A ritual for Beltane (for the junior high youth group of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Minnetonka...truly a magical place)

Beltane takes place on April 30th. In the agricultural cycle, this marks the point between the worries of planting and the beginnings of the harvest. In short, it is a time to celebrate; to enjoy the bounty of the earth and leave worries for another day. It is also a celebration of fertility, and as such, there is a strong sexual element to many Beltane rites. I've chosen not to focus on this aspect here, but rather on fertility and the renewal of life. I've also included some simple candle magic to symbolically tie in the notion of reincarnation.

Supplies: One candle for each of the quarters, a red taper for the candle ritual, and one small slip of paper for each of the participants, fortune cookie-sized, or thereabout. You'll also need a small cauldron, or something suitably fireproof.

Blessing: According to group custom

Casting the circle:

All should stand, facing each direction in turn.

Covener: (I'm a great fan of passing these around, but one person can certainly do them if you'd rather.) As each is read, the candle for the corresponding quarter may be lit.

Candles for God and Goddess may now be lit as each is invoked



Beltane is a time of creation, and rebirth. It is a fine time to get rid of baggage that you know is unhealthy in your life. That is the point of the candle ritual. Each person present is given a small slip of paper, and something to write with. What goes on the slip is whatever you know you can (and should) do without. Use one thing if there's an obvious one. Write a couple if you can't decide.

The celebrant should then proceed around the circle (counter-clockwise is best). Each person should light her or his paper in the flame of a red candle while saying, "That was then. This is now." Drop the lit slips into the cauldron to burn out. Each person should imagine life beginning anew from that moment, without the undesired aspects. Picture them evaporating, and picture yourself stronger without them.



The Simple Feast: Whatever you're used to. Eat, drink, be merry.

Enjoy your time together. This too is sacred. When you're ready, the opening of the circle can proceed according to custom.