My Beltuinn eve was spent out of town by the sea with the European shaman-folk feasting, chanting, dancing, and drumming. Dressed all in white, we listened to mythical stories and learned dances and songs to be performed at the upcoming BC Shamanic Conference (which I’m off to this Monday for a week). We sat around the altar prepared as a feast table and dined with the ancestors sharing strawberries, freshly baked bread, chocolate, a luscious fig cake, and pomegranate mead.
The theme of the ceremony was to remember we are spirits, that we fell from the stars, that everything is magic and everything is a sacred spirit. A beautiful message of animism – to treat plants, animals, and the rest of nature on par with human life as well as teachers and keepers of wisdom.
On the day of Beltuinn I made mead – blackcurrant mead. I’ve wanted to make it for a while but blackcurrants or juice are surprisingly hard to get a hold of and I couldn’t use Ribena due to the yeast-killing sulphate content. But I finally found pure blackcurrant syrup and juice. The yeast did not cooperate however. One trick to make it happy is to give the mead a bath. So into the bathtub filled with hot water went the primary fermentation bucket to create the moist, warm atmosphere that yeast loves so much.
I burned raw bee propolis and beat my bear hide drum to call and appease the spirits and my home filled with the smoky sweet scent of the resin. The second batch of yeast took and now I stir it every day and wait until the alcohol content is high enough to transfer it into the carboy.
I’m going to miss my ritual group’s annual Beltuin camp out due to the shamanic conference falling on the same weekend. It’s one of my favourite local rituals and in about its 22nd year and though I am sad about missing it, I’m looking forward to the conference and a week by the river surrounded by mountains. I’m going to miss saying farewell to my friend the May King and watch him die for a new king to take his place. I’m going to miss my friend the May Queen pass on her mantle to the new. I wish them both the best and many blessings upon whomever wins the challenges to become the new King and Queen of our group. The King is dead, long live the King! Hail the King! Hail the Queen!
Here are the posts about the past two Beltuinn’s my ritual group put on for your reading pleasure:
Hope you all had a wonderful Beltuinn full of mirth, mischief, and hopefully mead!