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                                    WCC BELTANE RITUAL  
                                    By Lynna Landstreet


          Personnel required:

              Several drummers and other musicians if possible. A priest and
                  priestess  who will represent the God & Goddess (and should be
          garbed
              appropriately), referred to herein as P & PS, plus a priest or
                  priestess who will read  the meditation and "stage-manage" the
          ritual
              (referred to herein as "N" for Narrator)

          Tools/Supplies required:

                  Very few. Thereshould be afire in the centreof the circle,and 
            a chalice of wine and a bowl of Nine Holy Herbs spray or other
              concentrated alcohol (we ended up using Jamaican overproof rum,
              which worked very well -- flared up about six feet high!).

          Bring in the people and have them sit. Have the musicians sit together
          in  an inner semi-circle, behind  the Narrator. One  drummer should be
          playing  a  slow, hypnotic  heartbeat during  the  first party  of the
          ritual.  The priest  and  priestess who  will  represent the  God  and
          Goddess should be hiding near  the circle, and approach when the  part
          about them drawing near begins.

          N:   "Beltane means many things.  It is a celebration of spring coming
          into full  flower, of the return  of the Goddess from  the underworld,
          the
          mating time of the animals, the return of the sun, and many other
          things. Above all, it is a celebration of life. But for us, here in
          this community, it is also the time when we leave the confines of our
          building and return to the temple of the forest.
              "Wicca is a nature religion, but too often we worship in concrete
          cages, cut off from that nature, and from our own natures. And as we
          have now returned to nature in our choice of ritual site, I ask you
          tonight to return to  nature in your hearts and minds as well, for the
          ways of  the world within  walls are not  necessarily the same  as the
          ways of the world outside.
                  "We meet in a small fragment of forest, within acity park. But
          now, I  ask you to forget the  city that surrounds us.  In your mind's
          eye, let the  city fade away and the forest extend on and on, covering
          the  land that  only moments ago  was buried under  concrete. For once
          this land was wild,  and covered with trees,  not buildings. Once  the
          rivers and streams ran free,  and the air was fresh and  fragrant with
          the  scent of  cedar and  sweet fern,  not fouled  by car  exhaust and
          factory  smoke. And it may  be that one  day, it will be  so again, we
          have no way of knowing.
                  "But for now, picture the forest extending on and on,as far as
          you
          can imagine, in all directions. The great wild forest surrounds and
          embraces us, and we are the people of the forest.
                  "Herein the greatwild forest, we haveno need ofa sword to cast

                                           1936
          


          the circle,  for we have each other, our hands, our minds, our bodies.
          Join  hands, and breathe in deeply, and  breathe out, as one. Feel the
          circle being formed now by our  touch, the energy leaping from hand to
          hand, deosil,  around the circle.  Feel it forming, a  place set apart
          from the trials of daily life, a sacred, wild place...
                  "Here in the great wild forest, we have no  need of a besom to
          cleanse our circle, for  we meet in the  wilderness, which is  already
          clean and pure, and by its touch are we made clean and pure ourselves.
          Feel all fears, doubts and  negativities ebbing away from you, as  the
          forest absorbs them and transforms them to good...
                  "Here in the great wild forest, we have no need  of incense to
          purify
          our  circle, for  we have  the arching  sky above  our grove,  and the
          rushing
          wind that ruffles our hair and caresses our skin.  Breathe deeply, and
          take the wind  and the sky into  yourself. The spirits of  the air are
          here
          always,  it is  we who  have  come to  their place.  Greet them,  now,
          silently, in your own way...
                  "Here in the great wild forest, we have no need of a candle to
          purify  our circle,  for we  have the  balefire in  the centre  of our
          circle,  and the stars above.  See the leaping  flames now, hear their
          crackle, and see them reflected in the tiny fires in the sky above us.
          Feel their  warmth, and take  them into  yourself. The spirits  of the
          fire are  here always, it  is we who  have come to  their place. Greet
          them, now, silently, in your own way...
              "Here in the great wild forest, we have no need of a water bowl to
          purify our circle, for we have the rushing stream in the valley beside
          us,  and the dew that moistens the  grass. Hear the water's call, now,
          feel the  rising dampness in the  air, and take it  into yourself. The
          spirits of the water are  here always, it is we who have come to their
          place. Greet them, now, silently, in your own way...
                  "Herein the great wildforest, we have no needof salt to purify
          our circle, for we have the earth itself, beneath us, and the firmness
          of our  own flesh and bones.  Feel the solidity, the  vastness, of the
          earth, and  take it into yourself.  The spirits of the  earth are here
          always,  it  is we  who have  come to  their  place. Greet  them, now,
          silently, in your own way...
                  "Open yourself, now, to the pulseof life all around you. It is
          there, if you can free your spirit  enough to sense it. Feel the  life
          straining to be born in every  sprouting seed, the exhilaration of the
          blossoms bursting  from their buds on  the trees, the joy  of the very
          grass  itself, of  every bush and  shrub and  piece of  moss, greening
          again as the earth is warmed by the sun, as the life-giving rains fall
          from the sky, and all  of nature is borne  into the ecstatic dance  of
          life's return. And feel,  in the midst of it all, the  presence of the
          Lord and  Lady, who are the  soul of all nature,  the consciousness of
          the  wild, the beauty of the green earth,  the sun and moon and stars,
          and the mystery  of the waters. Feel them  approaching! Even now, they
          near our circle, drawn by our love and our joy in their creation. Feel
          their power,  their nearness... they approach... they come... THEY ARE
          HERE!"

                  Narrator throws the Nine Holy Herbs into the fire. Asit flares
          up,
                  the drummersbegin todrum, and thepriest and priestessrepresen 
                ting the God and Goddess runinto the circle and beginto dance   
              wildly around the fire. After a couple ofrounds, they each pull   
            someone in from the circle to dancewith them a few rounds, then     
          each of the  four pull other people in, and so on, until the whole    

                                           1937
          


          circle is up and dancing (in high school they called this a snowball  
            dance, remember?).

              As the dance reaches its peak, the priest and priestess take the
                  chalice,and hold it up above theheads of the dancers to charge
          it
                  (this ismade easier if yourcircle site is surroundedby park   
                benches likeours is). If theenergy is really happening,a formal 
                wineblessing shouldn't be necessary, butone may be performed    
              anyway if desired. When the wine has beencharged, the narrator    
           calls "Down!" and people fall to the ground.


















































                                           1938
          


          N    "Feel the energy  swirling up and  up above  us, forming a  fiery
          cone.
          See it explode in a shower  of fireworks, the energy spiraling down to
          the earth like shooting stars, adding power to the transformation that
          is already underway, blending  with the energy  of every leaf and  bud
          and
          blossom  to aid in the  greening of the earth. (Pause)   Now rise, and
          join
          hands once again."

                  Priest and priestess take chalice around circle, and kiss each
          person before giving it to them, while people sing:

                  "Powers of the Earth
                  Powers taking form
                  Rising to rebirth,
                  Rising to be born."

              When chalice returns, pour libation into the fire.

          N   "We need not bid farewell to our Gods, nor to the spirits that
          surround us,  the wind, the fire,  the stream, or the  earth, for they
          are
          always here. It is we  who shall take our leave of them, later on, and
          when we do, each of us  shall say our own farewell, in our  own words.
          But for now -- LET THE CELEBRATION BEGIN!!!"

              People feast, dance, make merry, etc.

































                                           1939


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