There are certain sabbats on the calendar that are just bigger than the rest. Obviously Samhain is one of those. For many Pagans it’s the annual “reset” button, and its associations with death and the final harvest give it an extra degree of gravitas that most sabbats just don’t have. Add in its overlap with the secular Halloween and you’ve got the makings of very big holiday. The other “big” sabbat is generally Beltane for a variety of reasons. In colder climes it’s a “coming out” party, plus there are all the goings on about new life, the first planting, and of course sex. Sex is always a big seller.
Many Pagans are solitary practitioners, either by choice or by necessity. But most traditional activities for Beltane are designed for either large groups or for couples (and straight couples at that). In 2014 and 2015 I wrote a series of rituals for those working alone on the Wheel of the Year. Every year they’re near the top of the list of most popular posts – especially the Beltane ritual.
But what if you’d like to celebrate Beltane with something other than a ritual? Maybe you’re part of a group that holds its rituals on the Saturday nearest the holiday and you don’t want to do a second ritual. Or maybe you’re just feel the need to do something other than a ritual this time.
Putting the “I” in W(I)tchcraft
Witchcraft is highly individualistic. Is it more practitioner centered than we give ourselves credit for? Pagan devotional practices are centered around the gods, and are closely aligned with magical practices, one often being called the other. However, the actual craft and art of sorcery is a skill unique to the practitioner like any other artform. This is the individualistic witchcraft that I am talking about. Of course there are those practices that call upon the aid of spirits, deities and other non-physical entities, but are they in fact the real power behind these rituals? I’m not so sure.
It is during this time of year that the green magician and herbalist begin laying the sacred plot of the apothecary garden, awakening sleeping roots with offerings of milk and honey and collecting the early blossoms and buds of springtime for the altar and the creation of lustral waters. This year it has stayed cold longer than it normally does, making it feel more like winter than spring. Although the signs of the coming summer are beginning to make themselves known. There are many things to be done both indoors and outdoors to prepare for the growing season.
May I be no man’s enemy, and may I be the friend of that
which is eternal and abides.
May I never quarrel with those nearest me, and if I do, may
I be reconciled quickly.
May I never devise evil against any man, and if any devise
evil against me, may I escape uninjured and without the
need of hurting him.
May I love, seek, and attain only that which is good.
May I wish for all men’s happiness, and envy none. May I
never rejoice in the ill fortune of one who has wronged me.
When I have done or said what is wrong, may I never wait
for the rebuke of another, but always rebuke myself until I
May I win no victory that harms either me or my opponent.
May I reconcile friends who are angry with one another.
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