belated Beltane photos
I’ll admit that I am currently procrastinating on school work that really need my attention, but I was sipping on some wine
& smoking hash while watching True Blood and now I’m a bit inebriated so the likelihood of accomplishing much tonight is probably quite low.
I was just scrolling through some pictures on my little point and shoot camera and realised I never uploaded photos from the Beltane celebration I had with the autonomous witches’ collective (hereafter referred to as AWC in future posts, methinks.) I co-lead this ritual with my lovely neighbour/witchy mentor, in her apartment.
Our basic altar set-up, featuring the gorgeous piece of stilbite I received as a housewarming gift.
We had way too much food this time, 11 kinds of cheese! In our defence, my housewarming party was the day before, so half of it was leftover from the previous night.
We had an elaborate plan to dance the maypole outdoors, but alas, we live in the middle of downtown Toronto and though we both have decent sized decks we weren’t sure we’d have enough space. We had also contemplated doing it in the churchyard across the street, but imagined the pastor probably wouldn’t have been impressed.
As luck would have it, it was raining quite heavily that day anyway so we improvised and being good urban witches managed to devise a system of keeping our pole erect using only cinderblocks, copies of the local free weekly newspaper and sheer will-power.
Our beautiful maypole, all wound up! (And yes, we did disconnect the fire alarm temporarily, our smokey incense was setting it off.)
I simply adore Beltane, it’s probably my second favourite sabbat behind Samhain. This ritual was a smaller gathering of witches, but incredibly memorable and enjoyable. I can’t wait for next year.
it’s the time of the season when the love runs high
I haven’t been online much in past few months because school has been totally kicking my butt, but the spring semester is finally winding down. Classes are done until September, but over the next two weeks I have all of my course work due.
I just am trying to buckle down and finish this shit so I don’t have to think about it anymore. I have July and August open at the moment and am looking forward to some serious me time. In addition to hopefully getting all of my health issues under control (chronic pain FTL), my plans include going to hide out at my family’s cottage for at least a week, serious amounts of yoga & meditation, riding my bike all around town, mega witchery, taking lots of photos and preparing for my performance at the Toronto Burlesque Festival.
In other news, this past week I lead a Summer Solstice/Midsummer/Litha ritual with my not-coven (aka the autonomous withches’ collective), plus some new & special guests who were also in attendance. I was a bit nervous about leading, because the responsibility fell to me at the last minute, and I didn’t have very much time to prepare. I think it all came together pretty well, aside from nearly being ko’d after casting. (As part of my cleansing, I usually fast for the day prior to celebrating a sabbat and then we have a huge feast after ritual. However, this is the second time I’ve almost fainted after casting the circle, so I think I’m going to have start breaking that rule and eat before hand, as well as continuing to work on grounding, which an ongoing issue I’ve been working through.)
I only managed to take a few pictures of the altar while we were setting up. Some items of the altar (aside from the obvious) included: Wonderworks house blend Summer Solstice incense, my antique brass pear-shaped handbell, some gorgeous roses from our hostess’ garden, citrine and quartz crystals, a multitude of candles, statues of the Virgin Mary and a Crone, fancy ribbons and golden material for sachets, a number of seasonally appropriate herbs and plants (not all are in the photos) such as mugwort, chamomile, rosemary, St. John’s wort, lavender and vervain.
Ideally we would have done the rite in the afternoon of solstice proper, when the sun was as its peak, but since we all have various work and school commitments, we celebrated the Midsummer’s eve. The main work of the ritual included three sections, for the first two were inside and then we moved outside to the backyard. (When we cast the circle, we visualized including the entire property. I am of the opinion this is totally acceptable, as I do this all the time but some people may disagree with me.)
First, we made some herbal sachets to put under our pillows for prophetic Midsummer’s eve dreams, then I lead a guided meditation on the changing seasons. Next, we moved outside had a lovely bonfire and did some candle magic, based on the guidance received in the meditations. We all lit our candles off the fire and were able to set them up strategically on patio stones just outside of the fire pit, so we could watch them burn and observe the shapes of the wax as it pooled. I’m not sure that form of divination has a formal name, but I’m certainly a fan.
In the future, I think I’d scale the ritual back and make it more focused, because it ended up being a bit too long and after opening the circle again, socializing/feasting, watching our candles burn all the way down, clean up and trekking across town in a cab, I didn’t get home until almost 3am. But we ate lots of delicious foods, drank lots of wine and a good time was had by all!