As Beltaine Season comes around (in the Southern Hemisphere where I am), it is a time for remembering the sensuousness of the present moment, and our deep desire for this sensuousness. Deep within every present moment is the ever-present ‘glue’ that holds all things in form, that unites the Cosmos. If it were not present in every moment then we would not be here. It is a primordial essence. It may be named as a ‘Holy Lust’. The ancients called this Holy Lust, this primordial Essence “Ishtar”, “Venus”, “Aphrodite”, and perhaps other names, for the Allurement deep down in things at all times. Beltaine may be a particular Season for celebrating this attraction, this Desire, as it expresses itself multivalently.
So in PaGaian tradition for Beltaine ceremony I like to call the directions this way:
All hail the East, presence of Water! We desire you, thirst for you, as all have done before us.
A water jug is taken around the circle, and water mixed with rose essence is poured into hands, for all to drink. Each participant affirms: I desire you, thirst for you, as all have done before me.
All hail the North, presence of Fire! We desire you, gather round you, as all have done before us.
A small cauldron of fire is lit, and each comes to the flame and passes their hands over it affirming: I desire you, gather round you, am drawn to you, as all have done before me.
All hail the West, presence of Earth! We desire you, are held by you, desire to make our mark with you, as all have done before us.
Each comes to a plate of wet earth, puts their hand on it and marks a piece of card paper, and affirms: I desire you, to make my mark with you, as all have done before me.
All hail the South, presence of Air! We desire you, reach for you, as all have done before us.
A bouquet of scented flowers is taken around the circle, and as each participant breathes in the smell of the flowers, they affirm: I desire you, reach for you, as all have done before me.
The celebrant affirms: We are united in our Desire – for Water, Fire, Earth, and Air (PACING THE CIRCLE) – with each other, and with all who have come before us and all who will come after us, in their desire and their longing. Our desire, our longing, is the Beloved, is the Universe, desiring in us. Feel it – this Holy Desire. This is the Centre of Creativity …
And She is “that which attained at the end of Desire”[i], deep within all things, and how we are held here on this Earth; and we can feel this sensuousness, and dwell with this relationship we have at all times.
Enjoy the ecstasy within the present moment, whenever you can.
The above ‘calling of the directions’ is excerpted from the offered Beltaine ceremonial script in Chapter 7 of PaGaian Cosmology: Re-inventing Earth-based Goddess Religion by Glenys Livingstone Ph.D.
[i] from The Charge of the Goddess by Doreen Valiente, quoted in full by Starhawk, The Spiral Dance, p. 90-91.