Beltane! The beginning of summer and huge fires, young couples copulating in the woods (doggers) and bright sunny cheer…
… is normally what we are told Beltane is all about. As me and Dumbledore left Nottingham, the closer we got to the Grove hearth, the foggier and damper it became. And actually, that was ok. It gave atmosphere and the sense that the Otherworld was close to us on the 1st of May.
Dumbledore had volunteered to run the ceremony as it’s his favourite one and has special significance for him.
In the middle of the circle we had a working fire! Yes a fire that actually worked (at last!) and had real flames and everything… guess we did it right this time.
Now, as Grove tradition has it, at least one of the Quarter callings gets muddled, in the Equinox ritual, I declared ‘Hail and Farwell’ in the opening, for example. Cymro can be forgiven as it was his very first time of calling in front of us. However EVERYONE made a mistake of some kind, during the calling. Did it annoy us? Did it ruin the ceremony? No, it added to the mirth and acceptance of chaos that keeps our Grove alive. And of course when things are waking up and coming to life, nature is beautiful chaos.
Dumbledore’s ceremony embraced the newness of life and of the creative flow. I was even invited to tell the story of part of the Celtic creation myth where Danu, the Mother Goddess herself was formed from the first waters on Earth and how this gave to life being given to the land in the form of Bilé, her tree consort.
This was followed by Dumbledore’s centrepiece of the ceremony: The presentation of the Grove’s very own banner! A gorgeous hand-made gift to the Corieltauvi.
That’s right, we now have our own banner which will be taken to the Order’s 50th anniversary in Glastonbury. This was ceremonially given by me as ‘Acting Herald’ (No Tatterhood, unfortunately) to one of the Elders of the Grove, Cthulhudruid, and was then blessed with fire and water as well as its dedication to the Corieltauvi itself. It was then paraded around so we called all touch and give a part of our own energies to it.
Creative Dumbledore had even made gifts for us all using curtain rings and green ribbon to represent the cosmic egg and tail of the sperm. We were then invited to channel our own personal meaning into them and throw them over the fire. I even leapt the fire too!
Cymro delivered one of his wonderful poems, he apologised for it being the same as last year’s, but that didn’t matter, it was still as evocative of summer and heartfelt as the first time.
Powering down, it was out with the wine (which I found out was all over my robes… whoops!), the cakes and the crisps followed by banter with Luch Dorca and such deep philosophical discussions as:
Breastfeeding in public: should be allowed or not?
Whitby Goth Weekend: has Goth given way to Steam punk?
Kate Beckinsale: Turns out me, Cthulhudruid and Luch Dorca are fans of hers, especially in Underworld and as a Gypsy in Van Helsing… what? It’s Beltane!
Parents: Danceswithweasels told us of her children’s escapades with her folks… and why they visit only once a year.
Titles: Cymro had been named ‘Grove Bard’ and Briseilid took the banner in proxy for Strider who, unfortunately, couldn’t join us. Oh and according to Cthulhudruid and Luch Dorca, anyone with titles need big, BIG hats… you have been warned!