fae, Spiritwork

Faery Weather Report: Beltaine

I haven’t done one of these in a while, but last night I was meeting with some of my local witches, working on a small-but-growing pagan community at our local UU church, and as the conversation drifted, one of them asked if things had been weird for others, as it seemed to them that there’d been an uptick in spirit activity, especially of the chaotic and dangerous sort. Others agreed, and though I hadn’t really noticed a change, my daily life is mostly lived inside my own wards, and wherever else I go I can’t help but notice a flurry of spirit activity unless I specifically shield it out. For better or for worse, my particular brand of Senses mean that I very rarely experience the Veil the way I usually hear others talk about it. So I took a moment to check in with my local allies among the Fair Folk, and the response was swift and somewhat amused at my lack of awareness.

I was told that, yes, the Borders were Open. Fae were riding and rioting like they normally do at Beltaine, only it had begun with the first sliver of crescent moon in April (approximately the 7th), and it would continue until the very last crescent was lost to darkness in June (approximately the 2nd)… or perhaps beyond. Topsy Turvy time was upon us, and Lawlessness, and all things were allowed during the extended carnival.

While that might sound fun, for humans it is Bad News. Capricious at the best of times, fae unrestrained by anything resembling rules of engagement are incredibly unpredictable. And unpredictable could mean anything from general bad luck and milk souring to getting distracted at the wrong moment and dying in a freak accident. In my experience, that’s one of their favorite ways to steal children and pregnant people in our modern world: accidental deaths.

So: shield yourself, your family. Ward your home, your vehicle, your place of business. Get some iron and rowan. Look to folklore. Be careful out there.

I do not know how far afield this warning stays true, but it applies at the very least to the Potomac River watershed, and I have corroboration from a colleague in Baltimore that it’s true up there as well. So likely for most of DelMarVa, DC, parts of PA and WV. I would not be surprised if it’s more global than that but I have no evidence one way or the other. If you have contacts among the Fair Folk local to you, I suggest you check in with them. (It’s good praxis anyway, to check on anything a fellow witch tells you, yes? Yes.) At the very least check in with your guides or do a bit of divination, to get specifics on how things may affect you.

I’ll be camping for Beltaine next weekend so I will not be available after the 2nd, but before then I’m happy to answer questions or offer advice. I’m not the only one who does this work, though – chances are you already know someone. Ask around.

If you’ll be at Fertile Ground Gathering in Triangle, VA, however, I’ll see you there on Friday and Saturday!

Event, Holiday Celebration

Our Beltaine

WOW this month has been busy so far!  And our Beltaine celebration started that off, pretty much.

We were hoping to have a Beltaine-eve bonfire with local pagan friends but the host unfortunately got sick, so we had another small hearth celebration, like we did for the Spring Equinox.  The deity of the occasion for us this time is Áine, the Fairy Queen, and we also celebrate the fae (particularly the Seelie and nature-aligned ones) for this holiday.

Our meal consisted of a spring green salad with berries and goat cheese and honey with a berry vinaigrette dressing (YUM!), and gluten free angel food cake with home made strawberry topping for dessert.  We also picked up a package of violet flavored chocolate covered marshmallows on a whim at the grocery store, so that’s the other thing on the plate!  And we finally got Áine her own candle for the shrine shelf.

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I used the prayer from the Spring Equionx again, altering it for the new holiday, and though I didn’t write it down at the time, I’ve recreated it as closely as possible below:

Beltaine has arrived, and the days are growing longer than the nights,

Plants are unfurling their leaves, and some have begun to bloom!

Spring has now reached its height, and the season is turning again

We stand at the balance: Spring becomes Summer

And on this day, we honor Áine

Queen of the Fae, Lady of Golden Light

Come to us now, and join in our celebration!

We offer you food, and drink, and merriment!

We ask in return for your blessings.

Help us to continue to grow and to bloom in this season.

Áine, Hail and Welcome!

A couple of days later, we took part in a ritual planned by a local pagan friend of ours that focused on the Green Man as a metaphor for the growth of the coming season.  My role was that of a quarter call, in which I invoked local waterways, tying us back to the local environment.  (The details for that are probably best left for a post on local cultus.)  Here’s an image of the altar at the end of the rite (unfortunately by that time, the Green Man face we had constructed together was beginning to lose leaves!)

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I hope you all had an amazing Beltaine!