Beltane Love Burn
After feeling disconnected from Beltane for a couple of years, the spirit of the ceremony called me yet again to put my wizard cloak on, paint myself Red, and climb up a Hill to light a sacred Fire and face my internal Underworld.
Beltane marks the transition from Winter to Summer, a middle point between the Spring Equinox and Summer Solstice. I was first exposed to it when living in Edinburgh, Scotland.
Back then, I participated in three Beltanes, burning away the Winter on Calton Hill, with another 300 painted Beings coming together for one night after a few months of preparation. Part performance, part ceremony, the Beltane Fire Festival is witnessed by a big crowd of spectators. Being there as one of the “performers” is one of the most marking ceremonies in my life.
The third time was particularly powerful, as it marked not only the beginning of Summer, but also the beginning of a new lifecycle for me. I was about to leave Edinburgh, my Home for seven years and my spiritual hometown, a couple of days after Beltane.
I’ll never forget the energy of that night.
In my interpretation of the Beltane tale, the May Queen journeys through the Underworld together with her old partner - the Green Man, gradually stripped of everything he wears. The journey culminates in a Ritual of Death, where the May Queen takes the life of her naked partner marking passing away of the Winter, and then brings his breath back in an act of Revival. The Spring is here again and the life in its pure, wild form begins to flourish.
I see it as the embodiment of the Cycle of Life, where passing of the Old is necessary to make space for the New. Death is a vital process of Rebirth, and Beltane serves as a reminder of the necessity of letting go of attachments.
At least that’s how I see it.
This year I felt particularly connected to a ritual of letting go of my past Loves - something that kept popping up for a few weeks before Beltane through different interactions. While not being in a committed romantic relationship, I did feel connected, and indeed attached to the incredible women who have been my life partners for some time at various stages of my journey.
It was time to set them (and myself) free - and make space for the new season of life.
It all starts with a commitment.
As I returned from a short and powerful journey to the Mainland I felt called to celebrate Beltane, and specifically to Burn the attachments to my past Loves. I decided to follow my intuition and committed to making it happen. Once committed, the rest is practicalities.
During the next couple of days I kept bringing my attention to my upcoming ritual, to keep tuning into what it will actually look like.
First of all - How does one burn their attachments?
What felt right for me, was to go through my journals and grab precious Gifts from my Loves, such as very special letters and magickal objects, and start piling them up. To be transparent with you, I still have a box of old letters in a box in my parents house, so I haven’t actually collected everything, but that didn’t feel relevant at all.
At the end of the day, I am setting myself to perform an act of psychomagic, and with a clear intention in place, I get to choose the embodiment of that intention through a set of physical actions I choose to perform. In my case, burning some of the letters, knowing that there’s more in my parents house, felt like a sufficient manifestation of the ritual I was about to perform and it would have been simply impractical as fuck to get my parents to ship my personal letters all the way to the island where I live.
Even wizards need to be practical sometimes.
With the pile of precious gifts growing daily, I directed my attention into the actual ritual. The first question being:
Where do I want to do it?
My Cabin seemed like an easy choice, but it didn’t feel right. I do associate Beltane with climbing a Hill, and there is something very special about going into Nature to witness a ceremony. With no designated Beltane spot in the island where I live (contrary to Edinburgh, where Calton Hill is the Beltane hill) I got to choose a spot that resonates. Once I knew that I am looking for a hill within a walkable distance from my Cabin, the right space was immediately clear - a hill around one hour walk away, with a magnificent view and a beautiful energy. It’s a spot that I don’t visit that often and it felt immediately right.
With the space set, I connected with the actual ritual.
What do I want to do? How do I embody the ceremony?
In my understanding of psychomagick, the difficulty of the act generates the energy that gets directed into Magick, through enactment of intuitive motions based on the ritual design.
As with all Magickal acts, there is a part to it which is based on pure intuition, and it makes zero sense to plan it in advance. Instead of thinking about the actual ritual, I tuned into what are the objects I want to take with me. It came up one day as a drawing in my journal, which might be illegible to you, but is meaningful to me:
I spent the next few days collecting the necessary items. Once the Beltane night came I was ready.
What happens on the Hill stays on the Hill.
I won’t go into details of how my Beltane ceremony looked like, because the set of actions was deeply intuitive and connected with the essence of my Being at that point of time, needing to go through certain specific motions meaningful to me. If you want to know the details, ask me in person and I might share more.
With that in mind, I’d like to share a few observations, as they might be useful for your own process:
- Walking to the Hill, with my Red warpaint and wizard cloak on and a backpack containing all the items needed for the ritual, felt incredibly grounding. Walking is my meditation and I loved having the long process of embodied transition before entering the Space.
- Perhaps this is obvious but I’ll share anyway: I left all my digital devices at home. I want to be fully present.
- As I enter the sacred space I totally surrender to the fact that I have no idea what I am doing and I have no idea what to say. I have no spells - and that’s okay. The only thing I need to do is to bring myself to the state of full presence and from there act intuitively based on what is happening and what are the objects I have with me. There is no right or wrong, and what I actually do doesn’t matter at all. It is all about directing my intention into embodied acts and tuning into what wants to happen next. In ritual spaces I am acting from a place of intuition. There is no place for “perfection” or intelectual analysis of the act itself.
- To create a clear boundary of the Sacred Space I Open the Space and then I Close it. It’s perhaps another obvious point, but I’ll share it anyway. Clear boundaries are crucial.
- I didn’t end up burning everything. During the ceremony it felt obvious to me that certain objects want to be kept in this world, and the only thing I need to do is to relinquish my temporary stewardship of them and pass them on to another person who could use them well. Gifts are meant to gravitate towards where they are needed most, and it’s my role as their temporary steward to support that journey.
- I burnt everything else.
I don’t see a point in quantifying the results of a psychomagick act. Not everything needs to become data points. What matters is the feelings that came up. Feeling lighter. Feeling confident. Feeling vibrant. Feeling alive. Feeling free. Feeling kind.
I am carrying these with me beyond the ceremony, which of course is the biggest challenge.
The ceremony is an act, a specific moment in time surfacing the inner underworld to the surface so I can engage with it consciously. As I journeyed through my Fears and Loves I got to reconnect with the energy of the most incredible Women that chose to share some of their lives with me - the most precious Gift that shaped me, and will never be forgotten. The act of releasing my attachments felt pure and beautiful.
The Beauty is to Let it Go.
I Love my Loves, and therefore I set them Free. Through the act of setting them Free I set myself free and I make space for another cycle of my life to flourish.
The Summer is now here.