Beltane: Altars and Hand Pies

Today marks my first major Sabbat. I’m so new to this that I wasn’t sure how to celebrate the holiday. We went on a hike yesterday, and I got to slip off to the top of the waterfall by myself to try communing with the Goddess. It was good, and I felt happy about that.

Then we started off this morning. Our Anglican community has their morning service at 8:30 so we got up and headed out. Our toddler, Eowyn, went from grouchy about being up to being a ball of energy. I spent most of the service chasing her, with some time during the Eucharist (which is the part I actually like best anyway) not chasing her. Though most of it involved me chasing her up the aisle to try and keep her in the sanctuary long enough for “cracker time.” It may have been Beltane but I was pretty close to cursing the fruit of my womb.

I was profoundly grumpy myself and not really feeling in a good frame of mind for this whole Beltane thing. But I ate and did some things that needed to get done and then finally set up my altar. My plan over the last few weeks of research had been to set up my first altar for Beltane.

We don’t really have a good space for me to keep one constantly set up. Eowyn gets into everything and I need to be able to put it away easily for when we have guests who aren’t going to be open-minded about this (for the moment, I’d rather avoid the conflict. The “why don’t you believe in hell?” conversation with Beowulf’s father has become the stuff of legends in our family). Right now, it’s on Beowulf’s nightstand, since that usually has very little on it to begin with.

I inscribed four tapers with the symbols of the elements, and then set up a pentacle with twigs and plants. I placed a beeswax container candle I made in the centre of the pentacle to represent spirit. Then I placed gemstones around the four points of the compass: jade, amethyst, carnelian, and moonstone. I used a cast-iron teacup to represent earth and another teacup with water as my chalice. Air and fire, were, I decided, part of the candles so I wouldn’t worry about finding something else to additionally represent them. I also lit a red candle since my research indicates that red is one of the colours of Beltane.

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I focused on the Goddess in the little ritual I did, with lighting my candles and saying a blessing for Beltane. I’d focused on the God in church this morning, so it was the Goddess’s turn. I don’t really know if I’m going to lean towards the Wiccan view of the Lord and Lady, or use that as it seems fit and incorporate other deities as needed. I’m very interested in Brighid right now so I think she’ll end up as part of my practice in some way.

It felt good. And comfortable. A little odd because it’s new and not yet familiar, but that I think is a good thing.

So, after my ritual, and after Beowulf and I got to be adults while Eowyn napped for once, I made hand pies. Apple and sage with balsamic vinegar. I have a lot of filling left over so I may need to make another batch of pie crust tomorrow. They are tasty and seem somewhat appropriate for the holiday, but maybe that’s because any celebration is an excuse for pie.

Blessed Be!

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