Over at RevGals, Sally writes: It is the first of May, or as I have been concentrating on dialogue with folk interested in the new spirituality movement this last week, it is Beltane, a time to celebrate the beginning of summer. The BBC web-site tells us that:
Beltane is a Celtic word which means 'fires of Bel' (Bel was a Celtic deity). It is a fire festival that celebrates of the coming of summer and the fertility of the coming year.
Celtic festivals often tied in with the needs of the community. In spring time, at the beginning of the farming calendar, everybody would be hoping for a fruitful year for their families and fields.
Beltane rituals would often include courting: for example, young men and women collecting blossoms in the woods and lighting fires in the evening. These rituals would often lead to matches and marriages, either immediately in the coming summer or autumn.Another advert for a TV programme that has caught my eye on the UK's Channel 4 this weekend is called Love, Life and leaving; and is a look at the importance of celebrating the seasons of life through ritual and in the public eye, hence marriages, baptisms and funerals.I believe that we live in a ritually impoverished culture, where we have few reasons for real celebration, and marking the passages of life;
1. Are ritual markings of birth marriage and death important to you?
Absolutely. In my seminary apps and in my professional profile, I write that my deepest call to ministry is to be with people in those moments of life that are marked by ritual---I love baptizing babies, blessing marriages, burying the dead, closing a pastoral visit with prayer...they are some of the richest moments in ministry...
2. Share a favourite liturgy/ practice.
3. If you could invent ( or have invented) a ritual what is it for?
After living in one place for 13 years, right after college, I developed some deep relationships, and adopted family ties. The decision to leave that home and go to seminary was huge--because I knew I probably wouldn't return there. My friends developed rituals of blessing, and goodbye that were tender and gorgeous. At a party, everybody brought a clear/crystal candle holder to gift me with. We sat in a circle, and lit all of these candles in sparkling candlesticks and votive holders, and each person offered a treasured memory and a blessing. This was a gathering of friends, mentors, parents of children that I taught, colleagues...it was pretty amazing.
In addition, I had this beautiful community of women friends--we were all about the same age--such a group of sisters! (and NOT at all affiliated or franchised with church.) Anyway, when we came into the house, we all had to take of our shoes. They sat me down in a chair, and each woman washed my feet and gave me a sister blessing. It was so tender (I have really ugly feet, and this was true vulnerability for me) and strengthening.
Wow. What a wild pack of love that was. I have been so blessed. I have so much more I need to give in relationship to what I have received. O.k., back to FF.
4. What do you think of making connections with neo-pagan / ancient festivals? Have you done this and how?
uhhhh. LOVE THEM. First, I should say, that before I went to seminary, I was in a coven. While still a practising Christian. I laugh because I think I was the first presbyterian witch! Anyway, we celebrated midsummer with berry pies, wreaths of flowers on our heads, an illegal bonfire and drumming. It was GREAT.
5. Celebrating is important, what and where would your ideal celebration be?
Well, my beloved and I, have only had private ceremonies to be partnered and married. I would love, on one of our anniversaries, to have a renewal of vows with a party/celebration afterwards--with dear friends and family.
However, my ideal celebration is marking our anniversary, every 4th of every month.
Whiteout - photo taken November 2017
7 hours ago