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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in Beltane Rituals

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Milk-White Pony: A May Game

Here's one of my favorite May-games: a kind of ritualized mock orgy. It's called “Milk-White Pony.”

(I got it from a local Wiccan priest who claims to have learned it at Boy Scout camp. To judge from the stories I've heard, I could well believe this.)

The dance takes place in a circle, with everyone singing and clapping. Here's the verse:

 

I saw N on his/her pony

riding on a milk-pony

I saw N on his/her pony

and this is what he/she told me

 

During the singing of the verse, N “rides” around the circle on an imaginary pony. At the end of the verse, the rider stops to face someone in the circle.

Then you sing the chorus:

 

Front, front, front

O baby

Back, back, back

O baby

Side, side, side

O baby

This is what he/she told me.

 

Both dancers thrust their pelvises at each other as they do this, front-to-front, back-to-back, or side-to-side as the lyrics call for.

Then N rejoins the circle, whoever he or she danced with hops into the middle, and the game continues.

No doubt the tune is out there somewhere—everything's on Youtube—but if so, I haven't been able to find it yet. I promise to keep looking. Meanwhile, consult your favorite ex-Scout.

Every coven should have one.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Bring Back the May Baskets!

Even if it’s not all spring sunshine where you are today, there’s no reason not to get in the lighthearted spirit of May Day and Beltane. I’ll never forget the first time I was gifted with a brightly colored, homemade May Day basket by a new neighbor in our development out in the country. All it had contained was a fun mixture of popcorn and jellybeans, but the fact that it had been crafted by hand, and dutifully delivered to each home in the neighborhood by a determined little girl warmed my heart. It got me thinking about the tradition, and how this simple act of kindness probably wasn’t practiced much anymore. I miss those more trusting times when we used to be able to trick-or-treat after dark in a rural setting and not worry, as well. If you are fortunate enough to be blessed with a nice neighbor, a cute cat, or anyone deserving of one of these old-fashioned treasures, then bring back the May baskets, I say.

MAY DAY BASKET FOR A NICE NEIGHBOR

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
An Accidental Pop Culture Beltane

While I had no plans to incorporate pop culture magick into my Beltane celebrations this year, the powers that be had other plans.  Apparently, when you get a group of Seattle Pagans together and ask them how to come up with a way to clear blocks to abundance and build foundations of prosperity what they come up with is magickal scrubbing bubbles and the nanobots from Big Hero Six.  How you ask?  Well, let me tell you.

For those of you who don’t know, I am part of a duo of facilitators that puts on public rituals in Seattle.  We call ourselves Illustris and do most of our rituals at Edge of the Circle Books near the University of Washington.  Instead of having a large team performing scripted rituals, we co-create our ritual with the participants just minutes before performing it.  This means we never really know what our rituals are going to look like until we’re in the middle of them.  It’s quite exciting and our attendees come up amazing things sometimes. 

For each ritual we establish a magickal purpose for the working to be designed.  This time around we had two: 1) working with the energies of Mercury retrograde to remove blocks to wealth and abundance (whatever that looked like for each participant), and 2) building a sturdy foundation to grow true prosperity.  My brain was totally fogged by allergy medicine, so I was utterly dependent on attendees coming up with good ideas because I had nothing.  I looked around the room and saw one of our regulars snort and say, “Well, the image that immediately comes to mind is a foaming toilet cleaner bomb.  It gets rid of anything.”  Immediately everyone in the room smiled and knew exactly what she was talking about.  Oh yes, we would clear energetic blocks with magickal scrubbing bubbles!  Whoever said commercials were useless?  They get stuck in our heads so well that they make shockingly good common imagery and vocabulary.  We decided we would collectively create an energy ball that we would essentially detonate in the middle of the group to foam away blocking energies.  It worked shockingly well.

