We had a fantastic sunny day for Beltane. It was a little chilly with the wind but that didnt stop us from dancing out Maypole!
Take a look, enjoy and I hope you had as lovely a day as we did.
Fertility and sexuality are natural parts of life. There are few times in the druid calendar that would traditionally better suited to celebrate one’s sexuality than Beltane. Once upon a time, this might be celebrated with couples enjoying a good dance around the May Pole and even a bit of coupling in the Forests. But as natural as this is, it is not for everyone, particularly those with young children who are not yet ready for the complex topic of human sexuality in its many facets.
Don’t worry momma, you can still go a-May-ing during naps…;)
Beltane offers us many types of fertility to celebrate. Notably is the return of all things green and beautiful after the long cold winter. Let’s look at a few “ family friendly” ways to celebrate this turn of the wheel.
1. Making flower baskets or crowns to wear and share. This is a fantastic opportunity to teach your children about respecting and appreciating nature. It is also a fantastic crafting session where they will learn to work with their hands and build something beautiful. They can either keep their creation or share it to brighten someone’s day.
2. As always, and for all Druid celebrations I would encourage you to get outside. Have a nice walk and maybe bring a journal to jot down or draw all of the new life you see emerging around you. Take turns identifying the flowers and trees. This is another great learning opportunity for all.
3. Beltane tea party is a great opportunity for children to celebrate. Your children may not be ready to view prolific drinking or blatant adult content but there is no reason they can’t join in to celebration.. Why not host a beautiful Beltane Tea? Use bright colours and fresh flowers to decorate your table and enjoy a little bit of nature inside or out with some sweets and tea. Don’t forget to share with the faerie folk, they love treats.
4. If your children are a bit older and you are comfortable having them around fire why not stoke a Bale Fire. You can discuss the turning of the wheel while making s’mores and enjoying the fresh night air. (Just be sure to check burning restrictions in your area)
5. Beltane is a wonderful time to set out goals. Have your family write down and place their goals in a box and kept secret until the next year when you can revisit those goals and celebrate or reestablish your plan. Encourage anyone who wants to discuss to share and be supportive of their desires to grow like the new spring flowers. Your family is your greatest asset and can be an amazing source of support if you all practice.
These are just a few idea, but there are many more things you can do with your family.
Don’t be afraid to discuss sexuality once you feel the time is right. There are many resources online and in books to help with this difficult topic ones you and your child are ready.
Best of luck to you all and Blessed Beltane
My time as the Senior Druid of our grove is coming to an end. On Samhain, I will be stepping down and passing the torch back to Marc Meadows.
Over the past two years, I feel I was able to accomplish a lot of my wish list, but at the same time I feel I didn’t have quite enough time to finish. The plan, of course, will be to continue working on these aspirations, but I thought I might make a list of all that has come to fruition…
I have always felt that we needed a physical manifestation of what our grove represented –something that we can change and mold as we continue developing our paths. This would not be any sort of Bible or absolute law of what we believe, but would be a representation of who and what we are and where we came from, as well as a learning tool for our families. At this time, we have drawn up a lot in the sense of content and what we want to add to the book, but making it physical has not yet come to fruition.
Now, this doesn’t mean the project has been a failure. We have commissioned local artists for work and have streamlined a lot of our rituals into one standard look. The content of the book has very much come along and so far it looks amazing!
This has been more of a 50/50 project.
One of our stronger rules is “No Proselytizing”. We never push our beliefs or ideals on others and we hope to never make others uncomfortable with their own beliefs. Everyone is entitled to believe what they wish, and we strive to welcome and support all individuals who decide our path may be for them. In the last two years, we have attracted one new member and accepted a past member back into our grove, while at the same time saying “goodbye” to two members. The reasons of those two members for leaving are their own, and both left knowing they will always be welcome back.
As a leader, people leaving the grove is a little hard to swallow. Could I have done more to make them feel included? Did something happen that made them feel uncomfortable? What could I have changed that might have made them change their minds? In the end, as I’ve said, leaving was their choice and both assured me the decisions were for personal reasons unrelated to the Grove or it’s members.
I did my best.
