Solitary Beltane Rite

“The Tree” is the basic liturgical and organizational writing and the basis for Seax-Wica, but it is a ‘base’. It provides the rituals as if being practiced by a coven, but nowadays most Wiccans, especially those of the Seax-Wica tradition, are solitary practitioners (they work alone). The following information on the Sabbat is adapted from “The Tree” and is only one way that a solitary can use these rituals in their own practice. For more details on how to adapt coven rituals, check out Raymond Buckland’s “Buckland’s Complete Book of Witchcraft”, in particular the section on Solitary Practice. It seems especially fitting that his advice be followed when working with his rituals (as was done here). I’ve replaced all instances of Priest and Priestess with ‘Gesith’, which is what one is referred to after being initiated into or self-dedicating as a Seax-Wican.

Beltane, or May Eve, is a celebration of fertility and life. In Seax-Wica, this is the day where the goddess Freya takes the lead over the ‘light’ half of the year. Although Woden is always at her side, she now leads us into a time of abundance and joy. In other traditions, this is the time of year when the Lady becomes pregnant by the Lord and begins carrying the new incarnation of the God, and like Samhain, this is a time when the veil between worlds is said to be thinner.

The Sabbat

There should be spring flowers spread about the Circle and on the Altar. If this rite is outdoors, a bonfire may be at the center of the circle, or a small cauldron upon the alter.

Gesith:

“With this night do I see
The ending of the Dark Time.
My Lord Woden has passed through
To bring us once more to the light,
And to our Lady Freya.
Woden! My thanks and my love to thee!”

Gesith lights the bonfire, then continues:

“Now I light the Beltane fire!
To revitalize our Lord
After his long journey.
Welcome Woden!
Welcome Life!
The Year is a might wheel
And the Sabbats are its spokes;
Ahead now lies the Sun –
Lord Woden still shining down –
Whilst my Lady has begun
To spread her Springtime gown.
With bud and twig and leaf and tree,
I welcome Freya so merrily.
Welcome indeed to my Lady fair.
Welcome, thrice welcome, I fill the air.
With our love and devotion for Freya!
As my Lord Woden steps back
So does my Lady Freya move forward,
To guard us and guide me
Through the Summer time.
The word is ‘Love’ and happily do I say it;
The word is ‘Love’ and merrily do I make it;
The word is ‘Love’ and fully do I feel it;
For I am Love.”

Then shall follow the Ceremony of Cakes and Ale, followed by games and merriment.

What is the meaning of Beltane?

At the opposite end of Samhain, which celebrates death and the ancestors, Beltane is ceremony to honor and ‘ring in’ new life. It’s a celebration of the fertility of crops, livestock, and humanity, and many Pagans and Wiccans celebrate this day with fertility rites of their own. Couples (and individuals!) make love and explore their sexuality and passions.

Symbols of Beltane

Green, red, and white are some traditional colors for Beltane, and some common symbols include bonfires (or any fire), flowers (especially turned into garlands), and the maypole. This is a time of new life, and so the story of Balder (Baldaeg) returning along with others after Ragnarök is a good one to tell.

Food & Herbs of Beltane

Some excellent foods for Beltane include bread, dairy, oatmeal, strawberries, and wine. Useful herbs are clover, hawthorn, honeysuckle, mint, and rose. For the most part, this is still a time for living off the previous year’s crops, as the new crops are just beginning to show growth.

What else can you do on Beltane?

Some popular things for Beltane include making a bonfire and dancing around it, making crowns out of flowers, or setting up a maypole. This is also a time to enjoy the physical pleasures of life, and many think this great time to work towards the goals you set at the Spring Sabbat (Ostara/Eostre). Many people consider this a wonderful time of the year for a Handfasting (a Wiccan wedding)!

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