Saturday, May 1, 2010

Beltane, Wild Herbs, Warm Fire, and Old Tales

Yesterday, the last day of April, I was fortunate enough to take part in a Beltane celebration. My friend Gerit and her partner Brigitte organized an herb walk, after which we would build a fire and cook a soup with wild herbs. I took my friend Tini along, and we both brought our dogs. It was a nice group of people, about 13 of us, and we set out into the green, listening along the way as Gerit and Brigitte taught us about various plants and herbs. 

We were told about the Celts, about their way of dividing the year into eight parts. We were told that the herbs were strongest at the full moon, and it was true...the woodruff picked on the full moon smelled the sweetest and strongest. We picked leaves, rubbed them between our fingers, smelled them, tasted them. Spicy, mild, bitter, sour. Then we headed to the outdoor kitchen, where a fire was burning and a soup pot was waiting. Our witches cauldron.

There were herbs to be washed and diced. Some people peeled potatoes, some spoke of witches and fairy tales, others wrote down spells or wishes that they wanted to send up to the gods on the smoke. I chopped onions and ate bread.

Once the pot was hot, the onions were tossed in and stirred with an ingenius handmade tool: a fork dug into the end of a long stick. 

We gathered around the fire as the sun sank; there were benches and tree stumps to sit on...I lay a blanket on the ground and the dogs curled up around me. Gerit told us old stories of witches, the Celts, Beltane, and poisonous plants used in a salve smeared on witches feet to make them fly.

As I looked around at the faces in the firelight, blue smoke rising, soup bubbling, I felt how good it was, how natural, for a group of people to sit around a fire and tell stories and share a meal. We ate the soup, delicious, with trees around us, and moon and stars above. It was beautiful.

 xoxo country girl


  1. Sounds so interesting & unusual Dawn - what a lovely thing to do. A celebration of nature - with food!! Happy weekend xoxo Rachel

  2. Happy Beltane, Dawn! I always love reading about your herbally adventures!

  3. What a wonderful Beltane sharing. This is the best one I've read. Going out into the forest to gather herbs, cooking a fresh pot of soup, gathering around the fire to eat and for storytelling. How fun.

    Thanks for sharing the celebration and lovely pictures.

  4. Dearest Dawn, the Beltane celebration sounds fascinating and something that I definitely wish I could have been at with you. Such a fantastic way to spend a day, enveloped in nature, with friends, food, fire and fairytales.
    Wishing you Ramon and Kiki a wonderful weekend
    Lots of love
    Morwenna, Nathan and Poppy!

  5. What a wonderful experience!! Wish I could have been there! ♥

  6. Pure pun intended. What a lovely way to celebrate earth's bounty. Happy May Day:)

  7. sounds like fantastic - a time of sharing together. i love stories by the campfire.

  8. Yay for old traditions still living and being shared.
    Happy May day beloved...

  9. Oh i have missed you..and then i come here and see this....looks like a DREAM...

    sending love to you
    kary and teddy

  10. hw wonderful. what a beautiful story you have shared with us. i wish i could taste that soup.

  11. Oh my gosh do the most interesting things. What a blessed life you live! And thanks to you we are able to live it too through your beautiful writings and pictures.

    Blessings to you.......

    xoxo Gert

  12. Wow! What a day! I am rather jealous! Sounds like so much fun - I love witches and ghost stories and I love the idea of foraging with lots of friends! Really wicked entry Dawn - good to hear you are out having fun too! xxx

  13. You know I lived in Scotland with my Brit husband for 4 years, and it was somewhat of a different charmed life. I loved it. It just had a diff feel a diff rythum than the States here...

  14. Such a lovely post, thank you:D
    thought you might enjoy my Beltane Blessing machinima film
    Bright Blessings
    elf ~



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