Welcome to my May newsletter! The wheel is ever turning, and the exuberant festival of Beltane beckons! As I write this, we are getting ready to be able to return to work on 12th April!! Many of us are facing this with some trepidation… and it’s a double-edged sword! These last few months have given me a time to step off the frenetic wheel of work, for the first time in all my working life! I have been self-employed since I was 19, paid holidays and sick pay are luxuries I have never had, but I have had the freedom of running my own business and being my own boss, and so it balances out – I think I would be unemployable now! There have been blessings in this time, of being able to slow down, re-evaluating my life, and work life balance, learning new skills and moving myself in different directions. Being able to spend more time at home, going on walks and discovering hidden woods and spaces has been a pleasure. The fact that I have slowed down has made me realise that going back to the pace I worked at before will be hard, and speaking to by peers and fellow therapists many of us feel the same, it’s all a little nerve wracking, not to mention we have been here before! The hours spent rebooking everyone only to be told we are all back in lockdown has left many of us leaving it til the last minute to book people in. But, being a people person, I have missed everyone!! And now I have my cabin, so I’m super excited to be working in there!!! So the messages are coming in thick and fast, the diary that has lain to one side and empty is now filling up again – the key will lie in the ability to balance work life… but as I now do more things online, I fear that may be difficult, as I am even busier! Luckily I absolutely love what I do! And the fact we are moving into the new energies of Beltane is perfectly timed!
One of the Fire Festivals
Beltane for many Pagans is one of the most important festivals on the Pagan wheel of the year. It is one of the four fire festivals – it’s certainly one of the most fun! Beltane traditionally falls around the 1st of May, about halfway between the Spring Equinox and the Summer Solstice (Litha, the longest day) around the 21st June. Beltane represents the peak of Spring and the beginning of Summer, even though we can still get a frost, and the nights are cold!! The Earth energies are at their strongest – new life is bursting forth everywhere. Fertility and sexuality of all life and the earth (here in the Northern hemisphere) are at their peak now!
The light is now strong enough and bright enough to begin to reach into all of the corners of our lives. As it is a fire festival, it is full of vibrant energy, movement and passion and is associated with new life, love, and sensuality! The inspiration we ignited at Imbolc, which grew in strength and formed our plans and ideas at Ostara, as the light came into balance with the dark, now explodes in a joyful rush of explosive energy and expansiveness. We feel ourselves unfurling and reaching towards the light as we become attuned to the lushness of nature that is bursting all around us with new growth. The weather is warmer, we joyfully stretch and turn our faces towards the sun. This is a time for fun and frivolity, for abandonment, for getting immersed into nature. Time to reconnect with our inner child, be open to the magic of the natural world! As a fire festival, it is also one of transformation – fire is cleansing, destroying the old to prepare the way for new growth. A perfect time to move forward with our plans and dreams as we move out of this lockdown.
There are many traditions from this most ancient of festivals that we still participate in today, without even realising their pagan links!
All over the country May Day fairs are held with children dancing around the Maypole – this is one of our most ancient of customs, and was actually to encourage fertile harvests. The pole is a phallic symbol representing the potency of the God and the ring of flowers atop the pole representing the fertile Goddess! The many coloured ribbons and the weaving dance symbolising the spiral of life and the union of the God and Goddess, the Divine Feminine and the Sacred Masculine.
My work as a Sacred Elemental Celebrant that I trained in last year at the Glastonbury Goddess Temple takes this elemental energy and symbolism as its heart in The Hoop and Wand Ceremony, as part of the Handfasting ceremony.
As a fertility festival, Beltane was (and still is) a traditional time for pagan weddings to happen – called Handfastings. My husband and I chose Beltane to have our Handfasting. Traditionally, the couple could commit themselves for “a year and a day”, after which they could walk away with no recriminations if they so choose. Today the length of commitment is personal choice, as is whether the couple “legalise” the marriage at the registry office. At the moment a pagan handfasting is not legal… yet! But the wheels are in motion to make it so.
