Hail the Queen of the May

May 5, 2016
I did my Bealtinne rite on Saturday morning, April 30th, since I was expecting guests at noon and knew I’d be too busy through the rest of the weekend to dedicate the proper energy to it. I used the Simple Rite I practiced with for a month after the disaster that was my Ostara ritual - which I did mean to write up, and I’m sorry, I’ll get to that eventually - with prayers and invocations taken from the single Irish Beltainne rite on the ADF website. (I really thought there’d be more.) I looked at using the Crane Breviary rite again, but it was a little too proto-Celtic for my tastes.

And this was the first time in a long time I’d done a really Irish-Celtic rite, and that was amazing. I’d forgotten a little, I suppose, that I got into doing ADF and the Dedicant Path in order to deepen the practice I’d already had, not to turn my practice Proto-Indo-European. Generic rites are well and good, but speaking to the gods and spirits I already knew was wonderful.

I tend to visualize the space beyond the open Gate as a stone circle - I know they’re pre-Celtic, but I also know they were considered magical places by the Celtic peoples, and I’d be surprised if they were never used as ritual sites. This time, at the center of the circle stood a tree in flower. I genuinely don’t know if they had dogwood in ancient Ireland, but that was the tree at the back of my grandmother’s porch that always said spring to me when it flowered.

The rite invokes Aine and Aengus Og as Queen and Consort of the Sidhe, something I’ve never tried before but which seems obvious now that I’ve done it. Bealtinne is the transition from winter into summer, after all, and transitions in particular belong to the Sidhe. The rite I was adapting also included the Bealtinne Fires, but I just couldn’t find a way to do that in a solitary rite without feeling silly, so I skipped it. I did decorate my Tree as a maypole, though - great fun, and a fitting offering to the Sidhe.

I used oil with lavender blossoms steeped in it for the offerings to the Gods, and that was where modern technology and apartment living went all wrong. I’ve been using incense charcoal and candles together for the Fire - using incense offerings most of the time, but oil every once in a while. I’d made the first offering and scraped off the charcoal to keep it burning for the rest of the rite, and the smoke that created set off my fire alarm. And of course my building has hardwired fire alarms, so I had to stop, turn on the fans and open the windows wide, and run down the hall to turn off the alarm before it set the whole building going. I swear I could feel Aengus Og laughing over my shoulder the whole time. So at least he didn’t mind his offering being delayed? It shook my focus a little bit, of course, but once I got the alarm turned off I was able to drop back into the rite without any trouble at all.

The omens I drew were all wands, perfect for a holiday of growth and energy - the Ten of Wands, for hard work almost done; the Two of Wands Reversed, for difficulty starting something; and the Queen of Wands, who could be no one but Aine, beautiful, powerful, sexual, passionate, energetic, and bountiful. One piece of work finishing, another one starting (even if the start might be a little rough), and the blessings of the Queen of May herself. It was a profoundly satisfying rite, heartening and fulfilling, and I’m excited for the summer months to come.

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