Not a great way to go into one of the most holy days of the year, but that's where we are none the less. Beltane is tomorrow and, as is my usual ritual, I'll be outside at dawn to greet the sun. I'll stand in white, facing East, chalice in hand and smile as the rays touch the water I'll use throughout the day for washing and cooking.
And I'll think of those who wake and greet the sun each day because they have no homes to shield them from the changing weather. I'll think of those who greet the sun each day because they're only just getting home from work at what might be a very thankless job that puts them in harm's way. I'll think of those who greet the sun because they've sat vigil all night for loved ones they've lost. Those people don't choose to rise early from a warm bed and a sleeping partner to stand in the growing sunlight and worship at their leisure. Tomorrow I will pray for them.
My rituals as a solitary are simple - there isn't a lot that needs to be said out loud when it's just you and the Goddess. In fact, if you were to look at me during rites and not know what I was about then it'd likely look like I was whispering to a cup of water really early in the morning, and then looking in the grass for a lost earring or something. But that's all it is when you're celebrating the Sabbat by yourself.
It's been a magical aid sort of week - a friend with a sadness that needs easing, a sister with a pestilence that needs to be cleansed from her, another sister with something very precious that was lost and must be found, and my own dear love who has been sick for far too long. Tomorrow I'll pray for all of them too.
I have a lot of prayers to say tomorrow morning.
My ceremony: Beltane for the Solitary
A chalice with plain water
a bit of bread
a white tealight candle
Wake before sunrise and walk through every room in your house, look around and make a mental list of things you want to clean up. Take time in the dark of morning to be thankful for the house you have.
Fill your chalice with fresh, clear water and be thankful for the gift of clean water.
Pick up your bit of bread and be thankful for the food you have.
Walk outside, barefoot if possible, and feel the cool morning air on your skin, the wet grass on your feet. Look at the horizon and know the sun is rising again as you look on. Know that it rises every morning.
Wash your face and hands in the dew on the grass, soaking in the beauty of nature.
Hold your bread before you and offer it to the Earth, to the spirits of those gone before, to the fae and other kin that live around your house. Set it beside a tree or plant as an offering and leave it there.
Place the candle on the ground in front of you and surround it with twigs and leaves that you find around you. Wait to the light the candle.
As the sun starts to rise, hold your chalice before you and watch the rays of the sun falling on the water. Take this time to speak to the Goddess and/or the God. Thank them, pray for those who need it, and welcome the warmth of Spring and Summer back into your life.
Light the candle and greet the fire of the sun with the fire of your tiny bonfire. Watch the smoke rise and mix with the fog of morning.
Ideally you would watch the full sunrise and conclude your rites later in the morning. My schedule on the weekdays is not so free.
If you cannot watch the full sunrise, wait until you can see at least a quarter of the sun above the horizon and then thank the Quarters for being there, carry your lit candle and the full chalice back inside and go straight to your shower. Using part of the water and still with your lit candle, wash yourself and cleanse yourself of the winter and the dark, and bring in the fire of Beltane.
Place the chalice on your stove and use the rest of the water that night when you make dinner. If you don't make dinner that night, simply drink it before going to bed.
Carry the candle (extinguished) with you all day as a reminder of the fires burning today to bless fields and livestock. Tonight, when you're home from your day, light the candle again and carry it from room to room, blessing your house with the new fire.
Wash your doors and windows with water infused with lemon and rosemary and sage, blessing them and bringing them into the light, renewing all the wards as you go.
Sweep your whole house, get all the cobwebs from winter out and sprinkle sage and yarrow in all the corners of your rooms for grounding and warding.
Before you go to sleep, quiet your thoughts and relax, and know that you are among the Blessed.