Beltane Ritual Reflections

I performed my Beltane rite on the day itself, May 1, with my husband.  He recited various parts, like the Two Powers attunement, honoring the Earth Mother, and honoring the Ancestors.  The Nature Spirits were the Beings of the Occasion for this ritual, which was done using ADF’s Core Order of Ritual using my Vanic outline.

The Outdwellers received an offering of plain black tea, Nerthus (our Earth Mother) received flour, Kvasir received plain filtered water (for Inspiration), Freyja (our Gatekeeper) received honey, the Ancestors received rosemary, the Vanir received oats, and the Nature Spirits received a Love Spell tea blend (with black tea, peach pieces, peach flavor, and calendula petals) in addition to lavender.  The reason the Nature Spirits received two offerings will be explained in more detail later.

The ritual started out well.  As my husband read the lines for the Two Powers attunement, I felt the Two Powers flowing into me.  We lit each of the Three Kindred candles as we honored them.  We didn’t use Freyja’s candle for this ritual since she wasn’t the main being honored.  Since the Nature Spirits were the Beings of the Occasion, we honored the Ancestors, then the Vanir, then the Nature Spirits.  We didn’t use a set prayer to honor them.  I spoke from the heart words that seemed to be appropriate to connect them with the Beltane season.

My reasoning for honoring the Nature Spirits for Beltane is simple.  We can see and feel them waking up all around us at this time of year in this area (Indiana).  Birds are chirping, blooming flowers fill stores, and lots of wildlife abounds.  I wanted to honor their awakening and abundance.

The first offering we made to the Nature Spirits was the Love Spell tea blend. Unfortunately we had forgotten to bring it into the room before the ritual so my husband ran to the kitchen to grab it. We also used this blend for the Prayer of Sacrifice.  The first card we drew for the Omen question, “Are the offerings accepted?” was the Door reversed, which means closed doors, endings, inaction.  I took that as a no.  My husband suggested they might like something different, so we offered a large quantity of lavender buds.  I reshuffled the Wychwood Oracle deck and drew the Omen below.

XX – The Dagger, XXVII – The Lady, and XXIV – The Wand, all upright, from the Wychwood Oracle.  Photo by Victoria Laughlin-Casares, 2018.

This time, the Dagger (upright) was drawn when we asked if the offerings were accepted.  The Dagger is a sign of protection, justice, and assertion, so I interpreted this card as a yes.  The Lady answers the next question, “What blessings are offered?”  The Lady represents strength, dignity, and patience.  Finally, we asked, “What further guidance do the Kindreds offer?”  Our answer was the Wand, which means focus, intention, and spirituality.  All in all a very good omen!

For the Waters of Life, we both just had filtered water since we didn’t have any alcohol on hand.  This is the same reason Kvasir got water as well instead of beer.

This was a very good ritual!  I am pleased with the Omen and how it went, despite forgetting the Love Spell tea blend before the ritual started and having to go get it in the middle of ritual (and having to make a different offering).  I don’t recall if I felt much of anything besides the Two Powers during the ritual other than just a feeling of peace and joy.

Blessed Beltane!  May we revel in the fertility of the Earth Mother and the abundance of the Nature Spirits!

 

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Daily Devotional, 5/3/18

I had a bit of trouble getting the Ancestor candle lit for devotional.  The wick was folded over, but I did manage to get it lit.  I named all the Kindreds as usual, and I recited Freyja’s prayer with love and devotion.  I took the time to smell the scent of each offering on the charcoal before I moved on.

I stopped and took a breath to focus before I drew this card:

XIV – The Snake, reversed, from the Wychwood Oracle.  Photo by Victoria Laughlin-Casares, 2018.

The Snake in the reversed position is a card of rebirth, confidence, and upheaval.  I think upheaval might be appropriate for today since I am going to early vote in my state’s primary today.  Voting can definitely result in upheaval of the status quo.  The Snake reversed also shows that I am confident and in a period of rebirth.

Daily Devotional, 5/2/18

Today’s devotional went well.  I was able to focus (except for a bit of an itchy foot).  I named the Kindreds as usual.  Freyja’s prayer was full of love and joy as I recited it.

I drew the Eye in the upright position today:

I – The Eye, upright, from the Wychwood Oracle.  Photo by Victoria Laughlin-Casares, 2018.

The Eye, upright, is a sign of clarity of vision, intuition, and focus.  This means that I need to pay attention to my intuition today.  I will also have good focus and my vision will be crystal clear.  I have a couple appointments today, but I’m not sure how this card ties in to those.  I just know that if I have an idea, it will come through clearly.

Daily Devotional, 5/1/18

First off, happy Beltane!  Today is the day when the ancient Celts did ritual to purify and protect livestock and bless the fields.  It was also traditionally the first day of summer, where Imbolc was the first day of spring and the Spring Equinox the midpoint.

My devotional went very well today.  I remembered to light the candles before I did anything else.  I named my Ancestors, the Nature Spirits, and the Vanir.  I honored Freyja with joy in my heart and devotion on my tongue.

I drew the Moon upright today, a good card for Beltane:

VIII – The Moon, upright, from the Wychwood Oracle.  Photo by Victoria Laughlin-Casares, 2018.

The Moon is a card of progress, personal growth, and solitude.  I am taking this to mean that my Beltane rite later today with my husband will go well and result in personal growth.  Today is also a day for solitude, to just enjoy spending time with myself (perhaps outside as it is very nice today).  I’ll knit, read, and do other things that invite solitude.

Blessed Beltane!  Blessed Samhain if you’re in the Southern Hemisphere!

