Beltane

Last Sunday the Grove of the Summer Stars celebrated Beltane, or what the Maori call Whiringanuku. To the Maori it is the 5th month, when ka whakaniho nga mea katoa o te whenua i konei (‘all things now put forth fresh growth’) and a good flowering of ti kouka (cabbage tree) is said to be a sign that a long, fine summer will follow.

We started our Beltane celebration by starting a fire. Beltane is a celebration of Bel the god of light and fire, and we used this fire to cleanse us of things we no longer want in our lives and to bring a spark of beginning to our future endeavours.

For our ritual we built twin fires. During our ritual we spoke this poemeach saying a line each.

Light of the sun warms the earth,
Quickening the pulse of the land.
The sleeping giant rises,
To answer the call of the king
And I saw the Kowhai with its myriad yellow lights
And many plants
I saw leaves of kaka beak tree as they want to sprout
I saw branches equally laden with flowers;
I saw the attributes of a most generous king
And I saw the lady Papatuanuku smile as she passed by

Mine are the riches of the land of Aotearoa
Mine are the bounty,
Mine are the kindliness,
Mine the cloth,
And mine the victuals.

Lost in creation they are undisturbed by my presence,
for I am from them.

Skyfather Earthmother
the old people were right.
For I see the union
of sun and earth
and hear their songs of fertility
pregnant with life.

Adapted from two Taliesen poems and from Apirana Taylor – Thoughts on the Road, Eyes of the Ruru

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At the end of our ritual we danced around the Beltane fires on our way out of the circle. A couple of years our beautiful Storyteller, Moria, wrote this song for us to sing as we dance:

Dance to the Beltane Fire,
Dance to the Beltane Fire,
In, out, turn about,
Dance to the Beltane Fire,
Earth and Air, Fire and Water,
We are Papatuanuku’s
Sons and Daughters,
Dance to the Beltane Fire.

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After we had a feast we shared stories and poems. Les read the following poem by someone called Brook, that he found on Hello Poetry.

Beltane

Day breaks over a sleepy village
Morning absolutions completed
An excited buzz is in the air
Everyone is a buzz with cleaning
Hundreds gather wild flowers in the fertile fields
Many were in charge of raising the fires
Soon the whole town had bright blooms weaved from one end to the next
The horizon alight with smoke and power
Goddess and God rights invoked within circles round
Pulsating, rhythmic energy racing through each dancing body
Gyrating to the cosmic beat of life
Couples jump merrily together over cauldrons ablaze
High hopes rise and give way for dreams of children
Lovers round and round they twine
Maypole ribbons rainbow hued passing through hand to hand
As dusk falls the Queen is crowned
Mead flows freely through the jubilant worshippers
The moon hangs round with fullness above their heads
Lighting the way for love into the night

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Pamela shared this addition to the song from The Wicker Man that she wrote.

The rendition sung in the climax of the 1973 British film The Wicker Man is a mixed translation by Peter Shaffer:

Sumer is Icumen in,
Loudly sing, cuckoo!
Grows the seed and blows the mead,
And springs the wood anew;
Sing, cuckoo!
Ewe bleats harshly after lamb,
Cows after calves make moo;
Bullock stamps and deer champs,
Now shrilly sing, cuckoo!
Cuckoo, cuckoo
Wild bird are you;
Be never still, cuckoo!

 Summer is a’coming in
Find the tonic, grab the gin
Sing, o keruru!
Plant the seed and sip the mead
Less in haste and more in speed.
Sing, o keruru!

Lambswool beats the pallid cider
Milky vodka’s in the larder
Light the lamps and pour the champs
Now crilly king sheroo

Shekoo, kreshroo
Bild wird are ewe
Me too!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Our Angela shared this poem she had written that morning.

Beltane Fire…..

My great passion
leapt
as a sudden spring eddy
swept up the dry old leaves
of unrealised dreams
and flung them to the fire.
The sound of the wind
briefly but beautifully amplified
as the flames consummated
the sacrifice.
Tears of release
sizzled and spat
as they danced wildly
with the rings and spirals
of the Tree of Life
now split asunder
in a final glorious blaze
of colour and heat.
I surrender to this moment
full of love and empty of fear
delighting in the eternal process
of one season
transforming
into another.

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Beltane this year was very inspiring and I am looking forward to seeing what develops from the sparks of inspiration that we all got.

– Mary

 

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