31 October 2010

Bealtaine Magickal Retreat


For the last three years the Temple of the Dark Moon has been holding various overnight magickal retreats deep within Mt Crawford forest, about an hour's drive from the covenstead and Adelaide's CBD.  These retreats have usually coincided with various Sabbats, with this being the second such Bealtaine retreat.

The spacious and well equipped farmhouse that we hire offers stunning views of St Vincent Gulf as well as a rolling tree covered hills (both native as well as pine forest) giving the impression that despite being on about 15 minutes from civilisation, that we are in the middle of nowhere.  It is not unusual to be greated by wandering emus or kangaroos during our stays within the forest.
 
Cauldron jumping
Unlike last year, or indeed only a few days ago, when we had experienced glorious sunshine, it appeared as if the old Cailleach (the Hag of Winter) was hanging onto the season with great gusto with the quickly plummetting temperatures, rain and whirling winds. But this did not dampen our spirits, Bealtaine was still welcomed in.

Circlettes for the Springs were made, as well as representatives of the Maypole, all in readiness for the evening ritual which took place in the evening, and which had to be adapted due to the weather - the coven cauldron was used opposed to the bale fire.

Bealtaine Altar
Between the showers, and prior to the evening's activities, there was still opportunity to venture into the forests where, deep in the valley, the pines swayed magnificantly in the wind.

A magnificent feast was enjoyed before we relaxed around the roaring fire as the night embraced us, with the underpining theme of Bealtaine not appearing to be too far from conversation.

Around the Maypole
On the day of Bealtaine itself, this morning (Sunday), the weather had cleared and the sun shone upon us.  Yet the wind reminded us that Winter was not all that far away.  The Maypole was finally erected and it was not long before the familar chant could be heard ringing out:

"Unite, unite, let us unite
For Summer's come in today ..."

With the Bealtaine magickal retreat being the last one to be held for this year, it is wonderful to be able to end the year on such a high note, as despite the weather turning out to be not what we had anticipated, a funny and relaxing time was held amongst friends where the shift into the light half of the year was acknowledged.

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