My First Beltane (part 1)

My heart is beating like a rabbit’s with excitement and nervousness.  This is the first year mother is allowing me to participate in the Beltane Eve, or May Eve, ceremonies.  Being 18, mother only allowed me to go to the Beltane, or May Day, events in the past.  This year is going to be different.  She is even going to let me go “A-Maying”.  I was so giddy with excitement that I nearly messed up the thick lines I am painting onto my eye lids to attract the attention of the young males who would be A-Maying in the forest with us.  My older friends had told me many stories of the bonfires and the A-Maying in the forest so I knew what to expect.  I was in for one wild night.

As the sun set and the full moon hung in the sky, I strip down until I was nude and walk out the door to the nearby field where the bonfire was being held.   As I walk, my friends join me, flanking both sides of me with their beautiful naked bodies and long hair of many colors, our voices giggling with anticipation.  From a distance we could see the bonfire being lit and we hurried our pace, not wanting to miss the start of the fire dance.

Smells of burning woods of all kinds drifted through the mid spring evening air.  The heat of the fire blazed my skin as we got into a circle to start the dance.  Several were circled around the massive blazing bonfire, their sweating bodies shimmering in the flickering light, their faces cast in partial moving shadows.

Somewhere outside the circle a lone drum starts a slow and steady beat.  In response, our feet start to move in and out in time to the beat.  Soon other drums join in, faster now, and we all clasp hands and circle around the bonfire our feet crossing in front of us and our hips turning.  Codi and Blaire had made sure I knew the steps and their teachings were paying off as we raise our voices to honor the Mother Goddess and the Horned God.

On the full moon in May

As One the Lord and the Lady

Tonight’s the Eve of Hold Beltane

As One the Lord and Lady

 

Beltane night full moon bright

Sacred visions bless our sight

Lord and Lady merge as One

As One the Lord and the Lady

                The drums beat faster and the circle collapses its hands as we continue to sing to the sky, our voices merging as one.

As the lovers sweetly entwine

Filled together with bliss divine

Joined together in heart and mind

As One the Lord and the Lady

 

Great Mother gives birth to all things

As One the Lord and the Lady

Belling all with the bounty She brings

As One the Lord and the Lady

                When the song finishes and everyone circles around the still blazing fire three times, other instruments join in and the circle breaks into a frenzy of dancing and swaying hips.  The tone of the music changes to something more festive than ceremony like.  The flutes and strings play fluid sweeping melodies that have a fast tempo to them, while the drums slow down a bit to give the other instruments a chance to shine.  Then as quickly as the music changed after the circling it changes again.  The tempo picks up and the strings take over with fast crisp notes that long fluid flute notes arch over.  Drums play loudly, beating their quick rhythms into the earth, shouts of glee coming from everyone around.  The girl’s curvy bodies twirl gracefully, their long assorted hair billowing out in a fan pattern.  Boys start to approach the girls one by one smoothing their hands over the defined curves.  Many, of all sizes and shapes, come over to dance with me in the dying bonfire light.  As the light of the fire dims the music slows its pace and ceases when it dies down to embers.

With the fire dance now complete, the A-Maying could begin; the slow music our cue to make for the trees.  All those who did the fire dance now race into the woods, their naked bodies glowing pale beneath the full moon.  I too run with the group, eventually straying from the pack to find someone suitable for this night’s event.

The ground beneath my bare feet is soft and uneven, as I pad my way down a trail I often take for my morning strolls.  Crickets chirp, hidden in the shadows, and frogs croak occasionally from distant bodies of water as I walk alone on this mid spring night.  It was unusually warm for Beltane; cool, but not unbearably cold.  Goosebumps covered my arms and legs; missing the heat of the bonfire already.  I hug myself tight and continue on with my search for a partner to join me on this beautiful Beltane night.

4 thoughts on “My First Beltane (part 1)

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