For the second part of the ritual one of our new participants suggested using the energetic equivalent of the nanobots in Big Hero Six to build a foundation for prosperity.  I loved the idea and about half the room immediately nodded their heads in agreement.  The other half of the room went, “What’s Big Hero Six and what do the nanobots do in it?”  So, we spent a few minutes explaining the reference and got sidetracked talking about carbon nanotubes (it was awesome!).  Then a gal brought up the issue that she’d only seen nanobots portrayed negatively in sci-fi and asked for an example of nanobots doing something positive.  Thankfully she was a Doctor Who fan so all I had to say was, “just this once Rose Tyler, just this once everybody lives,” and we were good to go.  (If you have no idea what that means watch the episodes “The Empty Child” and “The Doctor Dances” from the 2005 run of Doctor Who - some of the best television ever made. This clip shows the scene:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jhklrve5xmw

The whole situation really highlighted one of the most common problems in doing group pop culture magick - common culture.  People of different demographics have different things in their pop culture baskets.  Hell, people of the exact same demographic are likely to have different things in their lexicons.  We all like different things and thus remember and attach importance to different bits and pieces of pop culture.  The more diverse a group of people is the less likely they are to have a lot of common pop culture (though there’s almost always something there - think blockbuster fandoms like Star Wars or Mad Max).  I don’t generally bring pop culture magick into big public rituals for just this reason, but this time it happened organically and I couldn’t have been more pleased with the results.  A little explanation to make sure we were all on the same page and we created the common imagery we need to make the magick work.

Through no intention of my own, I ended up having a Beltane ritual that was filled to the brim with pop culture magick.  The ubiquity of commercials gave us our first working and a combination of Disney and Doctor Who gave us our second working.  What a great time to be a pop culture practitioner!

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    Thank you for sharing. I got the scrubbing bubbles reference and I have both the Big Hero 6 DVD and the Manga so I got that refer
  • Emily Carlin
    Emily Carlin says #
    We did have a lot of fun Unfortunately, since our rituals are created on the spot there's no script to share. I would if I could

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
My 2 Weddings, Part 3: May Day with Loki

May Day 2014 was the first ritual I attended after Loki started skinriding me almost every day. Because he could be present in my body at any time, I have to be sure that every ritual I go to is a Loki-friendly one put on by Loki-welcoming people. If Loki isn't welcome in main ritual space, and he's in here with me, then I can't enter main ritual space.

It would not make any sense for me to put a lot of time and effort into getting to a ritual if I can't be sure I'll be able to participate in it. Luckily, there was a ritual I could attend right in my local area. 

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
SEXY MAY DAY PARTAY

The elements of sexy: a clean house, a clean you, light tasty finger food, and good drink. These four basics will engage your senses. Added extras would include some groovy tunes and fresh flowers, of course. You really cannot have too many good smells, sounds, and visuals today.

When cleaning, throw in about five drops of Bergamot essential oil in the mop water and/or for polish on wood. Bergamot is known for it's uplifting qualities, and also blends nicely with lavender. It is always a wise idea to take care of this the night before, so that you can wake to a clear and pleasant space – setting the tone for the day. Decorate your altar in vibrant reds, whites and florals as the last order of business before getting a good sleep. Don't forget to put some clean sheets on the bed (wink wink).

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

Thought I would share my article about how to dance a maypole and maypole magic. Happy Beltane to all Pagans in the Northern Hemisphere, and Blessed Samhain to those of you in the Southern Hemisphere!

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/betweentheshadows/2015/04/seekers-and-guides-maypole-magic/

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Beltane - Yesterday and Today

I'm looking forward to Beltane this year. It's one of the more fun public rituals that I participate in with my local Pagan Community and it's usually outside, which really sits well with my ritual sensibilities. I’ve celebrated Beltane for as long as I can remember, although I didn’t always know it by that name growing up. I have extremely fond childhood memories of May Day celebrations in south east London and Kent. Most of the celebrations were at my school (St. Mary Magdalene C of E) and on the church grounds themselves right on the banks of the River Thames.

Beltane celebrations happening on Church grounds weren’t particularly unique experiences. I went to lots of different May Day events at churches.  There was often a church fete with scones and knitted things and lots of elderly ladies that all sounded just like every Monty Python Character you can conjure up. What was special about these gatherings is that it felt like we were all engaging with something that was "always just done".  I even have pictures of my grandmother as a young girl in the 1930s dressed as the May Queen.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Gwion Raven
    Gwion Raven says #
    You know Annika, I think some of the very best rituals involve nothing more than gathering with beloveds around a fire, or for a p
  • Annika Mongan
    Annika Mongan says #
    I've always celebrated Beltane growing up in a Germany - well, mostly because it's my birthday - but we didn't have maypoles. Ever

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