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Beltane Burning

The ritual begins, the bonfire burning brightly; the rhythmic pulsing of drums permeates our souls.  The powers of the three realms are called upon, a blessing upon the land and her creatures, fertility and procreation granting full bellies and bountiful harvests ahead.  The pulsing of the drums drummed by those gathered around the fire, circled, beating, beating, beating…

The ritual continues, the male and female deities mate symbolically before and amongst us, and passions run high.  Drumming, boom, boom, boom, the couples leap across the flames, hand in hand; the honey mead flows through veins, vigor and vitality are feverish this holy night….

The leaders of the ritual end one portion of this rite and gather their drums, offering sips of mead one to the other.  The couples retreat into the shadows away from the fire, the drums beating rhythmically, steadily, slowly, methodically.  Gradually the pace quickens as the shadows become lively with the soft sounds of flesh on flesh and rustling blankets and grasses and leaves.  The windsong combines with the sounds of passion, gently and steadily becoming louder as does the gale of a sudden storm.  Drumming, drum, drum, drumming, drum….

Gradually all becomes once again quiet and calm as cheeks lay against shoulders and passions yield to relaxed pleasure, as the drumming ceases.  Gradually some of the revelers return from the shadows and take up their drums by the fire, but this time not as individuals but as pairs, the seeds of Beltane planted well.  They take up their drumming gently, not feverishly as before, and with knowing eyes watch as the Lord and the Lady who drummed for them drift quietly into the recently energetic shadows, a blush on her cheeks, the passion in their eyes not letting them see the others as they depart their midst.  As before, the drumming slowly increases in tempo as passions once again fill the realm.  When cries of pleasure are heard the drumming abruptly stops, and the mead is joyfully shared by drummers acknowledging that their debt has been repaid.  Quietly the circle of drummers drifts apart as they mingle, talk, sip, and eventually find their own blankets, being careful not to disturb the two who were so recently drummed for, sleep quietly and peacefully, cheek on shoulder.


Hemlock Evergreen, for Beltane 2004

© George Dula


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