The act of handfasting involves the binding of the couple’s hands with a handfasting ribbon – this is where the saying “tying the knot” comes from. It is often traditional for the bride to make the ribbon (I made mine!). This element of the Handfasting is still in evidence in the church weddings of today – when you see the vicar or priest lay the ribbon over the couples hands. At some point in the ceremony the hands are untied, which symbolises that the couple chose to come together and remain together of their own free will.
The Handfasting Ceremony is one of the core ceremonies that a Sacred Elemental Celebrant will perform, and I am just so excited and honoured that I am now able to perform this most ancient of customs for people – mine was so special and magical.
Another important element of the Handfasting is the “jumping the broomstick.” Once again, an ancient custom, where the broomstick marks a threshold, symbolising moving from an old life to a new one. Our ancestors held equality in much higher esteem than we seem to these days, this custom was replaced in later years by the husband carrying the wife over the threshold… much more a symbol of ownership, rather than equality!
Mead and cakes are shared with the guests at a Handfasting. Mead is known as the brew of the Gods and seen as Divine, and is the oldest alcoholic drink known to man! It is made from honey, which was seen as a gift from the gods. There is much myth and legend around bees, the energies of bees are almost synonymous with Beltane, and felt enormously around this time, think of the expression “the birds and the bees”!
Whether they were getting handfasted or not, our ancestors were a lusty lot at this time of year! The days were warming, the scarcity of food from over the Winter was beginning to lesson as fields were planted and lambs had been born. Both the young and the old went “A-Maying.” Couples spent the night in the woods and fields, getting up to all sorts of frisky shenanigans! They brought back armfuls of the May (Hawthorn) blossoms to decorate their homes and barns with. The blossoms were to ensure luck and fertility for their crops, animals and the coming year. This is the only time of the year that you can bring Hawthorn into the house as it is considered a fairy tree, and unlucky to bring it into the home at any other time of the year. Everyone was free to enact the Sacred Marriage of the Goddess and the God, and there was an accepted tradition of Beltane babies arriving the following February – to coincide with Imbolc!
Morris Men and Dancing Up the Sun On May Day Morning
All over the country at the crack of dawn, come rain or shine, Morris Men, those iconic traditional British folk dancers, get up and “Dance up the Sun.” They danced in a bid to ensure we have good weather for the coming May Day celebrations and the harvests!
The May Tree
The May tree, or Hawthorn, is a sacred tree to many pagans and has an affinity with the Fae (the Fairies) and magic. It is one of the most beautiful sights of the British countryside to see the hedgerows brimming with the May blossom. There is much ancient lore and mythology surrounding the May tree. To cut one down is said to incur the wrath of the Fairies.
One of the old traditions that young maidens used to do was to awake at dawn on the 1st of May and bathe their faces in the dew gathered on the Hawthorn flowers to ensure their beauty for the rest of the year! For more info on the Magical May Tree check out my Hawthorn Herbal Healer blog and my YouTube video!
Artwork by Selina Fenech
Blodeuwedd is a Welsh Goddess associated with May Day, and I feel a deep connection with her, and resonate with the more modern day interpretation that she was not the “fickle female” who betrayed her husband, as the old tales tell, but was standing up for herself, claiming her power as a woman in her own right, not some plaything to be picked up and used when wanted.
Blodeuwedd (pronunciation: bluh DIE weth [“th” as in “weather”]) is the Welsh Goddess of spring created from flowers, and the wife of Lleu Llaw Gyffes, son of Arianrhod and is a central figure in Welsh mythology. In the late Christianized myth, She was created by the great magicians Math and Gwydion, Lleu’s uncles, to be Lleu’s mate, in response to a curse pronounced by his Mother that he would never have a wife from any race then on the Earth. They fashioned Blodeuwedd from nine types of blossom–oak, meadowsweet, broom, cockle, bean, nettle, chestnut, primrose, and hawthorn–and breathed life into Her. Lleu however was not a good husband, and left her alone for many a day, and so she fell in love with a passing huntsman. She and Her lover Gronw Pebyr plotted against her husband, killing the invulnerable Lleu by tricking him into the only pose in which he could be harmed. Blodeuwedd was punished for this by being transformed by the Uncles into the night-bird, the owl, though She kept Her name–in Welsh, blodeuwedd, meaning “Flower-face”, is a name for the owl.
