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Beltane..because I am weary of the other

The clergy team came together last weekend and plotted the Beltane ritual for Mother Grove Goddess Temple. We'll be in a new park this year--ah, new to us: it's a seasoned public park.

I've been pondering and writing about the Recent Awfulness with Klein and the Frosts over at my personal blog and I can't really manage to dredge up anything else about that that hasn't been said by a hundred other people who have far more Important and Serious things to say about it than I.

So I am turning my thoughts to Earth Day and to Beltane.

I will be speaking at the University of Southern Mississippi on The Day itself and Mother Grove will have a public ritual for Earth Day as we have done for several years now.  As some of you may know, I could never quite figure out why I was so meh about Earth Day until I realized that I wanted a ritual on that day, instead of a 5K or a beerfest. Mother Grove's is in the able hands of Rev. Sabra and it will be a maze of light and dance and prayer and song.

I love Beltane. I often say that it is always Beltane in my heart. Which is not quite true because it is also often Samhain in my heart these days, as we lurch through this Grand Cross thingy and this Tower Time.

But I relish the history of Beltane and the trappings and the way it was so stealthy going from a lusty Pagan rite to the perfectly lovely May Day of the Victorians.  All pretty dresses and flower crowns.  And now we try to manage a bit of both, as we can.

When my daughter was in elementary school, many of the teachers would put up a maypole in the school yard and celebrate the May.  I came into several classes each year and taught them about the transition from Beltane to May Day. We'd have little cakes and sing songs.  We'd go outside and wash our faces in the morning dew and then dance the circle round. It was always a bit of a challenge to get us going in the right direction but we got pretty good at it after all those years.

Beltane is almost here and it is time to think of maying, going a-maying. The apple trees on our land are in full blossom right now and that puts me in mind of hawthorn blossom.

Sorry, reverie.

If you have littles, you can teach them the bright activity of making May baskets out of cornets of paper with a pretty ribbon handles. Fill them with flowers from the yard and take them to your good neighbors or to your Gran. Come home to wash your face in that fresh dew to guarantee your perpetual good looks.  Eat fruits for breakfast--strawberries and razzleberries and blueberries with cream.

Dress for the day in something light and summery.

Wear a flower crown, even if you are going to work.

Wear glitter, and ditto.

Give flowers to people you don't know.

Find time to dance the Great Ring with a few or with many. With or without a maypole.

Whistle a tune.

Remember Thomas Morton and the utopia of Merrymount.

In the evening, if you are old enough, have a cold glass of Maywine and toast the new life of the season and the old life you are living. 

Sleep near a faery mound that night.

Give yourself over to the greening of the year and the brightening of the light. For the holy day after Beltane is Midsummer and after that...the Long Dying of the Year commences. Again. And we begin to wind down the path that leads inevitably to Samhain.

So soon it comes. And Spring is tardy in making Her appearance this year.

We fight against the destruction and dishonesty by embracing the living Earth that we've been given. Let Beltane this year bring you home to the comfort and joy of that.

And, as always, fear not. Fear not. 



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H. Byron Ballard is a ritualist, teacher, speaker and writer. She has taught at Sacred Space Conference, Pagan Unity Festival, Southeast Her essays are featured in several anthologies, including “Birthed from Scorched Hearts“ (Fulcrum Press), “Christmas Presence“ (Catawba Press), “Women’s Voices in Magic” (Megalithica Books), “Into the Great Below” and “Skalded Apples” (both from Asphodel Press.) Her book Staubs and Ditchwater: an Introduction to Hillfolks Hoodoo (Silver Rings Press) debuted in June 2012. Byron is currently at work on Earth Works: Eight Ceremonies for a Changing Planet. Contact her at,


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