Beltane in Lockdown

2020 is certainly the weirdest Beltane I have experienced in forty years, and I expect it is for everyone else too. I have to say that living in lockdown and self-isolating in a tiny village in East Devon with a garden and plenty of deserted rural footpaths has not caused me much hardship. We are all looking out for each other here; kindly neighbours shopping for those of us who can’t do the six mile journey to the nearest shop, and all us borrowing, lending and swapping whatever is needed. Compared to fellow witches and pagans in cities with no access to outdoor space, I feel very privileged. Nature is recovering from human abuse, for a while at least. How clean the air feels, how quiet it is without traffic and aircraft. At dusk bats flit over the stream and the otters seem bolder than usual. I am woken every morning by the dawn chorus.  All in all, I have been feeling very lucky.

Then at Beltane, it really did hit me. For those of us down here in the West, in the bottom left hand corner, Beltane, or May Day as most of us still prefer to call it in our old-fashioned way, is probably the biggest day of the year. It’s the day when almost everyone in Devon, Cornwall and Somerset turns pagan for the day, when people go out in the streets to dance and sing and a kind of wild, infectious collective joy takes over. During the day, we are likely to be found joining in with one of the Obby Oss or maypole customs, or some other form of dancing and carousing. Then as the sun sets, the fires are lit in gardens and woods and moors, and on hilltops and we make our circles and celebrate the marriage of goddess and god. All of it is wild, erotic and glorious and its our day and everyone knows it. You know how it works. We are a necessary part of the process. We are part of it, not separate. The gods need us to celebrate their rites and we must dance and sing and bring in the May. That is how it works. That is what we are for. Not this year. We are not allowed out; not together at least.

Teaser and Oss, Padstow, Cornwall 2009

In a magical reverie, my mind ranges back over many May Days. Of that wild, unstoppable burst of energy when the Red Oss bursts out of the stable in the Red Lion for the first time and longing and joy rush together and the press of the crowd and the thump of the drums knock the breath from the body.  Of bathing the face in cold dew at sunrise. Of hedgerows weighed down with hawthorn blossom like snow. Of the endless miles of bluebell woods on the journey through North Cornwall. Of sitting there, truly entranced, amongst uncountable millions of bluebells. Is it their colour or their smell that brings hallucinations? Both, and visions of faerie. Of the cold, damp night on the hilltop when mist came up from the woods below and sent us spinning into the spirit world. Of a baby, now a beautiful young woman, conceived with the aid of magic when her mother brushed the skirts of the Oss. Of dancing in the shallows of the icy sea. Of the west rose window at Exeter Cathedral, a flaming ruby pentagram lit by the setting sun. Of the pungent tang of wild garlic. Of a young roebuck who ran right across our path. Of a policeman dancing, wreathed in primroses and bluebells.  Of a slow journey home that felt like a royal progress through woodlands and fields where the unfurling leaves and the blossom seemed to be just for us. Of voting in an election where everything changed and everything stayed the same. Of a song that can only be sung on that day and in that place. Unite and unite and let us all unite. Of those gone before who are always there with us and those yet to be born.  Of cold, clear well water. Of the great Oss dying and the crowd weeping; a real death and a terrible mourning then a mad leap back into life and joy. It seemed like hours but was only seconds and time had stopped working anyway. Of drumbeats and heartbeats and the spaces between them. Of leaping the fire and turning to see a big brock badger keeping watch in the west: bless you Tanglefoot. Of garlands thrown onto the sea. Of the sun setting behind us at Wistman’s Wood.  Of a handfasting at first light on the cliffs, surrounded by unseen spirit hosts. Of the brimming excitement of a day that feels like high tide all the time.

Hail The Queen of the May!

This year the streets of Padstow and Minehead and Helston are silent. The Obby Osses will not leap forth amongst us and dance. The Flora Day procession will not weave its stately way through the town. Our towns will not be garlanded with branches from the greenwoods, but we must still bring in the May, together alone. Its up to us. So with all the unseen hosts of those who have danced before you and will dance after you around you, get up and dance, and bring in the May. We are with you. We are all with you and you are all with us. Its time to dance together in spirit as we always have and always will.

Friends that in the Circle stand

Heart to heart and hand to hand

Bringing Beltane to the land

Let the Sleeper Wake!

