Tired of the emphasis on the heterosexual relationship between The Goddess and the Gods in most ritual drama cycles which celebrate the seasonal Wheel of the Year, we have created a mythic cycle which focusses exclusively on different faces of the Goddess and, sometimes, the interplay between Her different aspects.
Over a year we discussed which Goddesses and their myths we associate with each festival. From these we selected stories which lent themselves to ritual drama and created a “script” for that festival’s ritual, with one or more women being honoured to carry (literally, to be possessed by) the Goddess. We are also inspired by the wealth of ancient sites in West Cornwall in which to enact our sacred dramas.
Here in the fourth of our eight-part series we publish our BELTANE ritual, dedicated to Aphrodite. We offer these scripts as our contribution to the myriad creative ways to celebrate the Goddess at the seasonal festivals.
We gathered in a tiny private stone circle in the middle of bluebell woods. We invoked Aphrodite into B, who was dressed in red, looking pretty and sexy. She led the two women further into the woods, then gave them their instructions separately. D was to wander in the woods and find offerings for Aphrodite. L was to come to her when she heard the rattle.
Following the sound of the rattle to the warm sunny clearing in the woods, L found Aphrodite, huge, naked and incredibly beautiful. Sexily she removed L’s clothes, then blessed/massaged all her body with ‘Aphrodite’s Favourite’ oil. What a gift of sensuality and stroking that was: such pleasure as her naked body touched L’s back.
L was then sent to wander in the woods to look for gifts to bring to Aphrodite. It was a fabulous spring day, sunny and still. L meandered about, smelling as well as seeing the abundant bluebells, finding bright green new beech leaves and furns unfurling. L found a baby feather to tickle Aphrodite gently, a five-fold primrose, soft moss, sticky couch grass and crackly dry leaves – all very tactile. Naked and barefoot, L had an incredible feeling of innocence and freedom, proud and happy in her body outdoors.
When L was called back to Aphrodite’s clearing, she found D sitting there, also naked. L offered her gifts to Aphrodite, which she received with much sensuous delight. She inspired the women to outrageous appreciation of their beautiful bodies by adoring her own, giggling as she stroked herself with bluebells! Then she put a red ribbon in each woman’s hair, symbolising her gifts of love, sexuality, pleasure and power. We danced joyfully and loudly with percussion instruments “I am the Queen of the Dance”.
Aphrodite gestured to the women to sit, then gave them the gift of exploring their five senses with their eyes shut: a tinkling bell for hearing, bluebells to smell, strawberries to taste, Goddess figurines to touch. Their senses were so hightened, exploring the contours of a few goddess figurines was an amazing experience! The deep love of the female form and the power of the female body in those Maltese Goddesses washed over and through L. Then finally Aphrodite told the women to open their eyes and see the red candle. We lit this for passion and danced naked through the woods!
Next came more relishing of visual pleasures as we arranged the flowers and other beautiful things we’d found in the baskets she gave to each woman.
Beltane picture by Geraldine Andrew
From these vessels and from the earth we then drew up power into our bodies, filling ourselves with all the beauty and strength and delight of this very Taurean Beltane! We stroked ourselves and each other with bluebells, then the women were left to meditate while Aphrodite left and B returned. It was glorious to lie naked on the earth and growing plants, cunts open to the warm sunshine: a perfectly sensual day.
B returned as herself, and we raised energy for the full abundant flowering of the spring and for pleasure, which was immediately fulfilled in a delicious sacred feast. We also painted our own and each other’s toenails with the bright scarlet of blatant rampant sexuality!
We then processed back to our stone circle, chanting “Come and dance to awaken summer”, before relinquishing the delicious realm of the sensuous Goddess and returning to everyday human existence.