Beltaine Ritual
Raven's Cry Grove, ADF
OFFICIANTS:
Presiding Druid (PD)
Sacrificer (SAC)
Bard (BARD)
Other Druids (D1, D2, etc.)
Other Bards as appropriate
Firetender as appropriate
HALLOWS OF THE NEMETON:
Cauldron filled with water (some from the members homes)
Fire altar, to be lit from a candle consecrated by flame from Bríde‘s
flame in Cill Dara.
Bile (sacred tree)


Preparing the Nemeton
As the participants wait outside the Nemeton, PD charges the Well with
water collected from the Druids‘ homes and lights the Hearth candle on
the altar that will serve as the source fire for the rite. The
participants all are provided with colorful ribbons.


Call to the Rite

Thrice-three chimes announce the rite.


Protecting the Hallows

A Druid (D1) stands in the North and speaks:
D1: “Mighty Lugh, protector of the Tuatha De Dananna.
We call on you to hold at bay those that would do us ill will,
And disturb our rite.”

A Druid (D1) lights a flame in the South and speaks:
D1: “Ancient spirits, dark or light,
Outdwellers, Fomorians, Fir Bolg,
We offer to you here, that we may worship in peace,
And ask that you stay beyond the light of this flame.”

Bíodh sé amhlaidh.”
All: “Bíodh sé amhlaidh.”

PD: “Go raibh maith agaibh; thank you. Brothers and Sisters, enter
the Nemeton to be cleansed by fire and water.”

Druids cense and asperse the participants as the Call for Peace is
made:

PD moves to address the East:<br> PD: “May there be peace in the East, ancient Leinster.”
To the South:
PD: “May there be peace in the South, ancient Munster.”
To the West:
PD: “May there be peace in the West, ancient Connacht.”
To the North:
PD: “May there be peace in the North, ancient Ulster.”
Returns to the Tree in the center:
PD: “Here in the Center, let peace rule over this rite.”
PD offers grain to the Earth:

Bíodh sé amhlaidh.”
All: “Bíodh sé amhlaidh.”

When participants are settled and the altar fire is lit, PD speaks:

”May we pray with a good fire.
As our Ancestors did in times before and our children may do in times
to come,

Let us honor the Gods in the Old Ways.

This is the ancient feast of Bealtainne, the end of Winter, when the
Powers of the Otherworlds stand close at hand, the veil between us and
them at its thinnest, ready to renew the land once more. This is a
time to honor prosperity, fertility and the bonds of love. As in times
past, we shall make dark the fires of hearth and altar, trusting in the
Lord of the Sacred Flame to kindle them anew, signalling the return of
Summer to the Land.”

Invocation of the Awen
BARDS offer a song of praise as invocation to Bríd.

Consecration of the Hallows
PD: “Let us begin by sanctifying the Hallows by which we make
offering.”

The Well:
Sacred waters ‘neath our feet,
Unformed powers of the deep,
Fountain upwards now to fill us,
Sacred Waters, flow within us!

An offering of silver is made to the Well.

”Uiscí naomh, sruthaigh ionainn.
Sacred Waters, flow within us.”

The Fire:
Sacred fire, light of Heaven,
Holy power of Transformation,
Creating Order out of chaos.
Sacred fire, burn within us!

An offering of oil is made to the Fire.

”Tine naomh, loisc ionainn.
Sacred Fire, burn within us.”

The Bile (Sacred Tree):
Sacred Tree, which joins together
Powers of chaos and of order,
Mighty wisdom, strong and ageless.
Sacred tree, grow within us!
”Crann naomh, fas ionainn.
Sacred Tree, grow within us.”

All: “Sacred Tree, grow within us.”


Opening the Gates to the Otherworlds
PD: “We now call on Manannán Mac Lír,
Our Lord of the Gates to the Otherworlds,
To make open the portals for our worship.”
Gatekeeper! We ask in reverence,
Open now the sacred boundary.
Manannan mac Lir, come to us,
Ward us as we walk in safety!.

”A Mhanannain Mhic Lír, Osclaítear na Geataí anois.
Let the Gates be open!”

All: “Let the Gates be open!.”


The Three Kindreds

PD: “Let us now give honor to the Three Kindreds,
That they may honor us in return.”

