DRUID CEREMONY -
Ceremonial is of real importance to druidry. The eight seasonal festivals are celebrated in a variety of ways each of which brings us into closer connection with the inner realms of nature and attunes us to the Universal rhythms. They also bring us together in a circle of people, who stand within a circle or Grove of trees, or within a circle of stones.
We follow a basic plan or pattern of entering the circle, blessing and purifying it, opening the quarters and creating sacred space. You will see all these in the Opening Section. Then the central part will be particularly aligned with the time of the year that we are celebrating. This is followed by an Eistedfodd where we sit down and share together our thoughts, stories, poetry, songs, food and drink. We then close the circle down and leave one by one. These ceremonies get changed and adapted over the years as we walk the spiral together. None of these words are writ in tablets of stone - there is space and freedom for people’s individuality to shine through. Neither is the plan immovable, although I have yet to try doing a ceremony backwards! However - there’s a thought. Sometimes we draw the circle from the East, sometimes from the North, sometimes we leave clockwise, sometimes anti-clockwise. It’s the spirit of the occasion that matters, and ‘The love that binds us all’.
This celebration of Beltaine took place in Derbyshire on May Day afternoon 1999 within an ancient stone circle on the moors. Peak Park bye-laws don’t allow fires anywhere in the Peak, and anyway we would not wish to light a fire in the middle of such a special piece of our ancient heritage. The weather stayed dry this time, (at the Equinox we were drenched!) and we had an accompaniment from the skylarks during most of our ceremony.
BELTAINE CEREMONY MAYDAY 1999
A STONE CIRCLE IN DERBYSHIRE
(All enter from the West and walk clockwise to salute the East and take up places around the circle. Circle is cast from the North and then blessed with water and fire. The central fire is replaced by lanterns)
NORTH:Oh Spirits of this Ancient Circle of Stones, of this Moor of our Ancestors be with us and bless us at this our Beltaine Ceremony.
SOUTH:Let us begin by giving peace to the quarters, so that our work may send peace to the World.
EAST:(Moves to each quarter beginning with North and says in turn) ‘May there be Peace to the North, May there be Peace to the South, May there be Peace to the West, May there be Peace to the East.’
ALL:May there be Peace throughout the whole world.
WEST: We offer the words that are a bond between all Druids, for always there is more to unite us than to divide.
ALL:Grant O Spirit/God/Goddess thy Protection, And in Protection, Strength, And in Strength, Understanding, And in Understanding, Knowledge, And in Knowledge, the Knowledge of Justice, And in the Knowledge of Justice, the Love of it, And in the Love of it, the Love of all Existence’s, And in the Love of all Existence’s, the Love of Spirit/God/Goddess And all Goodness.
EAST:(turning to face outwards) Let the Winds of Clarity open this Eastern Gateway, and teach us to look far with the Element of Air.
SOUTH: (turns to face outwards) Let the Flames of Desire open this Southern Gateway and inspire us to look with Vision with the Element of Fire.
WEST: (turns out) Let the Oceans of Love open this Western Gateway and call us to look with Compassion within the Element of Water.
NORTH:(turns out) Let the Hollow Hills of the Ancient Ones open this Northern Gateway and show us how to look Wisely with the Element of Earth.
EAST:I proclaim this Festival of Beltaine within our circle and within our hearts. May we be filled with the spirit of Love and Beauty.
SOUTH: In the centre burns the Beltaine Fire, The flames of Love that do inspire, Our hearts and souls to do this work, Let all take note, and hear our prayer.
EARTH:The Goddess has appeared, In green she is dressed for the Land, She carries the scent of the blossoms, And cradles sunbeams in her hand.
CREATURES:The God is the Lord of the Animals, He responds with joy to her call, The creatures of wood, moor and river, They love him and follow him all.
THE UNSEEN: Around us gather the Wise Ones, In their hollow hills they reside, They sing the songs of the Old Ways, And teach us to walk by their side.
NORTH:Oh Shining Beings we greet you, Right welcome you be to this hall, Bright Elf, dwarf, and spirit of flower, Of heath, moor and stone, welcome All.
(Lord and Lady [and others] who have waited outside at the west, now enter and strew petals around the circle. Lord and Lady stand together in SE.)
THE LADY: Love is all about us, In scent of blossoms and skylark song, In bay of stag and fish filled pool, In the sun’s full glow as the days grow long.
THE LORD: Love is all around us, in wind-swayed branch, in ocean and pond, in stargleam and sunbeam and weather-worn stones.
PARTICIPANT: Love is dancing with us, in and out of these stones in.... (all add in whatever they want)
WEST; Love is deep within us, In our hearts and souls, United in our circle, Our love becomes as One.
(All join hands and say together three times)
ALL: LOVE is that which binds us, Love for one and all, In unity we celebrate, Let Spirit hear our call.
(Now everyone takes a turn, speaking one line each around the circle passing the song from one to the next...)
Oh Lord and Lady hear us, Send our Prayer throughout the Land, May we shine our light together, For the blessing of mankind. We dance around our circle In joy for our rich lives, We jump the fires of Beltaine And ask that we may be wise. Wise to understand The message of our souls, To protect and love all manner of things, To heal and to make whole.For to Love is our true Purpose To Love and serve the Land, To send our light about the world, Whether To City or the Wild.
Wildness is our heritage,
Of tree and star and stone,
Of fire and air and water,
Of earth and sunbleached bone.
United are we with all of these,
All of these and more
And United is our circle,
Upon this ancient moor.
Dance with bear and skylark,
With wolf and stag and hind,
Dance to bring Light into Matter,
To Illuminate mankind.
Dance to hear our hearts beat,
In tune with Mother Earth,
Jump the flames of Beltaine,
And celebrate our birth.
(Jump the Beltaine flames and spiral around the circle)
NORTHThis circle is now open for Eistedfodd
(Stories. songs, music poetry, dreams, fudge cake, flapjack...)
EAST:It is the hour of recall. Connected are we with one another, and with all those seen and unseen who have joined our circle this day. We close our circle and go our separate ways, and yet we know that we are one together. We take out into the world the light and beauty that we have
(All join hands and recite ‘We swear by Peace and Love to stand, heart to heart and hand in hand, mark Oh Spirit and hear us now, Proclaiming this our sacred vow.’ three times following by LOTS OF CASCADING AWENS)
NORTH: By earth, bone and warm stone, we give thanks to the Powers of the North and the Element of Earth. I withdraw this Northern Gate and radiate its light.
SOUTH: By sunbeam and starry flame, we give thanks to the Powers of the South and the Element of Fire. I withdraw this Southern Gate and radiate its light.
WEST:By moonglow and Love’s flow, we give thanks to the Powers of the West and the Element of Water, I withdraw this Western Gate and radiate its light.
EAST:By sunrise and hearts wise, we give thanks to the Power of the East, and the Element of Air, I withdraw this Eastern Gate and radiate its light.
NORTH: I declare this Festival of Beltaine is closed in the apparent world. May its inspiration continue within our Beings. (North then unwinds circle and all exit clockwise saluting east.)