Levannah Morgan

May Day 2020

‘Unite and unite, and let us all unite. For summer is a-comin’ today. And whither we are going we all will unite. In the merry morning of May’

Keeping us connected with the magic- even during lockdown…

Deep Magic online courses are now available! Imagination and Wellbeing provides simple, powerful and accessible techniques to cultivate wellness. This course is available for free. Also out now is the Core Magical Skills course which leads you through all the key areas of magical practice. To find out about future courses and pre-register please click here.

Meanwhile…to help keep our magical spirits up Julian has been inviting various esoteric, pagan and psychedelic folks to share some of their favourite magical things. Please like, share and subscribe!

Today’s release; behold the remarkable magical thing of Lon Milo DuQuette! Enjoy!

I Who am All Pleasure and Purple – Polymorphous Sex Magick

Beltane (as profilic as one should expect in its spellings and derivations) is the season we celebrate sex. As the bluebells thrust through the leaf litter and the sun is already long in setting (at least in the British Isles). This is the time of May dances, of showers of blossom and the earnest buzzing of the bees.

Our evening of Purple magick, fortuitously coinciding with the waxing half-moon, began with a round of greetings and a banishing ritual.

Our South American Sister brings a guided visualisation. In this we strip back the blockages, imagined as a layer of slime on the skin, and emerge into our new selves. We honour what we have emerged from for it too is part of our story. In my imagination the discarded puddle of restriction is absorbed into the earth, composting into rich soil.

Sexy slime

Sexy slime

Following this practice is An Annointing for The Lover, each participant performing a nyasa style placement of the bija mantras into each chakra. Marking each point with perfumed oil. A simple but powerful practice to acknowledge the sacred as expressed through our bodies.

Having thus prepared ourselves it’s time for The Ardhanarishvara Brain Re-wiring Rite. Using the dual form of Shiva-Shakti we each create sigil from that divine name and these are installed into out non-dominant hemispheres. In order to prevent unpleasantly weird physiological effects (experienced by the developer during the alpha test of the ritual) a horizontal double-ended Shiva trident is visualised, connecting both hemispheres of the brain. We dance the sigil into our nervous systems, connecting the masculine and feminine aspects of ourselves and bringing these into unity.

The Polymorphous Elvis Transformer Ritual is next. This rides on the gnosis of the millions of orgasms which are happening across the planet right now. Moving our hips in the transgressive motion of The King and imagining the paparazzi flash-bulbs of erotic ecstacy all around us we:

“…key into the energy waves that are being generated, regenerated and amplified even as we sit here now. This ritual is also a tribute to Genesis Breyer P. Orridge who introduced me to the ideas of Sex Magick via the Temple of Psychick Youth and continues to break gender and push ideas of sexuality into new areas.”  TP808

Our sexuality, like everything else in the universe, is a flow rather than a static thing. For the closing ritual each person gets to fill in a form (and, frankly, how sexy is that?). By doing so they are reflecting on how their sexuality emerges in that moment. This is done using the sexuality play spectrum HERE. We share these with each other, taking an intimate and funny moment together to disclose our (current) sexual identity in a safe space.

We sit together, silently acknowledge this intimacy, this trust. Then it’s time to get up and dance (to tunes HERE), laughing and joking we step outside and light the Beltane fire, burning up the forms, the fixed notion of who we are. Realising the ebb and flow, of on and off, is a continuous process, like sex itself; always mixing things up, stirring the genetic cauldron. And though sex can make us think of dualities – God and Goddess, male and female, chalice and cup – it is actually much closer to a cloud of possibility. The erotic can, as Susan Sontag observes, erupt in a bewildering variety of expressions. Our own indentities flux and flow and even down at the genetic level things X and Y chromosones can morph and shift, responding to hormones in different ways, and expressing themselves in a wide varities of forms.

Perhaps this is an axiom of a ‘Baphometic Witchcraft’; rather than a simple polarity model of sex we acknowledge that we are all, at different times and different degrees, in the flow of sexuality. Like Baphomet we are cut-up entities manifesting sex in a muliplicity of forms (including asexuality). Thus we free ourselves from the simplistic (apparently) fixed duality of forms and become something rich and strange. Our morality becomes rooted in a sensitivity to issues of consent and coercion, not in a priori stereotypes of what men or women should or should not do to express their sexual nature.

Hardcore mollusc action

Hardcore mollusc action

The plant sex organs that are the apple blossom envelop the penetrating sisterhood of hungry honey bees. Dandelions proliferate through kinky apomixis. Horned and hermaphroditic, snails stab love darts into each others’ flesh – everything, as Austin Spare would say, fornicates all the time.