This one I can say had little to do with our own shortcomings and more to do with government bureaucracy. I, personally, would like to see our Grove do more with the land, be it environmental activism or even participation. So far, we have attempted two highway clean-ups, but both times the government offices involved with these projects had mishaps with our paper work preventing us from legally cleaning up the highway. These experiences were pretty frustrating on our side, but we are making plans to try again this year.
One of the larger project I want to see us accomplish over the coming years will be for us as a Grove to purchase land. This land, I hope to see used by all the members of the Pagan community. I’d love to see it be a place of pagan worship for all paths. So, this year, we finally took some steps to get this project started, and we have some exciting fundraising efforts set to take place over the next while. This was never a project I expected to completely in my tenure as Senior Druid, but I am happy to see it started and hopefully it will keep momentum.
A difficult thing for most pagan paths is community outreach. I view this as a two part process:
We made a fantastic connection with the Nova Scotia Health Authority this year, where we helped them add religious identifiers (“Pagan”, “Wiccan”, “Heathen”, and “Druid”) to their administrative systems, and are presently working to a) identify individuals to serve as pagan “chaplains” for inpatients seeking spiritual care and b) provide generic altar boxes containing such items as sage, candles, deity statues, etc. to have on hand. This project is something we are very proud of. Additionally, we are trying to actively partake in more charity events, such as donating backpacks and school gear at return to school time and turkeys to FEED NS at Christmastime. Finally, not so much me, but one of our members, Dan Negus, has represented our Grove and has lead and encouraged our participation in Halifax’s annual Interfaith Harmony Week. That has been amazing.
Regional Druid for ADF
The next step, I feel, for me is to become more involved with ADF. I have spoken to the current Regional Druid and hope, with her help, to run for the position when it becomes vacant in a year and a half. I put my hat in for this last year, but semi-abandoned the idea as the election approached, mostly due to personal time restraints and a desire to focus more of my attention on our own Grove. I now feel I am ready to step forward and help others.
The last major project I hope to focus a lot more on now that my term as Senior Druid has ended is the creation of an east coast “Druid Retreat”. We have been discussing a weekend where our Grove and anyone who identifies as a druid can sit and discuss community, philosophy, and the general world around us. I hope to have more info on this as the time comes.
Overall, I am very happy with what has happened over the last two years, but I feel it’s good to look back on what one has done well and poorly and to grow from that, much like a tree that takes damage and a new limb sprouts.
With the Fall Harvest just around the corner, I thought it might be time for another lifestyle post, with some fun Mabon family/group-friendly activities.
Mabon is the second harvest and is celebrated at the Autumn Equinox. Mabon is the Welsh God of all things wild and free. He is also associated with the Sun God, whose power dies on this day. During Mabon, we give thanks to the spirit of vegetation for the sacrifices made so that we can live through the winter. The Goddess at this Sabbat is the grandmotherly crone, warm and wise.
Beltane is just around the corner and I know you are all looking for family-friendly activities to celebrate. Beltane is a time to celebrate fertility and, while you may not want to beat your children over the head with this (so to speak), you do want them to understand it brings life and all the things they love about spring and summer.
Here are some fun group and family-friendly activities you can do to celebrate.
Make a floral crown or cone. Teach the children to be respectful of what they harvest and to do so mindfully. (Adults, you need to remember this too!) For your pretty flower crown or bouquet, something is dying. If you are not a fan of this, try potting a plant to bring inside, and decorate the pot.
Ribbon is also highly associated with Beltane because of the May Pole (which you can always dance by the way), so why not try braiding some ribbon crowns or hanging ribbons from trees to decorate your celebration.
Have a Bonfire:
The Bale Fire is a long-standing tradition used for protection and purification. It is also a fantastic gathering point for stories and celebrations. So why not grab the marshmallows and have yourself a little roast.
Take a walk though the woods and enjoy some of the new life that is budding up around you. You can take pictures, clip trimmings, or draw what you see and maybe even enjoy a picnic in nature. It’s always good to get some fresh air and commune with nature.
This is a great way to introduce your children to the idea of fertility without having to explain the “birds and bees”, if you aren’t quite ready. The seeds breed life and life is all around us. Children can help by tilling and watering the soil. They will gain a sense of satisfaction and acquire new skills through helping with the planting.
