Stones for the Season: Beltane

Stones for the Season: Beltane

by Sarah Lyn

Stone has a beautiful language. Anyone who has ever had a rock jump out at them has heard it. Pick me! Pick me! Before you know it, you have either slipped it into a pocket, or you find yourself holding it in your hand, uncertain of how long it has been there.

Deep stone sleeps but the closer to the surface it gets, the more connected it is to us and our life cycles. Some rocks just want to introduce themselves and have a conversation. Some rocks will bite and want to be left alone. And some rocks have been looking for you to take them on a quest to some unknown corner of the world they have only heard about in the whispers of the deepest bedrock (even if that’s just your front yard).

[ALWAYS respect places that ask you NOT to take their rocks.]

The Trio

Different stones I encounter have different energies to them. Each sabbat, I put together a trio of stones to focus on for the following six weeks. It’s divination to me. I reach out into the web and see where we are in the world, creating a recipe of stone allies, and then I send that energy back out into the web.

I don’t usually use the same grouping of stones every year, but a couple of times I have. I will work with the stones I choose in my night meditations until the next sabbat, sometimes individually and sometimes as a group.

Most people will be familiar with Beltane if they associate it with the tradition of May Day. There are a lot of traditions associated with it that liken to fairy magics, because in the European continent, this holiday is the start of summer. Which is largely the reason it took me so long to connect with Beltane as a pagan holiday in America.

In my neighborhood, the flowering trees are just bursting with blooms and the air is fragrant with them. All the day lily shoots are that bright vibrant green that only happens in this short growth period. It reminds me that everything that dies has a chance to start again. So I wait every year, to witness this specific season for us, lest I blink in my business and miss it.

To me, this green is a fire, a catalyst, a call to action to spring forth into the world. And that is how I relate to the energy of this Sabbat, and that is reflected in my stone choices for this year.

How do we choose to walk in the world?

And we cannot forget, when engaging in a new adventure, one must be prepared for hardships along the way. So there is some protective energy evident in each stone. Companions along the journey.

Stones for Beltane

My stones for Beltane this year are: Lodolite, Carnelian, and Bloodstone.

The first stone I picked, Lodolite, is also known as Garden Quartz. It has all the focus and power of a quartz. The inclusions in the crystal keep it grounded and earthy and it’s related to prosperity and abundance. It is also a good gardener’s talisman and, who are we all if not gardeners of our own souls? We are weeding out what no longer serves us from our psyches and making room for new growth and new life.

You are the key to your own change, lodolite reminds us.

My second choice is an orange stone that also happens to be a chalcedony quartz, Carnelian. It’s associated with the lower three chakras, with energy unbound, uncurling from the earth as tiny seedlings. It is that spark of fire within us, the dry match just about to be struck. It is a stone of both courage and protection, long-used for carved amulets. This chalcedony buzzes with latent energy, made of both earth and fire.

Ready to strike, carnelian hums.

I work with two different kinds of Bloodstone. The more common version on the market has red flecks of Heliotrope in a green matrix. There is another, South African version that is more grey and translucent with red heliotrope inclusions. This is an earth stone and a protector. Warriors have used it for talismans in many cultures and I often use it as a curative, as a healing tonic, and as a shield.

Nourish the soil you stand on, bloodstone says.

Together these stones become a small burst of new energy, ready for activation. What growth are you bringing into the world with you this spring? It’s time for show and tell.

For Advanced Work

There is one stone I have always associated with Beltane, and that is Garnet. There are many kinds of colors of garnets: Almandine (red, purple-red), Spessartite (yellow, orange-brown), Pyrope (deep red), Grossular (white, yellow-green, brown-red, black), and Andradite (colorless, brown, black). It is a root chakra gem and has long been valued. Many creeks in the New England areas are littered with garnets.

It’s a high energy stone that adds potency to your magical workings. It helps move the kundalini energy through your body for full activation. Garnet does a lot of the heavy lifting for you. Because of that, if you suffer from anger issues or high blood pressure, this stone may be too strong on its own for you to use as a tool.

[Notes from Sarah Lyn: I never purchase rocks from people who do not know where they are sourced from. It’s important to know where your rocks come from so you can make informed decisions about where to put your money. For those of us buying tumbled stones at rock shows, we’re picking up the chips of what has already been cut from the earth, we are not part of the demand that influences the mining world. But know where your stones come from.]

All photos © Sarah Lyn

Beltaine Blessings

This past Sunday ushered in the month of Beltaine (or Bealtaine, as it’s spelled on modern Irish calendars), and for the first time in a long while, we gathered in person at Glenwood Farm, EarthSpirit’s home in Western MA, to celebrate. More than 70 people joined us for the Sacred Land Walk and the Beltaine ritual. The day was glorious and warm, and we visited shrines, danced a Maypole ritual, sang, and shared food and conversation.

But not before burning away Old Man Winter. Kate Richardson led us by eulogizing the old codger, and then burned his effigy in the ritual fire. We share her eulogy with you here, and wish you the brightest of Beltaine Blessings!

Kate and Old Man Winter (photo by Deirdre Pulgram Arthen)

Eulogy for Old Man Winter 2022

We’re gathered here for a joyful occasion: to welcome the spring and the summer to come. But before we can do that with our whole beings, we have to dispose of the Winter that has passed. The old man that was Winter stands here before us in effigy, and we should take a moment to remember him before we dispatch him. As he burns away he can take with him any ill luck and bad feelings from the past season, leaving us free to celebrate what’s to come.
Each year between Samhain and Yule a new Winter is born. We welcome him with feasting and songs, gathering with friends and family to remind ourselves of the bonds of community which will keep us safe and warm through the hard and cold times. As this Winter drove us indoors, he still kept company with the pestilence of the last two years. Although the Rona seems now more ubiquitous but less deadly, it managed to sow discord, anxiety, illness and distress. We were reminded more than ever to take care of each other, even if that meant keeping a distance.
As the Winter reached maturity, going from Yule to Imbolc, he showed off his strength by biting the extremities of hopeful apple tree wassailers, and casting snow in the way of gatherings. And yet, for folk who can enjoy the outdoors, there was snow enough for skiing, and ice enough for ice fishing, as is right and proper for our climate.
Waning in strength after Imbolc, and on to the Vernal Equinox, he still maintained an imposing presence. But there were cracks in his mansion when warmer weather peeked a toe, a finger, a nose, through for just a moment. Winter gripped tight but the trees knew, the birds knew, that his end was coming. The sap flowed sweet, as it is supposed to. The snow and ice melted in the sunny places.
Finally, after Equinox, he came into his dotage, a cranky and unkempt being. The mud season he bequeathed us was the stuff of legends. He petulantly threw late-season frosts and snowfalls our way.
But now we declare that he is well and truly gone. Any lingering chills will be in his memory, and not from his presence. But let us not forget the lessons of Winter:

★ That we must turn to each other to get through the reign of tyrants with hope intact.
★ That we have strength and resilience, fed by songs and stories, by gathering and breaking bread together.
★ That we can get through tough conditions if we plan and prepare, and help each other out.
★ That kindness matters, and can counteract the cold.
★ That there can be great beauty in difficult conditions.

What lessons and blessings has the Winter brought to you?

All that said, we are properly glad to see him gone. He was cold and nasty, and we are ready for the warm and growing times. We may mock him for the bully and codger that he was, for he is gone, and we are all still here to see this turn to the warm times. Go ahead and make fun of him; this effigy will carry the bad words and feelings away. Then we will sing and dance our way to the tide of returning life, taking our place in the turning of the season’s wheel.

Kate Richardson, Beltaine 2022