Inviting the Spirits of the Land

D2: “A Sprideanna na talaimh! Spirits of the Land! Kindreds of fur,
fin, and feather,
Of bark, leaf and blossom, of rock, soil, or crystal.
Fair folk, green kin, and totem beasts!
We honor you here.”

Flowers or fruit or the like is placed amongst the Hallows.

D2: “We thank you for sharing this place with us and offer these gifts
in return.
Earth Spirits, come to our hearthside and join us in our rite.
Bíodh sé amhlaidh.”

All: “ Bíodh sé amhlaidh.”

Honoring the Ancestors

D1: “A Shinseara! Ancestors! You who guide our steps,
You who carry the honor of the People to the Otherworlds,
We honor you here.”

Ale is poured in the Well and the remainder set in a cup on the altar.

D1: “We honor you with the first portion and offer this cup for your
taking.
Ancestors, come to our hearthside and guide us in our rite.
Bíodh sé amhlaidh.”

All: “ Bíodh sé amhlaidh.”

Offering to the Deities

D3: “A Dhéithe! Shining Ones! Highest and mightiest,
First among the Kindreds, worthiest of honor,
Ancient of the Tuatha De Danann, we would offer to you in this place.
Deities of this place, known to us or unknown,
Gods and Goddesses of all those here, Patrons and Matrons,
We would offer you like honor.
Join us at our fire, o Shining Ones.
A Dhéithe, glacigí ár n-iobairt seo!
Shining Ones, accept our sacrifice!”

All: “Shining Ones, accept our sacrifice!”

Oil is poured on the Fire

PD: “At this time, let the Fire be made dark and all the Land be
returned to the will of Belenos, Lord of the Sacred Flame.”

The Fire is extinguished with sand.

PD: “Let there be found among the people seven men who will offer
their services to the Lord of the Fire to kindle the Flame for the
Summer, if it is His will.”

Seven men from among all assembled brought forward and given pieces of
seven species of wood.


PD: “A Bhelinus, may this wood and these servants be worthy in your
sight. Otherworld Kindreds gathered at the Southern flame, grant us
the Summer‘s light! A Bhelinus, go mbeannai tú linn agus adh an Tine
Naomh. Let the Fire of Summer be lit!”

All: “Let the Fire of Summer be lit!”

One of the Druids begins a drumbeat. The wood is laid in a second fire
pit and lit from the single flame still burning in the South. Firewood
is laid on the kindling. When the flame is burning, the rite may
continue. If it fails, the company should offer additional homage to
the God and a second attempt made.


PD: “Go raibh maith agat, a Bhelinus. Light returns to the Land and
we seek once more to join with Her and follow in her ways. Through
winter, she gives us the bitter counsel of An Cailleach, the Ancient
Hag, who strengthens us and tests our will. Now the Fire of Summer
burns away the guise of the Crone.”

A woman among the Druids, veiled in black, comes forward and leaps the
newly-kindled flame. On reaching the other side, she unveils herself,
revealing garlands of flowers.


PD: “Behold the Queen of the May, the Flower Maiden. She is Aine,
Sidhe-Queen and She who holds the Power of Sovereignty and the
Blessings of Fertility and Abundance. She is Eriú, the Land itself.
She is Bloddeuwedd, the Woman Made of Flowers. One among us must be
joined with her as King, that our covenant with the Land be renewed and
the Summer be abundant. One must offer to pass into the Fire to stand
at her side for this time. Let those men willing to undertake this
passage stand for a lottery as in elder days. Let the women here urge
their men to stand forward for the test.”

A bowl containing pieces of bannock is passed before those willing to
stand as Sacrificial King so they may take a piece. One piece is
blackened by fire. He who draws the blackened piece is brought to the
fire pit.


May Queen: “In elder days, you would seal your homage to the Queen by
burning...but these are no longer those days. Still, you must pass the
fire. Among the Scots, to these very days, you must leap the flames
six times to save yourself from sacrifice...but we ask not so stern a
test. We ask you leap thrice the Fire to stand at the side of the
Queen of the May. Go mbeannai an Banrion an Bhealtaine leat.
Blessings of the May Queen be with you. Now leap the flames three
times.”

After passing over the Fire thrice, the new King is brought to the
Queen and joined with her before the Tree.


PD: “The Land now rejoices in its true Sovereign and her consort. May
this union bring all those here assembled joy and love and prosperity
in the season ahead. Let the altar fire now be relit and offerings of
praise be brought .”