Dance that May Pole:
Beltane is all about fertility and fun. What better way to wholesomely celebrate than dancing around a giant phallic object and decorating it? Try to weave your ribbons over-under-over-under to create a beautiful pattern down your may pole. You can also tie wishes for the next year to the pole before wrapping it. Focus on those hopes as you dance, and watch the magic come to life.
Bake a Green Man Cake:
We all love the Green Man and we all love cake! Lets combine the two and enjoy! (Keep scrolling for a recipe!)
I hope this has helped you in deciding what to do with your May Day celebrations. Enjoy!
Ritual is not only for the High Days. We have smaller life rituals that we perform each and every day: the ritual of brushing our teeth, the ritual of getting dressed, etc. With Ostara and Spring just around the corner, I thought it was time for some “Spring Cleaning” which, as with all things, is best done mindfully.
I love to clean, so there’s no issue for me there, but if you are not a fan of scrubbing things down and tidying up, maybe doing so mindfully will help you to achieve a greater sense of accomplishment and comfort.
The ritual of Spring Cleaning has existed since the dawn of time. In North America, it is typically done in response to the cold and wet climate we endure throughout winter. Traditionally, it would be a time to dust and air out the home, change the hay in bedding, and be rid of all things that accumulated in the home during the harsher months. Nowadays, it is mostly an excuse to give the house a good once-over and recycle things we no longer need.
So apart from the obvious aspects of cleaning, like removal of dust and debris, cleaning surfaces or carpets, and laundering things that may get forgotten, we should keep in mind a few things:
Good luck, folks!
(Check out our “Spring Cleaning” post from 2015, including a “House Cleaning Ritual” document, here)
We are happy to share this photo of our Community Outreach Coordinator, Daniel Negus, receiving a certificate of participation for Interfaith Harmony Week.
Awesome work, Dan!
See you all next year!
It is that time of year. We are all getting sick or have been sick. What are your favourite remedies? For me, I have my “Sick Tea”.
Whenever I am feeling under the weather, I mix up this “tea” and sip it back like there is no tomorrow. My “tea” consists of freshly grated ginger, two or three slices of lemon, and a big dollop of honey all mixed together with some nice hot water. I prefer this to conventional medicine… and why not?
Ginger is packed with antioxidants that help boost your immune system. It can also help with nausea, heartburn, and indigestion. We’re off to a good start!
Lemon is high in vitamin C –great for you overall, but particularly if you are feeling sick. Vitamin C is also an antioxidant, and helps the body form and maintain connective tissue, including bones, blood vessels, and skin. Lemon also helps to break up mucus when you are sick and can help reduce the inflammation of a sore throat.
Honey has been used for years to sooth sore and scratchy throats. It has antibacterial properties and the natural peroxides in honey act as disinfectants, which may help reduce inflammation and thereby pain.
Mix the three together and you’ve got yourself a powerful “Sick Tea”.
Good luck, cold sufferers!! *sniff sniff
I recently came upon an article discussing the “crazies” in Pagan communities. Here, you should read it too:
But I’ll give you some highlights…
A lot of pagans? Douchebags. Complete tools. So, so fucked up.
The thing with paganisim, witchcraft, wicca and all that jazz is that it is a religion of individuality, and the shadow side of that is that it can really easily turn into a religion of ego.
I couldn’t take it. I was done with the events where one douchebag would talk over the main speaker, just to prove how much he knew.
I was done hanging out with people who wanted to be witchy because they wanted to be edgy and cool.
I was done with the shallowness of it all, with the constant ego battles, with the drama and the showing off
Yes, yes, I know every community has them. But don’t you feel like ours attracts just a few more?
I have personally hit this wall more than once and proclaimed that, “I AM DONE” or, “THAT’S IT, I AM GOING SOLITARY.“ But here’s the thing: each time I do, I somehow come back… With the support of the wonderful people I have met though my Grove, I continuously end up attending and even hosting “Meet & Greets”.
I can relate to Demi’s desire to draw back from what I call “holier than thou” pagans or the ones who believe the world is owed to them, but if I truly gave up I would never have met some of the wonderful people I now call my Grove.
So, keep trying. Pulling back can sometime give you much needed time to heal, but, when you are ready, be sure to reach out again and tag in someone new.