“Assist me to erect the ancient altar, at which in days past all worshipped, the great altar of all things. For in old times woman was the altar. Thus was the altar made and placed.”
May 1st is the Celtic pagan holiday of Beltane, which marks the transition from spring to summer. Beltane is a celebration of fertility, potency, and life. Some pagans celebrate this holiday with the “Great Rite” — a sexual ritual that brings together the male and female, god and goddess, the hunter and the virgin goddess, as a way to honor the spring and ensure fertility for the coming season.
Even though we are not pagan or have been trained in the ways of pagan rituals, we still want to honor the change of this season and to use this powerful time to fertilize our seeds of intention for our own lives and for the world. We have seen the power of using carefully cultivated sexual energy to amplify intentions and infuse them with power and potency. We are creating our own Beltane-inspired ritual for the evening of May 1st, and want to invite you to join us.
May 1st, 2020 – 9 – 11 PM EST, 6 PM – 8 PM PST
Online Ritual Overview
As with most gatherings in this Covid-present world, this ritual will take place online through Zoom. If you have let us know that you will be joining us, we will send the zoom link to you directly.
We will be creating a sacred and safe space using a mixture of ritual practices and agreements between us all. The two-hour gathering will include time to get to know the other participants and to share the desires and intentions you want to fertilize.
We will close the ritual by returning the energy we cultivate together to the earth to bless all beings. We will also lead everyone in a collective, yet solitary ritual practice, inspired by the Great Rite, including casting a circle, creating the woman as altar, the eightfold kiss, and the sexual consecration of your intentions.
While we will be guiding and giving suggestions, everyone has full control over how they choose to embody, share, and be witnessed in their connection. The group will likely be an assortment of couples and solo practitioners. While this ritual is about the coming together of the masculine- feminine duality, we all need to remember that both masculine and feminine are present within all of us, regardless of our outward gender expression. For solo practitioners, this ritual is a chance to use both of those energies on your own to fertilize your intentions. As we guide everyone through this ritual, we have added modifications for those practicing without a second person.
At the bottom of this page is more information on the history of Beltane, the background on this ritual, as well as information on transmutation using sexual energy. Please read these sections in your preparation for the event.
During the day on May 1st, we encourage you to spend time with your feet on the earth, connecting to the energy of the planet and this seasonal change. As you connect, spend some time breathing and thinking about what you would like to fertilize in the ritual — a new idea, a healing, a connection, a condition. Please bring this intention with you to the ritual, as we will be sharing them with the group.
Before the ritual begins, prepare a comfortable nest for yourself, in a private bedroom, outside, where you feel best suits the ritual. Surround the nest with fresh flowers, at least one unlit candle (with a lighter nearby), and any other symbols of spring that are available to you (eggs, fresh branches, a bowl of rain water). You also may want to test out your camera to ensure that you have the technology working and the set-up as you’d like it, before the ritual begins.*
Please explore your desires, excitements, boundaries, and fears with yourself (and your partner) before the ritual. While we ask that you stay in the ritual until we close the circle, we also support you taking care of your own needs, and you are welcome to move or turn off the camera at any point.
You will be invited to remove all layers of clothing, as you feel comfortable, during the ritual. To get into the spring and Beltane spirit even further, please feel free to wear bright colors, items that make you feel joyful or sexual, items that will help you embody the maiden or the hunter, or just wear nothing at all.
Lastly, we have added information below about the history of Beltane, the background for this ritual, and transmutation using sexual energy. We were going to read these during the ritual, but we want to save our in-person time for in-person experiences. Please read these sections before the ritual starts.
- Personal intention
- Read history sections below
- Nest space with fresh flowers
- Test your technology
- Unlit candle and lighter
* Originally, we had planned to include a glass of wine in the ritual, but we have removed that portion. No need to bring wine, but you are still welcome to enjoy some in advance of the ritual. Make it sacred consumption — Wine is a gift from the earth, requiring all of the elements in its making. The glass holding the wine is the chalice, the feminine container from which new life is born.
Background on Beltane
The word ‘Beltane’ originates from the Celtic God ‘Bel’, meaning ‘the bright one’ and the Gaelic word ‘teine’ meaning fire. Together they make ‘Bright Fire’, or ‘Goodly Fire’ and traditionally bonfires were lit to honor the Sun. Beltane is a celebration of the potency of the earth and the forces of nature. This is the beginning of the most active part of the year and the beginning of summer.
