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.
Spirits of the south, spirits of fire
Inspire us to seek out our own rebirth
Warm our blood, excite us to action
Help us to experience the passion of living
As we invite you here to remind us of your place in our lives
Spirits of the west, spirits of water
Guide our roots to the source of life
Nurture our compassion, bathe our wounds
Help us to heal the world by our love
As we ask you here to share in the healing of our hearts
Spirits of the north, spirits of earth
Keep us safe in the arms of our Mother
Be firm in our youth, and gentle in our aging
Help us to find the wisdom in nature
As we welcome you here to guide our steps on the path of the wise
Candles for God and Goddess may now be lit as each is invoked
God of the summer sun
With you we feel the light within us
As the world once more explodes with life
We thank you for your passion
For the glory of the lengthening day
Come into our circle, as we celebrate you
And greet you in all that lives.
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.