She is the white Goddess of Death and Life in Her May-aspect, and part of a triad consisting of Arianrhod (virgin), Blodeuwedd (lover), and Cerridwen (crone).
She represents temporary beauty and the bright blooming that must come full circle through death: She is the promise of autumn visible in spring. As a free thinking and empowered woman, she came into her own power and refused to be the meek subservient wife that she was “created” to be. Blodeuwedd is independant, feisty and rebellious – she was not going to be told who she should be wed to, she followed her heart to be with the man she loved! I feel she is a Goddess to connect with in these times. She represents fully the Maiden, Mother and Crone aspects of the Goddess, the Maiden, as she was created in the spring from the flowers, the Mother as she chose her own lover at Beltane, associated with the Spring and Summer, and then the Crone, as she became transformed into the night owl, signifying the transformation into our wise woman form, and associated with the dark half of the year, the Autumn and Winter.
If you’d like an amusing take on her story check this one out!
A Simple Solitary Beltane Goddess Ritual
As the flowers begin to bloom and the birds begin to sing their melodic mating calls, this is a sacred time of manifesting new beginnings, especially related to love, marriage, children and abundance.
Naturally, there are many beautiful goddesses associated with this sacred day. Just a few include: Wild huntress Artemis, mother, queen and magician Isis, sensual Aphrodite, magical Rhiannon, primal creatress Shakti, patron goddess of marriage Hera, flower queen Flora, lover and warrior Freya, and Mayan fertility goddess Xochiquetzal, (cho–kee–ketz–al) and feisty rebellious Welsh goddess Blodeuwedd.
For us women, this is a time of honouring and celebrating our beauty, fertility (at any age as fertility is not just the physical act, but also is our creativity), sexuality, sensuality, connection to nature and ability to be a sacred vessel for the divine. This is a time of healing and releasing any shame and guilt around our bodies and sexuality, a time for revering ourselves and all of life’s natural pleasures.
It is a time to reclaim and rejoice in being sensual, being women, being alive.
Here are two Goddess rituals and a special prayer to embrace all the gifts of this day:
Immerse Yourself in Flowers:
Buy fresh cut flowers, plant seeds for new ones in pots or your garden, drink a flower petal tea, take a flower petal bath, place flower petals all over your home, make a garland, wear a floral perfume or oil blend. In any way you wish and can, let flowers fill your day. On May 1st, get up at dawn, bathe your face in the morning dew (this will bring beauty to you for the whole year!), bring in the May blossom (with the fairies permission) to place on your altar.
Burn Your Old Story:
Write a letter of all the negative, old struggles you are ready to release. Reflect on any patterns, habits or challenges that came up during the winter months. At the end of your letter, write a releasing intention like this one:
“Dear God-Goddess and my Higher Self, I now release all these patterns to you for healing, purification and transmutation. I am free. I am blessed. So it is.”
Safely burn the letter in a fireproof pot/cauldron and surrender its ashes to the earth.
Invoke the Goddesses:
This is a beautiful time to honour the Goddesses within and around you. Start by creating a Goddess alter. Place an offering of flowers, fruits, and anything that represents fertility, sexuality, creativity and the Goddess to you on this alter.
Then, say this or any other prayer that comes from your heart to honour the sacred feminine gifts of Beltane:
Dear Artemis, make my aim clear and true, let me run free and wild like you.
Dear Isis, help me heal my deepest wounds and create my life anew.
Dear Aphrodite, let me embrace my body as my temple, and enjoy life’s sweetest pleasures.
Dear Rhiannon, let me awaken my magic and wisdom, that I may be the queen of my kingdom.
Dear Shakti, awaken your primal power within me, and rise in bliss within and through me.