The altar fire is relit from the Beltaine fire.


Praise Offerings

PD: “Let any who offer praise or sacrifice come forward to the
altars.”

Time is allowed for all who so wish to make praise offerings.


Main Offering

PD: “Let us all join in offering to the Patron(s) of the rite.”

PD (with SAC holding forth bundles of hawthorn):
”Bealtainne is the time of contracts of love. In elder days, lovers
would offer pledges of love with hawthorn beneath their intended
pillow. In token of this, we ask any here willing to take these herbs
and pledge to their partner that they will stand by their side as
little as the duration of this holiday, til sundown tomorrow, not
leaving their company, in glory of the Gods and this Festival of
Fertility. Will any undertake this commitment?”

After an opportunity for this, SAC offers remaining hawthorn to the
Fire and the rite continues.



Taking of the Omen

PD: “Having made offering to the Gods, let us see how our offering was
received.”

SAC consults ogham (or runes) and announces the results of the
omen-taking. If the omen is inauspicious, further offerings may be
made and a second omen taken. If the omen is again unfavorable, the
rite should be ended, with due thanks made to the Kindreds. If the
omen is auspicious, the rite proceeds.



Seeking the Blessings of the Deities

PD: “In our custom, a gift calls for a gift.
Having offered to the Shining Ones,
We seek their blessings in return.”

PD pours ale (or the like) into a cup and holds it up. The following
litany may be shared among three of the Druids.


PD: “Shining Ones, we seek the blessings of the three Cauldrons,
Of Wisdom, of Plenty, and of Rebirth.
We would share in your magic.
And so we say as one folk: Shining Ones, give us the Waters!”

All: “Shining Ones, give us the Waters!”

PD: “We would stand in fellowship with you
And feast at your side and proclaim ourselves your People.
And so we say again: Shining Ones, give us the Waters!”

All: “Shining Ones, give us the Waters!”

PD: We have offered of our love and our work to you;
We have shared our hearthside,
And, as a gift calls for a gift,
We say one last time: Shining Ones, give us the Waters of Life!”

All: “Shining Ones, give us the Waters of Life!

PD elevates the cup saying:
”Seo na h-Uiscí Beatha!
These are the Waters of Life!”

The participants are invited to pass between the two Fires to greet the
Queen and King and receive their share of the blessings in the Cup.


PD: “As you share in the blessings of the Mighty Kindreds,
Do not hesitate to salute or otherwise honor them.
At this time, the Gates are still open and offerings may yet be made.”

When all have had a chance to drink from the cup and make any
offerings, the rite proceeds.



Thanking the Kindreds

PD: “Let us now give thanks to the Powers we have honored here.”
(The same Druids who offered to invite each Kindred thank them here:)
D: “Lord of the Sacred Fire, Queen of the May, whose feast this is, go
raibh maith agaibh. We thank you.”
All: “We thank you.”
D: “A sprideanna na talaimh! Earth Spirits! Go raibh maith agaibh.
We thank you.”
All: “We thank you.”
D: “A Dhéithe! Deities! Go raibh maith agaibh. We thank you.”
All: “We thank you.”
D: “A Shinseara! Ancestors! Go raibh maith agaibh. We thank you.”
All: “We thank you.”
BARD: “A Bhríd! Lady Brigit! Go raibh maith agat. We thank you.”
All: “We thank you.”
PD: “To all those Powers that have aided our rite,
We say once more: go raibh maith agaibh. We thank you.”
All: “We thank you.”

PD: “We return to the Earth those blessings we have left unused.”
SAC makes libation from the blessing cup.


Closing the Gates

PD: “We call once more on Manannán Mac Lír to close the gates.”

D1: “A Mhanannain! Gatekeeper and Sidhe King!
We thank you for guiding our prayers to the Otherworlds.
We thank you for guiding and warding our steps in all the Worlds.
Let the Fire now be but flame.
Let the Well now be but water.
And let the Tree now be no more than the true heart we carry forth from
this place.

A Mhanannain Mhic Lír, Dúntar na Geataí anois!
Let the Gates now be closed!”
All: “Let the Gates now be closed!.”

PD: “As we started, so let us end.”

Thrice-three chimes are sounded.

PD: “Brothers and sisters, go in peace and blessings.
The rite is ended.”