On Sunday, May 3rd, Líithi Lushede Coven held their public Beltane ritual at the gorgeous Waterfall Park in Independence, MO, just south of Kansas City. It rained both in the morning and at night, and was spectacularly muggy in the afternoon, but we had absolutely perfect weather for the ritual! We truly are heading towards the summer months now!
A huge thank you to everyone there (all 90-something people) for waiting for me to get there! I was running spectacularly behind as I haven't been feeling well lately and I wrote a text to fellow Circlemate Phaedra to let the High Priestess Gwenhwyfar Wyrrd know that her photographer would be a bit late. I anticipated arriving after the start of the circle but they instead delayed until I showed. Apparently, it worked out better for everyone as a few other people were running behind as well, but I cannot tell you how loved I felt and how appreciative I am that they would wait for me. It certainly wasn't expected, but definitely a welcomed surprise!
Speaking of all 90-something people...
What a turnout! Líithi Lushede events are the focal point of the Kansas City pagan community and they are growing more and more with each sabbat. Their rituals are quite a treat!
The ritual was ran by High Priestess Gwenhwyfar Wyrrd and Jason as High Priest. HPS Gwenhwyfar, Jason and the ladies of Líithi Lushede always make rituals fun, entertaining, informational and empowering, engaging the crowd while still focusing energy. They have a monumental task ahead of them each sabbat and always succeed!
The ritual began with by casting the circle and the calling of the elemental quarters in a clockwise direction.
Once each direction was called, an oil lantern was lit.
We then turned to the center to call upon the goddess, represented by Ariadne. While her goddess statute is of question, she is most often paired with the god called upon, which was...
Dionysus, the god of wine and fertility.
Much like last year, HPS Gwenhwyfar spent a little time talking about overindulgence and moderation, noting that both subjects Dionysus is associated with - alcohol and sex - can become addictions but can also be great when taken in moderation. We were then asked to close our eyes and "indulge" our other senses beyond sight, an exercise in understanding the power of our own bodies.
A bell was used for hearing, a floral branch for smell, feathers for touch and a chocolate candy for taste.
Juice from a squeezed grape was then transformed into wine. This wine was used to spread blessings of creativity upon the foreheads of all the attendants.
Music was then played by the bard, John Mitchell, along with Cathy Burchett on the drum and Joe Bleyenberg on bass. We had a full pagan band!
Some of the attendants even got into the music by dancing!
We then blessed chocolate-covered strawberries and juice as the cakes and ale and passed them around the circle.
In her excitement, HPS Gwenhwyfar closed out the circle quickly so that she could turn our attention towards the Maypole.
Gwenhwyfar gave a short tutorial on the basics of Maypole dancing and then, with the band in accompaniment, the attendants began the dance!
As always, while I enjoy a good Maypole dance as much as the next, I chose to stay back so I could get photos.
Of course, the Maypole dance didn't signify the end of the festivities.
Beyond socializing, there's always an immense amount of food and drink brought by the attendants in the sabbat potluck after ritual!
And there's the raffle, of course, where donated items and raffle tickets help Líithi Lushede fund events such as this one!
While the weather was actually delightful this year compared to last year's heat, my health just wouldn't let me stick around. So I said my farewells and headed home. That being said, going home early truly had nothing to do with the beautiful ritual HPS Gwenhwyfar and the ladies of Líithi Lushede put together, nor the amazing people who not only waited for me but always greet me happily when I attend. Events such as this one give me a true sense of community, something that I think is the cornerstone of pagan faith whether you're a solitary or have your own group. I truly encourage everyone to get out and attend events such as this in your local community! It's a worthwhile investment of time that will help strengthen your path as a pagan and/or witch!
Here's hoping my readers had a wonderful and festive May Day!