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?
Yes, they are.
2. Share a favourite liturgy/ practice.
The Renewal of the Baptismal Covenant.
3. If you could invent (or have invented) a ritual what is it for?
I have invented rituals. I have my own Samhain/All Saints ritual, and a couple of years ago I created a ritual for casting out fear.
4. What do you think of making connections with neo-pagan / ancient festivals? Have you done this and how?
I like making those connections, especially with the ancient feasts. I love the Celtic calendar and like how they cycle through the year.
5. Celebrating is important, what and where would your ideal celebration be?
I love all the outdoor music Chicago has in the summer. There are free concerts and free dancing at Millennium Park. I love listening to music and dancing in the park as the sun goes down and the lake is right there.