So with the season of Beltane fully upon us, the seasonal altar changes. Although we are very caught up with the Community Beltane Celebrations our focus is very much on the White Spring. Often at this time of year, the energy rises, and occasionally so does the noise. We have to be very careful that it doesn’t get out of hand, and occasionally remind some of our more raucous visitors to be thoughtful of other people’s needs. It has been relatively peaceful over the past week, but before that we had one or two people who were trying to be disruptive – this was dealt with quite quickly and with little fuss. It is not wise to take our eye off of the White Spring at this time of year.
Besides, we have our own For the Love of It Celebration to organise at the Beltane full moon. Altars need to be set and cleaned, and the powerful spring water flows kept in check so that we don’t flood with the increased flow. Whenever I reset the seasonal altar, it gets a complete wash down with White Spring water. All the offerings are taken down and the stones are cleared of wax and scrubbed clean.
For this Beltane altar I placed red and white fabric at the back, behind everything, then a huge copper disk in front to symbolise the return of the summer and to give a beautiful reflection. I like simple shrines and altars and I also like to avoid too much clutter, so I do try to keep it very simple. I created a simple maypole using a stick from my altar at home and attaching red and white ribbons to it. I planted it in the earth that I had put into a small glass vase. This I placed in the centre of the altar. We were gifted some wonderful clay faces, one masculine and one feminine, these were also placed on the altar, with the ribbons connecting to them both, and to the candle that lit up the whole scene. Our Beltane picture was placed to the side of the altar, leaving the dramatic contrast of the red and white colours around and in front of the copper.Now for some fresh flowers, and a stone to ground the whole scene and it was set.
I used more red and white fabric to cover the inside of the doors and create a kind of opening at the entrance. This is also to cover up the damage on the doors (they are the same doors that were there in the 1980’s and although they have lasted well, they have definately had their day. We are currently awaiting new doors, paid for by donations and gifts, which are being hand made by a local carpenter who undertands the energy of The White Spring and what is required from such a set of doors. Sometimes we have to wait for quality craftsmanship.
I had gone to the Spring in the late morning, arriving early for a booking, to give me enough time to redress the altar before the group arrived. I had just completed the task and lit some incense when they turned up. The leader of the group was so appreciative, it was very special for him and this group to have some private time there. I could see why, they loved the place.
It was a grey day that threatened to rain, so they all arrived wearing raincoats and walking boots. I sat at the front step, ready to answer any questions or let people out if they wanted to leave. It was my favourite place to sit when we have a group, you can take in the whole scene and see the diverse ways that people engage with the place, and with the water. There were all ages in the group, a balance of men and women. They visited all the shrines, stopping longer at some than others. It wasn’t long before they decided to get undressed and bathe in the pools. Many of the group bathed naked in the healing pool, and then in the central pool. It is a beautiful gift to be able to hold such a place for people to visit and I am often humbled to see what an impact it has.
One of the visitors came to talk to me. She told me that she was a shaman and asked me if I felt a connection to a dragon power animal. I aid yes; I could understand why she may have tuned in to this, I often commune with what I perceive to be a dragon spirit at the White Spring, I feel a kinship with this particular force there and was not at all surprised to hear that she had noticed this connection. This lady, from New York, stayed after the rest of the group had left and spent a lot of time at each of the shrines. She asked if I would sing with her and share some of the songs that we sing at the White Spring. We sang together … Born of water, cleansing, powerful; healing, changing, I am … then Spirit of the water place, I hear your song. It was delightful to sing together and she wrote down some of the words before taking them to share with the whole group at their fire ceremony the next day.
That evening I had to attend a meeting about the town celebrations. For the past 3 years we have been involved in organising the Beltane celebrations in town. I say organising, but what I really mean is, holding a space where an organic group of volunteers can come together and make something happen. Each year it is different, due to the changing nature of the group and their backgrounds. It’s an interesting excercise to surrender what your personal vision may be to include those of the collective. It is amazing how it all comes together, as people feel empowered to take on roles and organise parts of the day. Somehow the magic happens and we have a stunning spectacle each year for the hundreds of visitors who come to town for Beltane.
It was my job to bring a schedule for the part of the procession that stops at the White Spring and Chalice Well for a blessing of the waters. We knew there would be hundreds of visitors and it is quite a task to get them all through the building and onward to the ceremony out on the land. We discussed the best way of doing this and prepared a loose plan. Chalice Well would be opening the monks gate, so that people may go into the gardens freely and a representative would come out with a blessing from the red waters.We would have a chance to rest and refresh by the waters.
Everyone seemed happy with the ideas, so after a long day I went home and warmed up from the chill I had in my legs from being in the Spring for too long earlier in the day. I love that feeling, but it needs to be sorted, a fire (or a duvet) and a hot drink usually does the trick.
In amongst the preparations, I had word that a VortexHealing teacher of ours would be in town teaching basic and advanced VortexHealing. I had been in contact with him and invited him to the White Spring to see what he thought about the place. He said he would come and we had arranged a day for his visit. He told me that he would also see if ‘Merlin’ … (as arising within VortexHealing) has a gift for this sacred space. I could hardly wait for his visit, but I had too. It was my son’s 12th birthday and I had things planned with him. It would have to wait until after the weekend. And it will have to wait for the next post for you to read about the exciting developments.