Beltaine Rite

Let two large ritual fires and one small fire be constructed by nine persons carrying nine sacred woods or let the fires be of oak. The fires shall be sacred fires, lit by the sun passing through a crystal, or kindled by a “thunderstone” (flint), or by a fire drill (using powdered mistletoe as tinder) or from “wild fire” caught from a lightening strike.

Let the fires be of nine sacred woods or all of oak.

The nine sacred woods shall be;

  • Oak, the tree of the High Gods.
  • Willow, a tree sacred to poets.
  • Hazel, the tree of Wisdom.
  • Alder, the tree of protection.
  • Birch, the tree of new beginings.
  • Ash, the tree that spans the three worlds.
  • Yew, the tree of immortality.
  • Elm the favorite of the Elves.
  • Rowan, guardian of the home and cattle.
  • Apple, the tree of love, favorite of the deer.
  • Pine, the tree of peace.

Let the first sacred fire be kindled in the small pyre on the perimeter in preparation for the rite.

Let the tuath rise before dawn to watch the lighting of the fires. The two large fires shall be consecrated to Belenos and to Belisama, deities of the Sun. Let a Druid bring fire from the small pyre to the flame of Belenos. Let a Druidess bring fire from the small pyre to the flame of Belisama. Let the tuath chant the names of these Gods while the Druids pour oil, ghee or butter on the flames.

The Druid and Druidess shall intone these words;

“Hail summer, season of light and of life. Blessed are those who stand here today, witness to the ancient rite. To everyone who passes between the flames, whether human or beast, may health and prosperity come!

May the fires bring us fields of ripe corn and fruit in abundance. May the fires bring us streams of white milk, freedom from conquest, fair justice and righteous law, comfort and abundance in every home.

May the fires bring us rivers of fish, forests filled with strong woods, great abundance of clean water, ornaments of silver and gold, rich soil, sheep with fine fleece, fat pigs and healthy cattle. May every disease and unhappiness be purged from those who walk here, in the name of Belenos and Belisama!”

Then shall the tuath walk between the two fires. Let those who are too young or too weak be carried, even the aged and the infirm. Then shall the animals be led through the flames as a blessing on them.

Then shall music be played and let there be dancing around the fires. Let torches lit from the sacred flames be carried around the perimeters of the land to bless it. Let torches lit from the sacred flames be carried around the fields to bless them.

When the fires have burned lower let the young of the tuath leap the flames, for it is the height of their leaping that will ensure the height of the corn. And later let those who are able leap across the coals.

Let the day be spent in feasting and merry making and let everyone who wishes it carry an ember home to re-kindle their hearths and altars and bless their gardens and fields.

Copyright 1999, Ellen Evert Hopman