Reflections: Our First Sabbat Celebration

Written by: ED Johnston

It was a relatively small (around 10 people), but enthusiastic group that gathered to celebrate Beltane. Everyone was excited about how great the space was and we were looking forward to what this new venture would bring. The group consisted of seasoned ritual attendees and people who had never attended a public ritual before. This was an interesting experience for me as I am used to working with people who have been practicing for a decade or more. It was a challenge for me to remember to stop and ask questions of the participants and to make sure everyone understood what was happening. It was definitely a learning experience for me and I am much better prepared for Litha. I hope that it was a good experience for those first timers and that we will see them again.

CELEBRATING FERTILITY… PUBLICLY

Beltane is a fertility Sabbat. In lieu of such a public event, we opted not to go the literal route. So – we took the idea of fertilizing wishes for the community.

“Spring is here and on the farms baby animals are being born. The farmers markets are resuming and fertility is on the minds of pagans everywhere. People dance the maypole and jump bonfires in hopes that the gods will bless them with a child. Today we will honour fertility in a less literal way. Today we will be adding fertility energies not to our bodies but to our wishes.”

On the altar I have placed a wishing well. On the paper, write a wish you have for the community and place it in the well...

“On the altar I have placed a wishing well. On the paper, write a wish you have for the community and place it in the well…”

People were encouraged to make as many wishes as they wanted. The well filled up quickly with coloured paper.

Once all the wishes were placed in the well, we charged them with the following:

“These wishes I make in honour of the community.
We are worthy of its gifts
May the God and Goddess aid me in its blessing
Blessed be!”

The wishes were further charged with some fun Beltane chanting, dancing and energetic movements:

“Now in the name of fertility, let’s give some energy to these wishes so that they may grow. May our energies and those of the divine combine to make these wishes come true.”

YE OLDE POPULAR BELTANE CHANT

Of the God and the Goddess and the Yoni and the phallus
We are the children of the sacred blessed chalice.
We take it in our hands and we take it to our lips:
Taste the sweetest honey and taste the wine.
We taste the joy of living
And the joy of living is mine, mine mine!
The joy of living is mine, mine mine!
The joy of living is mine!

With the wishes charged and full of energy, it was now time for those who felt comfortable reading in public to read out the wishes we had made. It didn’t take long for a natural flow to happen as people dipped into the well and read out the wishes.

This is what everyone wished for (in their own words):

  • For new members of the community to feel welcome and find a place
  • I wish for creating strong, meaningful relationships within the pagan community
  • I wish the community supports its members emotionally, financially, and physically at all pagan events
  • Find careers that enables passion
  • To building strong and lasting friendships
  • I wish for housing to be more affordable for everyone in Vancouver
  • People support each other
  • I wish our community positive and loving interactions
  • For the Sabbats hosted by Pagan Pride to be increasingly well attended
  • The September Pagan Pride event to be well attended and cover its expenses
  • I wish for great success for Pagan Pride events
  • I wish our community health in body, mind, spirit, and relationship
  • That people are kind to each other
  • I wish for healing of body and mind
  • Be safe, supported, and financially stable
  • That the seekers & the teachers find each other
  • I wish the world could be cared for with greater importance
  • I wish the fertility of imagination to inspire us
  • I wish that the community became less judgemental
  • Find peace & love
  • Experience love
  • I wish for more communication between the paths
  • I wish that the community establishes greater synergy
  • I wish our community inspires leadership from its members
  • I wish for those that hunger for connection to their spirit, finds it

WISHING WELL REFLECTIONS

I found it interesting how many of the wishes included things that are under our control as a community. The participants were not wishing for the divine to step in and help us, but rather they were wishing that the community step-up and help ourselves. There were many wishes hoping that people would treat each other with kindness and that people in the community can connect with one another.

It’s clear that there are definite problems in our community that need to be addressed, and I hope that participants in the ritual and people reading this post take the challenge onto themselves to make these wishes come true.

I don’t believe there is a single unrealistic wish in this list – if we all work as a community to support one another. I was also very grateful for all the well wishes for Vancouver Pagan Pride. Many people will be surprised to know that I didn’t make any wishes for VPP’s success, as I was focusing on what I wish to see in the greater community. I was pleased to see that members of the community cared about VPP’s success as much as I do!

RELEASING THE WISHES

After the event, I took all the wishes home and wishesburned them in my cauldron to release their energies into the world. Afterwards, all of the ashes were scattered by the offering tree in my backyard.

May their magic grow.
Blessed Be!

 

Check out our next scheduled Sabbat celebration!

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