: Land Spirits, we thank you!
Ratatosk, Grove Patron and beloved companion, we thank you!
All respond: Ratatosk, we thank you!
Outdwellers, you have kept your bargain with us, and so we keep our bargain with you. Upon the conclusion of our rite, this offering shall be poured in your honor. Outdwellers, we thank you!
All respond: Outdwellers, we thank you!
Closing the Gates:
Mannanan Mac Lir, Guardian and Guide, great is our gratitude for your care and protection, in our rite and in our lives. Lord Mannanan, we thank you!
All respond: Lord Mannanan, we thank you!
Mannanan Mac Lir, I call upon you once again to aid us that we may end what we began. Lord of the Ways, I ask that you draw near and join your magic with mine. Let this well, portal to the underworld become again but water. Let this fire, gateway to the heavens, become again but flame. Let this tree, threshold and crossroads, become again but leaf and twig. Let all return to as it was before. Let the gates be closed!
All Respond: Let the gates be closed!
Earth Mother, mother to us all, as is our custom, to you we return all that we leave unused. Great mother, as we leave this sacred gathering, we go forth to live lives of balance and harmony, keeping faith with you and all who depend upon you for life. Earth Mother, blessed and beloved, we thank you!
All respond: Earth Mother, we thank you!
Children of the earth, our rite is ended. As we go forth, let us carry with us the blessings of the kindreds, holding their gifts of strength and wisdom before us like a torch to light our way.