Friday, May 02, 2008

Happy Beltane!

I hope everyone had a wonderful sabbat (and happy Samhain to my Southern Hemisphere friends!). I must admit that I thoroughly did not. I received a call from my grandmother at 0200, who was in a panic and bleeding. The family mobilized, summoned an ambulance, and took her to the hospital where we waited. After about four hours, my father and I were sent home to rest with the plan of coming back later so my mother and uncle could then get some rest. The source of the problem, we all believed, was an estrogen supplement that must be administered vaginally. Why a nearly ninety year old woman needs estrogen, and why her doctor would prescribe that kind, is beyond me. She was sent home and is mostly better, though the only good the hospital really did was to give her a much-needed IV and tell her to see the prescribing doctor as soon as possible. Needless to say, spending mornings in the ER waiting room is not the most spiritually conducive environment.

All is not lost! Beltane is one of the most widely celebrated of sabbats, second to Samhain. It is the other day when the veil between the world of the living and the world of the dead is most thin, and therefore a great time for communing with the faeries and for divination. As seems to be traditional in this day and age, since the holiday fell on a weekday, many people plan to do their major celebrating on the weekend. This plan ends up working out quite well for me, since a May Day ritual just wasn't going to happen on my own.

I will be attending a festival called Fertile Ground that is put on by a fairly local pagan fellowship. There are a few things they're doing that I don't exactly agree with (like encouraging the wearing of Renaissance festival-type clothing. I understand why they are doing this, and it's not required, but I don't prefer it. I shall have to go into detail about this at another time) but I know it will prove to be a fabulous weekend. There will be an opening ritual, a main ritual and maypole, and a nighttime drum circle on Saturday, a closing ritual on Sunday, and a decent amount of workshops, activities, and entertainment. I will be presenting an introduction to tarot workshop that I am rather excited about. My only regret here is that they gave me a time slot opposite another workshop I wanted to take.

In anticipation of my weekend, and because my Beltane day was so stressful, I did take a small bit of time to gather some of the things I will need. I have a set of Morris dancing bells that I often use in ritual. Unfortunately my first set of bells has gone missing (probably somewhere in my packing frenzy) and I needed to make some new ones. I stopped by the craft store and bought a pack of bells and some leather cord. Using scraps of leather that I had on hand, I strung my bells onto a strip of leather as a wide bracelet or anklet. I tied six silver bells (six has numerological significance to me) to a strip of grey leather with cords in spring colors of teal and rose. I was able to finish one last night, and I'll complete the other this evening. I actually like them better than my original bells, as they were made with a kit I purchased in a craft store and these are entirely my design.

I won't actually be performing a Morris dance; these bells are mostly for ritual use. It is said that we ring bells to keep the faeries away, as the fae are quite mischievous and we don't want them causing trouble as they wander about. Beltane is known as one of the major fertility festivals, but it is also one where the country dwellers would take time away from planting their fields simply to celebrate life and acts that create it. Whether you celebrated last night or are waiting for some more free time with the weekend, I hope you had a wondrous one.

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