Shining Lakes News

A Newsletter for Shining Lakes Grove, A.D.F.

Spring Equinox 2003 - Vol. 10, No. 2

Preparing for Beltaine

[sun rising over water]

Beltaine is a time of revelry, a time for overturning the usual social conventions and celebrating sensuality and silliness. There are many customs specific to this High Day, and I thought I'd let everyone know about them in advance, so they could be prepared. (I'm not sure anyone can ever really be prepared for Beltaine, though!)

As with each of our High Day rites, we begin on Friday night with our Fire Watch ceremony. We light a fire at dusk, bless it, and keep it burning until the time of the ritual. Staying up all night watching the fire with other Grove members is a great bonding experience. You don't have to stay all night, though; you're certainly welcome to attend for part of the evening.

The Fire Watch of Beltaine is a little different, though. During the night, we collect dew from the grass. This is May Dew, and was considered to have healing properties. If you would like to collect May Dew, we recommend bringing an empty bottle (with a stopper of some sort) to Fire Watch, as well as a clean cloth for "soaking up" the dew.

Around 4:30 am on Saturday morning, we head off for the Dawn Rite. We travel to the headwaters of the Huron River, to make offerings to Ana, our local river goddess. If she accepts them, we then collect water from the middle of the lake. As the sun rises, we hold the bowl of water up to collect the first rays of morning light. This light-blessed water becomes our supply of sacred water for the coming year.

To me, this is the most beautiful rite our Grove celebrates. Lots of people have seen our afternoon rites, but how many have ever seen a heron fly over Big Lake in the pre-dawn sky, or waited shivering in the cold for the sun to rise, or done a group chant in the still air of the morning? I hope that everyone reading this who can stand to get up that early (I know, it's not easy for me either) will be able to join us for this rite.

When the afternoon comes along, the Beltaine rite itself begins. We will randomly select a King or Queen of the May, who will be asked to jump over the fire to bring us fertility for the coming year. And, of course, we will do a Maypole dance. (And we may even get it right this year!)

This year, Fire Watch will be the evening of May 2nd, with the Dawn Rite and main rite on the 3rd. In case of rain, the main rite will be moved to the 4th. Call the Grove "hotline" at (734) 998-1029 to see if the rite has been rescheduled. All events will be held at Botsford Recreational Preserve, 3015 Miller, Ann Arbor (except for the Dawn Rite, of course, but we'll still be meeting at Botsford before we leave for Big Lake.)

We hope that you can join us in our Beltaine celebrations!

Yours in service to the Kindreds and the Grove,
Rev. Rob Henderson, Senior Druid

"Did I Miss Something?"

No, your Imbolc issue of Shining Lakes News didn't get lost in the mail. Until further notice, we will publish the newsletter on the equinoxes and solstices only. The Leadership Council chose this schedule to save money on printing and mailing, and we hope to return to our previous schedule as soon as possible. Thanks for your support!

SLG Leadership Council

Senior Druid
Rob Henderson

Assistant Senior Druid
Rodney Cox

Fred Paepke

Michael McClennenen

Rodney Cox

Genevieve Stoyak

Outreach Coordinator
(position open)

Youth Activities Coordinator
(position open)

SLG Guild Leaders

Magicians' Guild
Rodney Cox

Warriors' Guild
Rodney Cox

Healers' Guild
Rodney Cox

Producers' Guild (unofficial)
Gen Stoyak

No e-mail access? Contact our officers at our snail-mail address or phone number.

Shining Lakes News (©2003) is published by Shining Lakes Grove, A.D.F., P.O. Box 1732, Ann Arbor, MI, 48106, (734) 998-1029. For information about SLN, contact the Chronicler at gstoyak@hotmail.comor call the Senior Druid at the number below. For information about Shining Lakes Grove, contact the Senior Druid at (734) 427-0282 or, or visit