Dear Hera, bless me in sacred union with my beloved, on earth as we dwell already in the spiritual realm.
Dear Flora, crown me with a garland of flowers, and bless me with beauty in all hours.
Dear Freya, help me know that it is safe and right for me to be lavished and ravished.
Dear Xochiquetza, (cho-kee–ketz–al) help me conceive, nurture and birth every dream within my heart.
And Dear Blodeuwedd, grant me the gift of independence, the right to have my own free will, and the wisdom to know that all faces and ages of the Goddess are beautiful and Divine.
Enjoy the rest of your day with time in nature, dancing with friends, eating delicious fresh food and giving thanks for all the blessings you have, and all those to come.
Give thanks for being a woman, and a living goddess.
The Green Man
The Green Man is the masculine element very much in evidence at Beltane. He is Lord of the Forest, of Nature. He protects the Goddess, the land, the animals. Beltane is all about their Sacred Divine Union. He heralds the Spring after the long winter, and symbolises the cycle of life, death and rebirth, which is the key theme to all of our pagan customs and rituals.
Seen as the consort of the Maiden Goddess at spring, he is a primal force and energy of Nature. Depicted in many forms in churches, and around our villages, he is another ancient symbol with many connections reaching far back into our dim and ancient past. He can be connected with the Oak King and the Holly King, who each hold sway over the light and dark half of the year. He is depicted adorned with acorns and hawthorn leaves, symbols of fertility.
Although I feel at this time my service is very much based in empowering women, working as a Priestess with and for the Goddess, as we raise our vibrations here on earth and move into the Golden Age, the Age of Aquarius, the energies are very much focused now on the union and balance of the Divine Feminine and Sacred Masculine. For too long the patriarchal dark energies (which are not masculine, but very much entrenched in power and domination over people, but particularly women and minorities) have had control, and so to balance this, the Goddess energy has had to come into play – and we still have much to do – but we need to honour the Sacred Masculine as well as the Goddess, for one cannot exist without the other – we need balance, and so you may feel drawn to honour the Green Man, as well as the Goddess, personified at Beltane as the May Queen, which would be perfect at this time. Focusing on this Sacred Union – for one cannot exist without the other – the perfect balance of masculine and feminine. And when I talk about this, I am not labelling “Men” and “Women” – there is gender fluidity in all of nature, what I am alluding to is energy, the Yin and Yang, two parts coming together to form balance.
Green Man Ritual
Create an outside altar if you don’t already have one, to honour the Green Man, the Elementals and land spirits. The Green Man image is found easily all over the place now, and so is easy to incorporate into an outside altar space. Just having a garden plaque to honour his energy is enough to acknowledge this most ancient and powerful being. I went out into my garden to photograph my Green Man plaques, not realising how many I had! He is another one of our archetypes that has entrenched himself into our collective psyche without us barely noticing anymore. Maybe if we start paying attention, we can shift the balance.
Beltane Rituals & Ideas for Your Altar
Beltane is a time of new life, nature is blooming and is at her most spectacular, so bring some of the flowers that are in the garden inside. Create a Beltane altar, with flowers, and colours that represent the season, vibrant greens, yellows, and orange, use crystals and images that represent fun, love, whatever you feel you want to place there that represents the joy, passion and abundance of the season, maybe visual representations of the May Queen Goddess, or The Green Man. Light a candle to represent the fire that transforms, that clears away the old to bring in the new, think about the things you wish to manifest into your life, to grow and nurture over the coming summer months. Write a list of all the things that no longer serve you, that you wish to leave behind you, and burn them (safely in a fire proof dish), returning the ashes into Mother Earth to be absorbed and transformed. Have a dance to celebrate, to ground, bang a drum and make music to drive out the last of the darkness, to send a blessing to Mother Earth, The Green Man and all living things! Be kind to one another, and be kind to this beautiful Earth home..plant a garden, grow food, grow grow grow!!!
