An unanticipated cycle of devotion

I wrote a bit not so long ago about my devotions.  Today I’ve realised I have a cycle of devotional and religious practice that I didn’t plan but has just fallen into place.

The flame keeping I am now doing with Clann Bhride means I am now spending a period of time devoted to Brigantia every 20 days but the cill tends as a group on the fire festivals so I began flame tending at sunset on 30th May.  After 24 hours which included a fair amount of contemplation as well as other more mundane and devotional activities I completed that shift at sunset on May 1st.  This evening, May 2nd, I have lit three tea lights and made my lunar cycle devotional offerings to Brigantia.  Tomorrow I will be joining Tuatha de Bridget for the Beltane Ritual during the afternoon and in the evening I will light a candle and make my lunar devotions to Epona Rigantona. As it’s a Sunday I will also be making my weekly devotions to Maponos.

The full moon is at 03.42 GMT 4th May so at some stage on Monday 4th Neil and I will be doing the Druid Network international full moon peace intention ritual.  And that evening I will be making my lunar cycle devotions to the one I know as Cailleach.

My usual flame keeping shift happens to fall on Tuesday 5th May so I will be finishing this cycle of devotional and religious activity as I began it with a flame tending shift.

So in the space of a few days I will be engaging in devotions with all the deities I have developed relationships with as well as engaging in a Beltane ritual and a peace intention ritual.

This is an unusually intense period of devotions for me and it will be interesting to see what else comes of all this activity.

Is it Beltane?

Has summer come?

The sky today is blue yet the air is chill.

Is Beltane here?

Thousands celebrate yet I see no sign of the hawthorn blossom.

Have God and Goddess come together in love?

Which God? Which Goddess? Is love only about sex at this time or is it still more? And why not God joined to God or Goddess to Goddess or triads or groups?

Last month I bared my skin on the hills under a warm spring sun, felt the gentle breeze caress me. I felt connected to the loch before me, the land under me, the sky above me. I felt the energy of life thrumming through it all. I felt joined and totally free.

Today I feel confused, disconnected and thrown back into winter. There is snow in the hills, the land is cold and damp, the breeze cool, the sun bright but not yet feeling warm. I look for the marker of the hawthorn blossom and there is none to be found.

Many are the Beltane greetings I have seen today. But Beltane still eludes me.

Beltane

Beltane for me is marked by the first blossoms of hawthorn opening around Glasgow.  It’s a time when Rigantona has returned to the Land and taken back the cup of sovereignty from the Cailleach.  A time when the Cailleach rests and restores Herself.  To me it is also a time to remember our descendants just as Samhain is a time to remember our ancestors.

It’s also a time when the Land begins to look lush and green, when the last trees begin to come into leaf and shades of green cover the land once more.  Sometimes it’s also a time of warmth but at least if not warmth there is more daylight here in Scotland.

On the evening of Saturday 5th May I shared in a triple toast for Rigantona, Her return to the Land and the tribe that honours Her.  On Sunday 6th May I celebrated Beltane in Pollok Park with others from Glasgow and the surrounding area.

This was a special ritual for me for several reasons.  One is that it was written and led by one of the regular members of the group and it was the first time she had taken this responsibility on.  She’s come a long way since she first started with us and she did a great job.  Secondly it was the first Beltane ritual in Glasgow for Neil and I together and marks a half cycle since Neil moved to Glasgow and first joined with the group in Pollok Park.  Thirdly Neil and I were asked to be the Greenman and May Queen and it was an honour to be asked to to this and a first for both of us.

It was a lovely day, perhaps a little on the cool side but not much.  The skies did cloud over and drop a few spots on us but nothing significant until the ritual was over and we were all walking back through the woods to either head home or to the cafe at the Burrell Collection for a warm drink and a chat.  The ritual went well and had a lovely energy to it.

I had made ivy circlets for both Neil and myself.  The ivy came from a plant my mum has growing at her flat.  In mine I wove in three sprigs of flowering hawthorn and two heads of lilac flowers.  The lilac and hawthorn came from a part of the river Kelvin that I have walked beside for many years.  The hawthorn in particular came from a tree that has been a special friend of mine for many years and one I have performed solo Beltane rituals beside in the past.  And I twisted both circlets together at Neil’s flat.  I wore other things that had come from the house I live in (which I hope will soon be fully mine) so in what I was wearing I had woven together strands from around Glasgow.

After the ritual the circlets were left in the woods as an offering.  I had not used anything other than the plants themselves to make them and it felt appropriate to leave them behind when we left.

I am hoping that this Beltane will bring some more positive changes into my life.

May Queen and Greenman, Beltane at Pollok Park, Glasgow 2012

An old friend

Yesterday evening I decided that today I would go for a walk at lunchtime by the River Kelvin and see if there was any hawthorn blossom out on the trees along the river that have been seasonal markers for me for many years.  This morning I spotted some on the way into work so thought it was likely that I’d see more today and I have.  There are still not many blossoms out but there are a few on an old friend of mine by the river.
Beltane has reached Glasgow’s West End at last, it won’t be long before it reaches the area where I live now but it’s not there yet.

Beltane Blessings

Over the last week I have been watching the hawthorns, looking for the first blossoms. I spotted the first ones a little earlier in the week but now there are more beginning to come out. Yesterday evening the sky cleared as dusk fell and I felt that the dance of the seasons had changed it’s rhythm once more. It was time for me to bid the Cailleach a peaceful summer’s rest and to greet the strengthening lord of the summer, Belenos.

So out I went into the garden late last night and offered my libations to the gods of my tribe, to the changing seasons and to my descendants both tangible and intangible. The links of this season to fertility and growth are well known but the results of fertility in our species are our descendants. At Samahin we honour our ancestors and our past, to me Beltane is becoming the time to honour our descendants and to consider the future.

I am blessed with two lovely children, a son and a daughter. My son is growing tall and strong and showing signs of becoming a caring and loving young man with a keen mind. I am very proud of him. My little daughter in this last week has taken a leap in her language skills and each day now brings new words. She is a little sweetheart and it’s not just me that says so. The word for this morning from my little sweetheart is “go”…

May this time of change bring you blessings of warmth, joy, family and friends.