Sally says: "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;So...
1. Are ritual markings of birth, marriage, and death important to you? Absolutely! And I think that there are others as well that we could (or should) mark ritually and liturgically that we don't do such a good job of particularly in the realm of closures and endings.
2. Share a favourite liturgy/ practice. After I had done a lot of work in both therapy and spiritual direction about releasing some of the pain around the dark voices of my past, I wrote a small liturgy which my spiritual director and I shared. It was centered around the theme of forgiveness and release both for those who had hurt me and for myself. While it was not "the end of the story" it was very powerful and I think, opened me up for some even deeper work to come.
3. If you could invent ( or have invented) a ritual what is it for? I would like to create a liturgy or ritual for the decent, prayerful and holy severing of a relationship. I know this is very high-minded (believe me I know!) but in my wildest fantasy it might even include some pre-ritual counseling time and have a focus on releasing one another with some sense of peace and forgiveness and wanting what is best for each other, or at least putting them in God's hands.
4. What do you think of making connections with neo-pagan / ancient festivals? Have you done this and how? Since so many of our Christian feasts have links with these ancient festivals it seems fitting to know and understand this part of our past. And besides....they are fun! When I lived in the Big City I often had the chance to celebrate some of these festivals with friends including Beltane and Solstice celebrations.
5. Celebrating is important, what and where would your ideal celebration be? Well it just so happens that I am planning one of these for myself! R and I have set a wedding date (05/15/10) and we have started thinking about the who, what, and where. We will of course be married in my beautiful little church by my team members and my friend C (one can never have too many RevGals on the altar after all!) My friend CCM will sing, my Soul Sisters will be my attendants. There will be all of the beautiful liturgy and music one marriage ceremony can contain! It will be spring and there will be color from flowers and the glow of candles. Since the party is also important, afterwards, we plan to eat and dance well into the night. Our goal is to have our wedding reflect who we are and to have it be a wonderful and joyous celebration of our love for all who attend.