Light a fire! – get the fire pit out and sit around the fire with friends and family! As it stands, it is looking like we will be allowed to gather outside with friends and family now, for the first time in a long time, we definitely couldn’t last Beltane! What better way to honour the vital, passionate loving energies of the season than with our loved ones! The emotions will be high, allow the Goddess and the Green Man to hold those energies as we start to unlock our lives and reconnect with one another!
There’s no getting away from it, Beltane is about fertility, passion and sex! If you are at home with a partner, take an intimate bath, light candles and fill it with flower petals, give each other a massage – take time to appreciate each other, the simple pleasures of being together and connect with the energies of the Goddess and The Green Man. If you are on your own, you can still honour your body, have a beautiful sensual bath, spend time massaging your favourite body cream on, have a pampering session and give thanks that you are well, vibrant and healthy, a perfect living embodiment of the Goddess or the God. (see the solitary Goddess ritual above)
Back to This Year & My Offerings
So, as I look to Beltane 2021, and the return to face to face work, I will be offering all the usual body and energy treatments, as well as a couple of new ones! Training in holistic therapies is still a huge focus, as is running the meditation course that has proved so popular online over lockdown. I still want to be able to offer all my online work, as well as returning to the face to face. Not only have I been able to work with and connect with people all over the country, and the world, but I feel that peoples needs have shifted. This time has taught us that we can all work and learn differently. I will continue to offer my seasonal ritual and meditation events at the pagan festivals online, the next one is Beltane, on the 2nd of May.
Beltane Ritual & Meditation Event
Join me on this guided visualisation to connect with the Green Man and the May Queen, as we bring our focus to the exuberant energies of this time of renewal and growth. Sitting in stillness, in Nature, connecting with and asking these ancient embodiments of raw natural earth energy for guidence and renewal. As we move into these new earth energies, into the Age of Aquarius it is vital we begin to balance the Divine Feminine with the Sacred Masculine, within our inner being, and our outer world…as above so below.
This is an online meditation via zoom. The investment is £7.
Please email me on firstname.lastname@example.org to book your place via PayPal or bank transfer… All you will need is a comfortable quiet space to be still for an hour or so. An altar, crystals, flowers, candles are all optional. You can have your eternal flame, or a candle, and your seeds you sowed at Ostara, or as always, nothing. There will be an opportunity to interact afterwards but there is no expectation or pressure to do so.
I hope to see you there.
Therapies & New Offerings
The focus on energy work, and shifting emotional blocks within the body, working with the bodies own intuition to balance and bring harmony has really stepped up a gear, and I have been busy co-creating with my business partner from Angelic Touch. Simone and I created Angelic Aurora two years ago initially to bring our skills and passions together to help and work with people at end of life, but over this last year we have seen us shift our perceptions, raise our vibrations together, working in this realm and with the unseen realms – doing our “woo woo stuff”, and also working together more offering pamper parties, festival events and corporate well-being work. We have our first festival booked in August – a grown up festival with an eclectic boho vibe, the Yin and Yang Festival at the VO Polo Club in Market Harborough, 13th – 15th August – their tagline is “heal by day, party by night”. Angelic Aurora will be there in a beautiful bell tent offering healing, massage, reiki, and reflexology, tickets are still available.
Together we have worked on a new type of massage, Myofascial Healing Massage – this is a very slow, gentle but powerful technique that unlocks stored emotions held deep within the body and the fascia, using holding moves and very slow, deliberate stretches, along with breathwork and energy work, we can help to dial the nervous system down, soothing the body, releasing emotions, and putting it into a more relaxed state.
Our balance technique works on showing you how to tap into your own inner guidance and wisdom to access your intuition, enabling you to empower yourself and the direction your healing should take.
The way we are working is much more free flowing and less structured than many of the usual massage techniques, although of course we do still offer all the usual modalities and training.
Healing Ceremony & Rituals
Simone and I are also working together to offer healing circles. Bringing together both of our skills these healing rituals and ceremonies combine sitting in circle, meditation and elements of shamanic journey work to bring deep inner healing and transformation.
