The Beltane Bash...
This is a live recording at Conway Hall, London performed on the 27th, May 2001.
The Druidspear line up was:- James, Andy, Tanya, John, Ken, Andrew, Pete, Andy, Max.
Beltaine the Iush, erotic doorway to summer. Beltaine: the feline stretch of the awakened year. Beltaine the dance truly underway. In issue 3 of the D files I talked about thc wheel of the year. I mentioned four fire festivals that interlock with the solar solstices and equinoxes to create the eight spokes of the wheel. Beltaine Is one of those festivals: for many it is one of the most powerful of them all. Along with Samhain. which lies diametrically opposite it in time.
The word Beltaine can be translated as 'The Good Fire' or 'The Bel - Fire'. Bel being a (pre - ?) Celtic god of light and fire and known - variously, as Baal, Beli, Balar and Belenus, - a god equated with Apollo - The Bright One.
Thc depth of the strength of this festival in our culture is easily seen. May-day is commonly known for it's May-pole. May-Queen, dancing celebrations and fayres. The thread of traditional is woven deep within our psyches, and so it should be for this is an entirely natural response to the beginning of summer.
As the abandonment of the fire energy within brings all things to fruition, so this power is reflected in the May-fire and it's purifying flame. Cattle were driven between fires and the people leaped the flames to ensure the death of dross and the renewing of vitality, borne by the scorching heat. All over the land beacons were lit on the hills on May-day.To be extinguished when the 'Forcefire' was created - probably by friction from sacred wood. All domestic fires would then be kindled from this one source. Often, the fires would be lit beneath holy trees and danced around. There in its personification of the spirit of vegetation and fecundity, its deep symbolism of connectedness to all the worlds, lay at the origin of the priapic ritual of the Maypole.
At this time of year the maturing goddess walks among us in the person of the May-Queen, sporting her Blackthorn (Hawthorn) garland. She is the focus of adoration for the power of Nature - and she is ready to mate. The young god is primed and ready for the test. The trial before him is his chance to prove his worth as consort and champion of sovereignty in preparation for his role as the Oak-King of Summer - deposer of thc Holly-King of Winter.
In Wicca. as well as Druidry, the symbolic 'Sword from thc Stone' scenario is present. Thc time for test and initiations is at hand. In ancient times sacrifices were performed and sacred wells were visited for propitiation. But the most obvious theme to Beltaine is one of sex. Although it was always a time for uninhibited sexual activity, on a more subtle level this can be subsumed into a more rarefied process and synthesised into a spiritual act. The prime basis for this being the harmonising of thc male and female aspects in each of us. The sword of spirit, drawn from the stones, summons the idea of pure spirit triumphing over logic, fixity and intellect. From other elements we may gain insight of spirit triumphing over passion (fire) and emotion (water). This idea may seem too abstracted for some of you who would simply prefer the physical expression of your devotions but if balance and harmony are there in the sublime, how much more will all those qualities be present in the mundane?
Beltaine is also a time for the opening of the walls to other realms. It is a time of the dead and thce unseen. The elemental and devic forces are gathering momentum to rush the world into the explosion of summer.
In summing up we can suppose that the natural drive of the environment at this time of year has acted through the human spirit as a spur to the creation of magical energy-raising activities to attune and fructify the land and all of creation. Summer is a joy and the birth of summer infinitely more so. As with all these natural festivals there is no exclusion to you from observance, whatever your religion or ethics. Be true and listen with your hearts- may summer be a joy.
Simple ways to celebrate the feast-days of the Celtic Year
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The Beltane Bash
The Ravens & The Rose.
The Sun, The Moon, The Stars.
Long Time Ago.
The Line Up