Most of us have heard of dancing around the Maypole as a popular and familiar image of May Day, but I was surprised to learn of its symbolism. The Maypole is a phallic pole, often made from birch, was inserted into the Earth representing the potency of the God. The ring of flowers at the top of the Maypole represents the fertile Goddess. Its many colored ribbons and the ensuing weaving dance symbolize the spiral of Life and the union of the Goddess and God, the union between Earth and Sky, a marriage between the masculine and feminine aspects of life.
Some Pagans see the first spring holiday, Eostara (what the Christians call Easter) is a time of gentle coming-together, tender love-making between the two polarities. And Beltane is when that passion reaches the peak in fiery urgency and wild abandon… the moment when the union of God and Goddess erupts and opens the Veil Between The Worlds, as all orgasm does. When the Goddesses and Gods create and experience this “breakthrough,” it opens the Gate for the whole Earth. This is the Gate through which life comes into the world.
This is why some Pagans see Beltane as the time where the Veil Between The Worlds is very thin, surpassed in that regard only by Samhain (or Halloween) — the other opening of the Gate and thinning of the veil.
Some pagans use the ritual called the “Great Rite” to celebrate Beltane. It is probably the most well known or heard about pagan rituals. Today it is a rite of sexual intercourse that pays homage to the polarity of male/female; god/goddess, priest/priestess. To many Pagans, sex is holy — a manifestation of that essential polarity which pervades and activates the whole universe, from Macrocosm to Microcosm, and without which the universe would not exist.
The idea for the Great Rite is to generate Divine energy for a specific purpose, such as to favor the couple with fertility or abundance of their individual family. In the ritual, the couple spends time in meditation prior to their union to connect with the Divine Universe. This act raises their energy to a higher level of reverence to distinguish this moment as something more special and important than other acts of love making. All of which culminates in the creation of energy for their specified intent, and it’s release into the ethereal world for manifestation.
The Great Rite invocation specifically declares that the body of the woman taking part is an altar, with her womb and generative organs as its sacred focus, and reveres it as such.
Background on this Ritual
We are not a pagan nor do we want to appropriate traditions that are not ours. The idea for this ritual came to me as I tuned into my body and could feel the excitement and aliveness that comes with longer days, full leaves on the trees, colorful flowers, and powerful spring storms. We have been practicing sex magic for a few years — cultivating our sexual energy and putting it towards an intention or focus. Our magic rituals always seem to have a beneficial impact on our intentions, and often result in deep, magic sexual experiences. I wanted to offer an experience of shared sex magic to my friends to support us all in realizing our intentions for the coming season, and to use our collective energy to fertilize and amplify a larger intention that will benefit all beings.
I began to research what other traditions are utilized during this time of year, and learned more about Beltane and the Great Rite. I loved the parallels between the sex magic we were practicing, and the beliefs behind the Great Rite ritual. My Celtic ancestors may have practiced this type of ritual (I hope they did), but I have no way of knowing. I have adapted a few pieces of the Great Rite ritual that I read about in my research — the idea of woman as altar, the eightfold kiss, and embodying the maiden and hunter.
Transmutation Using Sexual Energy
The term “transmutation” has several definitions, but the one that applies to this ritual is how it is used when dealing with alchemy: transmutation is the supposed conversion of base metals into metals of greater value, especially into gold or silver. That is what we are aiming to do here, but instead of metals, we are working with intentions and desires.
During this ritual we are going to be using sexual energy for our transmutation. Sexual energy is a bridge that directly connects you to the life force that runs through us all, and all beings on this planet. Using sexual energy to transmute our intentions, means taking those intentions and sending them out into the world on the same frequency as this life force, which is usually a higher and more resonate frequency that we operate on on a day to day basis.
As we call in our sexual energy, and raise ourselves into ecstatic states, keep holding your intentions in your mind and body. Feel and see the intentions as though they have already happened. Hold gratitude for them coming to fruition, and feel the pleasure that comes as you know these intentions are reality, already here, already complete.
And then at the end of the ritual, before we close the circle, we will invite you to send all of that energy down through your root chakra and into the Earth. Allow the Earth to re-ground you, but also to take that energy and to share it with others. Offer it back to the planet to bless all beings.