These times have put peoples bodies and emotional systems into unbelievable stress – the isolation we have felt has disconnected us on deeply traumatic levels, by coming together in small groups and working through our personal journeys and traumas together, we can begin the healing process. You will leave feeling renewed, refreshed and reconnected!
House & Land Clearing & Blessing
We are also able to combine our energies and unique talents to offer energetic clearings and blessings on homes, buildings and land. Sometimes, we can just “feel” that a place has a heavy or negative energy – maybe something has happened there, or perhaps you have split from a partner and need to clear the energy. This isn’t about “ghostbusting” or anything sensational like that. The land and buildings absorb and exude energy just like us, as we keep our own auras and spiritual energy cleansed, so it makes a difference in our surroundings. Not that we are saying that energies, spirits, might not be in a place, as we believe they are all around us! But we also believe that if an energy is around then who are we to demand they move on!? Afterall, they would have been there before us, and it is quite rude and disrespectful to march into a place all guns blazing! For us it is much more about working with the energy of the client to see why or even if they perceive things as negative – it’s usually a case of changing our perceptions and energy, to lighten them and bring in a positive slant.
Dying Matters Week – Soul Midwife, Death Priestess Work
Simone and I are both Soul Midwives, holistic end of life practitioners – we sit with people at the end of their lives, and support and guide the families at this most difficult of times. As well as running courses in how to prepare, not only for the sad event of losing a loved one, and how to empower yourself to be more in control, we also passionately believe that talking about death and dying, preparing for our own deaths using advance statements and decisions is so important.
Every year Dying Matters, which is a national organisation to raise awareness of death, dying and bereavement, runs Dying Matters Awareness Week. From the 10th to the 16th of May there will be all sorts of events going on that people can join in, to enable us to talk about this most taboo of subjects. The topic this year is “are you in a good place to die?”.
For our part, Angelic Aurora End of Life Practitioners will be hosting two online events, the first is a Facebook live event, the link for which is here, on Tuesday 11th May at 7pm, for around an hour – where we will be talking about all things related to death and dying, particularly about how we can plan for our own deaths, no matter what age we are – in fact the sooner the better! You will be able to ask questions through the message section. The second event will follow that up with a more personal private zoom event on Saturday 15th May, at 11am where we can explore in more detail and privately some of the elements we covered. Please contact either me on email@example.com or Simone on firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or to register for the zoom event.
Sacred Elemental Celebrant
Last year I trained as a Sacred Elemental Celebrant. Initially I did the training because I thought it would give me more confidence in my circle work, holding space for women, and it has!… but in doing the training I have realised that I am passionate about being able to hold space, and create meaningful rituals and ceremonies for people. It feels even more important in these unprecedented strange times to connect with each other and the Earth using the ancient techniques, and in ways our Ancestors would have done.
I feel very honoured to now have been asked to be a trainer for the Sacred Celebrants Academy, so I can now pass on these unique skills to others! I will be travelling down once more to the magical Isle of Avalon in Glastonbury to spend extended time in the Goddess Temple honing these skills, and so by next year, 2022, I will be offering training in becoming a Sacred Celebrant.
Wow! This one has turned into a long piece! I hope you’ve been able to stick with me! It’s been a busy time, in the midst of global pause!! A paradox, as everything has been.
This year has taught us and shown us many things – yes it has been frightening and devisive, but we as humans are adaptable, courageous, strong, loving and resilient. Things in the world, how we were treating our Mother Earth, and each other, and ourselves, needed to change. Some people have called this “the great reset” – I hope we can learn, I hope we can change, treat each other and our beautiful planet earth home kinder, with more respect.
This has been life-changing for all of us, and I know many people are scared of things unlocking, of “going back to normal” – will it ever be normal? Should it be? I cannot tell anyone what to do, but never feel pressured into doing anything you aren’t comfortable doing. Take things slowly – there is no rush – this year taught us all to slow down. Listen to your own inner wisdom and do what feels right for you.
Sending you all love, healing and blessings for Beltane and Summer
Green blessings, Sam XXX