Mistdancer Beltaine newsletter

As I write this we are rapidly approaching the Celtic festival of Bealtinne (more commonly spelt as Beltaine), one of the four ‘cross-quarter’ or fire festivals of the Irish and Scots Celts. The traditional date for Bealtinne is the 1st May and marked the time where the cattle and other livestock were driven out into the fields and hills after a winter in pens around the villages and farmsteads. In Wales it is known as Calan Mai. It is a time of fertility and a marking of the flowering of the May blossom, and in some modern traditions it is celebrated at the time of the first flowering of the hawthorn. In times past branches of the hawthorn were used to decorate the outside of houses to mark the new growth and fertility of this time of year. However to bring the hawthorn indoors was considered to bring bad luck. On Bealtinne eve in Scotland and Ireland the hearth fires would be put out – for the only time in the entire year – and large communal fires lit to mark this sacred time.  As the Bealtinne fire burned down to embers, folk would take some of the embers to relight their own fires, thus sharing in the fertility and luck of the season. Bannock cakes (a sweet unleavened bread) would be baked and shared in many areas in Ireland and Scotland.

​More often, and for practical convenience in our busy modern world, these days it is celebrated on a week-end close to the original date; many Bealtinne celebrations will be taking place over the weekends of the 28th and 29th April, while my own celebration and gathering will be on the 5th May. Old forgotten traditions are being reawakened, with Morris Dancing and maypole dancing returning after falling out of favour. It is a time of great celebration and fun.

​By celebrating these festivals we allow ourselves in a small way to re-attune ourselves to the rhythms of nature, stepping away from the everyday hectic pressures that we may feel.  We can stop and feel the changes the turning wheel of the seasons brings and, being in that flow, become more in tune with our own natural sense of being.  If you can, even if you are alone, allow yourself an hour or so to stop and honour this liminal sacred time; if we are working shamanically we need to be in that flow, in tune with nature and the spirits if we are to be able to communicate and work effectively.

​Meanwhile the weather continues to play tricks on us, with the heatwave of a week or so ago replaced by wet and chilly times.  I know I find it difficult to cope with the fluctuations, so spare a thought for the birds, bees and other creatures who are attempting to simply survive while raising their young.  I was listening to a programme on Radio 4 the other day where they were describing the effects of these periods of hot dry weather followed by long cold rainy spells; timing is everything in nature, and things are getting out of synch, causing huge problems for our wildlife.  And that’s ignoring the effects pesticides and our insane desire to cull and control.

Whether you believe climate change is a natural phenomenon or is being exacerbated by human activity we all have a duty to do whatever we can to minimise our effects on nature.  But perhaps that’s the subject of a future newsletter.

Courses, Workshops and events

I will be leading a Bealtinne celebration on the 5th May near Wantage. It is open to all, though space is limited. As I write there’s still room for a few more.  If you’d like to come please visit my website at https://mistdancer.org.uk/contact-me/ and send me a message.   

I think I may have caused some mayhem in my last newsletter by sharing some wrong dates for my upcoming workshops! These are the correct details:An Introduction to Shamanism
July 7th 2018 9:30pm – 5:30pm. Court Hill Centre near Wantage

A one day basic course covering what shamanism is, how to journey, the three shamanic worlds, finding our own power animal and some basic shamanic healing techniques.

Based on core shamanic methods, this workshop will form a strong foundation for further exploration of shamanism and is a vital part of ensuring you have a good, strong relationship with your spirit guides and animal helpers from the beginning of your explorations.  The day will be participative and fun as well as opening doorways into the spirit world as you learn to journey safely and effectively. Places on this course are limited to a maximum of 16.

£35.00 (plus £1.39 PayPal fee)

Finding Deep Roots
August 18th 2018 9:30pm – 5:30pm. Court Hill Centre near Wantage

In this full day course, we will explore the roots of our native spirituality and the fundamentals of shamanic practice. Working with the spirits of Earth, we will take our shamanic journeying skills and learn how to find our missing soul parts, bringing them back to begin the integration of who were brought to this lifetime to be. We will spend time in nature, learn how to root deeply, work with nature spirits and learn how to communicate more deeply with them. The day will be practical and experiential.

£45 (plus£1.73 PayPal fee)

Visit https://mistdancer.org.uk/workshops-and-training/​ for full details and info on how to book.

​Blessings of Bealtinne,

Christine Vixx