Legend has it that the celebratory rites of Beltane, an ancient Gaelic holiday usually celebrated on May 1, involved orgies in the woods and fields. Imagine the aboriginal Celts in blue paint, grasping whatever warm body streaked past, consecrating the soil with their ecstatic juices. (And we thought California knew how to party!) More conservative historians suggest the rituals actually involved lovers bedecking each other with flowered garlands and making promises to wed as they jumped over the bonfire. Either way, the holiday served as a reminder that the same force that pulses in our, um, veins, is the same force that animates all of nature.
Holidays and their ritual celebrations draw our attention to what our culture values, wants to remember and reproduce. Now, few of our holidays serve to remind us of our connection to the natural world. Thanksgiving is a harvest festival essentially, but it’s still bound up in the painful politics of colonization. Our biggest holidays today pander to celebration of the life of Christ (Jesus is the reason for the season, after all), but are really mostly festivals of consumption. But we should remember (especially if we get a day off work, since work is our national religion) that how and what we celebrate elucidates what we value.
Beltane is a celebration of fertility, and fertility is essentially a context. Fertility is a space, whether it be physical or conceptual, that supports life and growth. Whether it means creating space in your life to write a novel, conceiving or adopting a child, or simply launching a new adventure, now is the time to sew your seeds and realize the right environment for them to grow. One way to fertilize your field is through spells. Symbolic ritual fires up the imagination, and the consequences of the imagination (or spirit, as I like to think of it) have far reaching, incalculable and complex effect.
The imagination has POWER. It affects us every which way, for years, conducting covert and wildly public operations, transformative operations, which are fundamental to our experience as human beings. Our imaginations give us agency. Our imaginations create the world. It is through our imagination that spells work. Don’t underestimate the power of the imagination, since everything you think and experience comes as its result.
What follows is a simple fertility spell. Feel free to use it as you see fit, change it if necessary. Spells are like recipes and they can often work best when modified to your taste. And remember, magic works as a result of your intention. Magic is a practice, not a system of belief. You don’t need to believe it for it to work. You need to do it.
Beltane Fertility Spell for May 1
- A stick or other phallic object that resonates for you (sticks from trees that are sacred to you will be especially effective). Not too long, you’re going to wrap it.
- Colorful ribbons to wind around the stick
- A chalice or bowl full of earth (the chalice should be beautiful and the soil in the chalice should be fertile soil, like the kind you’d want in your vegetable garden). Also, you literally will be planting things in it, so a pot would do nicely here.
- An egg
- A writing implement that can draw on an egg
- Seeds for a glorious plant (personally I think melon seeds rock this spell, but choose whatever speaks to your vision)
- A candle and matches
- Stuff for your altar, see below
Step 1: Create an Altar
Make sure that you have the recommended ingredients (see above) on hand. Place upon your altar objects that symbolize spring and fertility: think images of pregnant women, chalices, flowering plants, vines, greenery, seeds, pots of fertile earth, fertile-looking goddesses, and horny-looking gods. Amplifying tools such as crystals, clarifying tools such as bells or chimes, spring animals like rabbits or baby foxes. Include swollen, juicy, attractive things and baby symbols. Buns (as in “buns in the oven.” Like the subconscious itself, Cernunnos and Aradia communicate through riddles, symbols, and puns), rolls and yummy foods. Yellow white and gold candles, or candles with festive colors like spring green. Pentacles are always potent power symbols, but what’s most important is that the elements on your altar resonate for you, and have a powerful fertility “vibe” for you. Your altar does not need to be arranged according to an orthodox set of rules, it needs to be arranged so that you look at it and think: “Justlookingat this altar is going to get me pregnant.” It can be powerful even if you only include one potent image and a candle. Just be thoughtful as you arrange this space, think of what you want to call in, don’t include anything that creeps you out.
Step 2: Cast your circle as you normally would.
Step 3: Call in the directions, or the elemental spirits. Then, your Goddesses and Gods.Whichever one(s) seem appropriate to you in this instance. Make sure to provide these spirits with an offering (something beautiful and precious to you, you know what your gods like).
Step 4: Meditate
A short meditation is important so that you focus your intention. For a few moments, concentrate first on your breath. Aim to experience your breath as not coming from “you.” Where’s it come from then? The same place that the power of your spell comes from. After you locate that place, draw your attention to your pulse, and the circulation of blood, the electrical impulses ricocheting around your nervous system. The same force that animates your body makes the trees reach and sway, and the helicopters hover in the air. You are not separate. You are focusing this energy to achieve your intention.
Step 5: Ask for Help
Say: “You who are the source of all life, you who creates matter through the honeyed strings of your consciousness, guide me in this spell so that I too may do your work.”
Step 6: Write Your Invocation
Write down what you want to become fertile for as if you already have it. For example, write: “I am pregnant with a healthy child.” or “I have a healthy child that I nurture and care for.” or “I have completed a novel that I am proud of.” Be specific and choose your words carefully.
Step 7: Draw the Symbol of Your Desire on an Egg
Draw a symbol of whatever it is you want to give birth to on an egg. Personally I would prefer my egg to be from my old next door neighbors chickens, since they seemed really happy, but that’s your choice. The symbol should be simple enough to draw on the surface of an egg. Like, for pregnancy maybe it would be a circle with a dot in the center. Once you’ve completed your drawing, hold the egg in your hand and repeat your invocation three times, visualizing the desire taking form inside the egg. Place the egg in your cauldron of earth.
Step 8: Consecrate the Cauldron
Pass the cauldron of earth, which contains your egg, through the flames of a candle, say, “With this action, I unite fire and earth. I charge matter with spirit.”
Plant the seeds in the earth, beneath the egg. Say, “With this action, I unite two bodies, earth with seed, I unite possibility with fertility.”
Pour water into the cauldron, watering the seeds, and say, “With this action, I unite water with earth, I nourish new life, and call it into being.”
Breathe three breaths onto the egg and earth, say, “With this breath I awaken new life and call it to grow.”
Step 9: (Optional, though awesome) Create a Mini May Pole
Tie your ribbons to the end of the fertility stick, and weave the ribbons around it. With each pass, say your invocation. Plant the fertility wand in the earth of your cauldron and say, “With this action, through the powers of love and life, I achieve my will. By the powers of three times three, as I will it, so will it be.”
Step 10: Burn Your Invocation
Burn your invocation and offer it up to the heavens. Say, “As life flows through all of nature, so it flows now through me.”
Step 11: Perform the Closing Ritual of Your Choice
Make sure you ground the energy, thank your spirits, and open the circle.
Now is the time to get to work! Sex magic! Grab your partner and get down to business (there are many sites on the internet that can show you how to do this). If you don’t have a partner, you can still manifest your desires on your own. Just remember either way, at the “ultimate moment,” to visualize your invocation taking form inside of you, really visualize the symbol you drew on your egg igniting and lighting you up from the inside. If you’re with your partner, you both should do this. Sex magic is about harnessing the frisson of sex to send your magic out into the world, like a big booster rocket. Witch gynecologists suggests that you should do this with great frequency when you’re ovulating – science and magic play well together!
- Water your magic plant as often as needed, and as you do, say your invocation.
- Next time you have a moment to take a luxurious shower, crack open your egg and rub it all over yourself – infusing yourself with the magic. Say, “By the power of three times three, healthy child (or whatever you’re invoking) come to me!”
- Now you can relax and enjoy the fruits of your labor. Just remember, every time you practice sex magic, visualize your invocation taking form.