Daily Devotional, 4/30/18

I did do an abbreviated devotional yesterday with my husband.  We were about to leave to see the house that we may be moving into later in the year, so we didn’t have time for a full devotional.  I said my usual prayer to Freyja with an offering of honey on charcoal.  We also both prayed to her for help in securing this house for us.  We made another offering of honey.  It felt good and moving to ask for Freyja’s help.

Today’s devotional went okay.  I made the offering to the Ancestors to the lit charcoal before I realized I forgot to light the Three Kindred candles.  I lit them as I named the Ancestors and after I made the offering.  That might account for my poor draw today.  Honoring the Nature Spirits and the Vanir seemed fine.  I recited Freyja’s prayer with passion and joy.

I drew the Compass in the reversed position:

XVII – The Compass, reversed, from the Wychwood Oracle.  Photo by Victoria Laughlin-Casares, 2018.

Reversed, the Compass represents lost ways, uncertainty, risks.  Perhaps it was a risk to continue to name the Ancestors as I tried to get the candles lit.  I was really disappointed in this draw, as I thought I had done a good job with devotional.  Maybe I can see this card as a warning, a caution to not lose my way.  Or maybe the Kindreds themselves are uncertain about what today has in store.

Daily Devotional, 4/28/18

Today’s devotional went fairly well, though I didn’t name all the Ancestors.  I guess I’m still trying to get over what my husband might think of me honoring certain people as Ancestors.  I named the Nature Spirits and the Vanir.  I also did a better job with Freyja’s prayer than I normally do when my husband is in the room.  I enunciated and tried to make it intense, but my anxiety got the best of me.  I’m not so sure anyone was as pleased as usual, as shown by my draw.

I drew the Stranger, reversed:

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XXIX – The Stranger, reversed, from the Wychwood Oracle. Photo by Victoria Laughlin-Casares, 2018.

In the reversed position, the Stranger represents caution, intrigue, and disruptive energy.  I guess my anxiety could be considered disruptive energy and caution.  I just need to be cautious today and be aware of disruptions.

I didn’t do my ritual to Nerthus yesterday.  I will probably do it today or tomorrow (given my draw, maybe it’s best to wait until tomorrow).  I was hoping to get something to use as an offering to Kvasir for inspiration, but since I don’t have any alcohol, I may just end up using something like filtered water or a tea.

Daily Devotional, 4/27/18

First off, I would like to wish everyone a happy Arbor Day!  Arbor Day is always the last Friday of April here in the US, and a lot of places give away free trees!  Unfortunately we can’t get a tree because we are still living in a rental home, but hopefully that will change later this year.

Devotional wasn’t the best today.  I set up as usual and refilled my Nature Spirit votive with a fresh candle.  However, once I got started, I had a really itchy spot on my foot that was distracting me.  I still honored the Kindreds as usual.  I enunciated Freyja’s prayer more than usual (I almost overdid it), but I found it really helped me to feel the prayer.  I was distracted again when shuffling my cards.  I was thinking about mundane life stuff.

Not surprisingly, I drew the Wand reversed:

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XXIV – The Wand, reversed, from the Wychwood Oracle.  Photo by Victoria Laughlin-Casares, 2018.

The Wand in the reversed position indicates disconnection, lack of intention, and distraction.  See why I said it’s not surprising that I drew this card?  I do plan later today to perform a ritual to Nerthus, the Vanic Earth Mother as a belated Earth Day celebration.  I think I will offer her some cornmeal, since corn is a popular local crop.  One day I might try soy flour, since soybeans are also a common crop here.  I look forward to performing ritual!

Daily Devotional, 4/26/18

I am pleased with today’s devotional.  Naming the Kindreds went well.  I did better with Freyja’s prayer today, making it more intense and feeling it.  The only problem I had was the card I drew.

I drew the Lady in the reversed position:

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XXVII – The Lady, upright, from the Wychwood Oracle. Photo by Victoria Laughlin-Casares, 2018.

Reversed, the Lady represents allure, negligence, and disharmony.  I’m not really sure where this comes into play.  I had a friend pick up some cheap tomato plants for me.  They weren’t really well-marked, so I’m not sure what I’m getting.  That might be a sign of disharmony.  I’m picking up some potting soil later today to put the tomatoes in some pots.  Hopefully the store won’t be out of soil!  That would definitely add some disharmony to my day.

Daily Devotional, 4/25/18

Today’s devotional went really well.  I named each of the Kindreds, as usual, though it’s starting to feel less “spiritual” and more mundane.  I should make an effort to visualize the Kindreds in addition to naming them.  I did make Freyja’s prayer more intense this time and tried hard to feel it, though that doesn’t always work with me.

I drew the River upright today:

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VI – The River, upright, from the Wychwood Oracle.  Photo by Victoria Laughlin-Casares, 2018.

The River is a card of adventure, rejuvenation, and guidance.  Today is a day to perhaps take a bath and relax in order to restore and rejuvenate.  I am planning on taking the bus to the library later today, so maybe that will turn into an adventure.  My husband and I have a marriage counseling appointment today, so there’s guidance.  All in all, I think it will be a good day!

Daily Devotional, 4/24/18

Today’s devotional went better than it did while I was in Chicago.  I named Ancestors, Nature Spirits, and the Vanir.  I tried to be intense with Freyja’s prayer, but I wasn’t as intense as I know I could be.  Perhaps that was due to having an off day yesterday.  I didn’t do devotional at all because I was not feeling well.

I drew the Mask upright today:

XXVI – The Mask, upright, from the Wychwood Oracle.  Photo by Victoria Laughlin-Casares, 2018.

The Mask is a card of mystery, illusion, and composure.  I need to make sure that things really are what they seem today.  I also just need to be open to mystery.  I’m not sure where composure fits in today.  All in all, a good start after being gone over the weekend.