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Blue Ridge Beltane is committed to community involvement in all the rituals we hold each year during our festival, so that pagans of every tradition are represented and included.

Our festival traditionally observes the following rituals, although the scheduling sometimes changes from year to year, so always check the final schedule for details:

  • A festival blessing (new this year – blessing will be held Thursday evening)
  • A welcoming ritual Friday afternoon or evening
  • The Great Fire Rite ritual Friday night
  • A Main Ritual Saturday night
  • The Maypole and closing ritual Sunday afternoon

Everyone is welcome to participate or simply observe, depending on your comfort level. We only ask that you participate or observe with the utmost respect for the sacredness of the ritual taking place.

2017 Blue Ridge Beltane Rituals – To Be Announced

Each year, people from the Blue Ridge Beltane community volunteer to lead rituals that fit in with our theme. We’ll announce the rituals as people volunteer. In the meantime, check out the amazing rituals people participated in last year.

2016 Theme and Rituals
In 2016, the Beltane festival theme was “Unity Through Community”. What does “Unity Through Community” mean?

Think about how the communities you’ve belonged to have shaped you and changed you over the years. How have YOU changed and shaped your communities?

The rituals and workshops were geared towards helping you rediscover yourself – your strengths, your many talents, your needs, wants, and desires. Then, you could explore ways to share those gifts with your community – your tribe! How can we as a community pool our talents, our strengths, our desires – and what happens when we do? Do we become stronger individuals? Will our community grow and thrive? Will we achieve larger, more important goals together as a community?

The answer to all three questions is “YES”!

Come explore with us. Find out what it means to be part of a thriving, caring pagan community – and find out what unity in our community can inspire in yourself.


Updated as of May 10, 2016

THURSDAY, May 12 – Special pre-festival activities
5:30pm: Festival Blessing (with potluck immediately after)—Obsidian Sky AKA Jenn & Adrienne
6:00pm: Bardic Circle—Community
8:00pm: Ancestor Altar—Eldritch & Gray Dragon

FRIDAY, May 13 (Lucky Friday the 13th!)
3:00pm: Welcoming Ritual: Creating Community—Gretchen Burgess
8:30pm: Fire Ritual—Gray Dragon

8:30pm: Main Ritual: Unity Through Community—Willow Kelly and Earth Church Members

SUNDAY, May 15
12:50pm: Recommitment ceremony—Laura S.
1:30pm: Maypole Ritual—Eric Eldritch



THURSDAY, May 12 – pre-festval
5:30pm: Festival Blessing—Obsidian Sky AKA Jenn & Adrienne
The Festival Blessing is a wonderful way to kick off the festival, come together as a community, and set our intentions for an empowering, transformative, peaceful and positive gathering. Community potluck and picnic immediately afterwards! Whether you picnic with your own food or bring food to share, come share a meal with your tribe as we gather together and listen to songs and stories at the Bardic Circle!

6:00pm: Bardic Circle
Immediately after the Festival Blessing, gather round to tell stories, sing songs, recite poems – your own or someone else’s! The Bardic Circle is one of BRB’s favorite traditions. Join in or come and listen to community storytelling at its finest!

8:00pm: Ancestor Altar—Eldritch and Gray Dragon
In honor of Public Pagan Ancestors who have paved the way for our future, Blue Ridge Beltane is creating a Community Ancestors Altar that will remain open for the duration of the festival to emphasize our theme of Unity through Community. These ancestors were inspired and compelled to action. Their legacy has energized and empowered our personal spiritual lives. By constructing a community altar, we are reminded of the lessons they teach us and the role they have played in the lives we live today.

This altar will hold a space for at least 16 pagan elder ancestors, including Rosemary Kooniman, Margot Adler, and Judy Harrow, to name just a few. The altar will be a work in progress leading up to the festival and ritual. If you have suggestions, please contact Eldritch before April 30 through the Blue Ridge Beltane-Virginia Facebook group or through the Blue Ridge Beltane committee contact page. (He also has contact information at the bottom of this page under the Maypole ritual description.)


FRIDAY, May 13
3:00pm: Welcoming Ritual: Creating Community—Gretchen Burgess
Please join Gretchen for this year’s Welcoming Ritual, where we start the festival with a clean slate and an open heart. We will be cleansing both ourselves and the festival, then creating a circle around the festival to last all weekend. We will also call on the blessings of Aphrodite to build love in our tribe, and for those who wish, there will be a special dedication with a quest from Aphrodite. This quest will challenge and transform each reveler and give them a sacred task from Her.

Gretchen Burgess is that lady with the kids and the husbands and the glasses. Watch out for her. She will give you mead. She may give you a back rub. She will try to feed you. Pal around with her too much and you might end up dancing naked in the forest worshipping Aphrodite or something. You have been warned.

8:30pm: Fire Ritual—David V. “Gray Dragon”
Calling upon the Watchtowers of the South, powers of fire, passion and transformation. May you burn through us the desires yet unknown and transform us into the highest beings that we are. Let us embrace our unity through the power of community and remind ourselves that we are all connected through an eternal bonding between brothers and sisters.

Join us at the heart of our community at the ritual lighting of the Bel Fire. Let’s unite our voices and energy and release the fire within our hearts.

David V. “Gray Dragon,” or Gray for short, has been practicing his craft for over 10 years. He was raised in a very small town in Arizona, where he adopted the nickname of “Tree Hugger” from his peers in high school. David has also been practicing massage therapy and energy work for the past seven years. He served in the U.S. Army and was deployed overseas, helping him build strong leadership and life experience skills. Ever since he was discharged from the Army, he has dedicated his life to learning different techniques for energy and healing work to be able to help others. David looks forward to bringing his life experiences and leadership abilities to help build a stronger and closer community. Brightest Blessings to all!


8:30pm: Main Ritual: Unity Through Community—Willow Kelly and Earth Church Members
You are invited to join Willow Kelly, Kate Adamson, Julie Rabbit, and local Earth Church witches plus members of the BRB Planning Committee for an ecstatic Reclaiming-style ritual celebrating and strengthening our connections to each other and this ineffably beautiful, challenged web of life. Reclaiming rituals are EIEIO – ecstatic, improvisational, ensemble, inspired, and organic, so come with open hearts, your artistic souls, and your longing to restore some healing balance on this planet. Together we will create an energetic web of empowered connection and some magically delicious community commitment and expression!

Willow Firefly Kelly
I am a faery-loving priestess of transformation and have been teaching magic in the Reclaiming tradition of witchcraft internationally for two decades. I have chosen to see transformation as an art form I can dance to, and have embraced it as a way of life as a full-time priestess, facilitator, counselor, consultant, and activist. I love using the vehicles of music, trance, dance, singing, art, sacred theatre, and other forms of creativity to dive into deeper explorations of our magic and power, believing that if we are awakening more fully to our purpose, transformation is inevitable. While it can certainly be challenging, we can either dance with it or feel bludgeoned by it. I say, “Let’s dance!!”

Thistle is a seasoned local Priestess from the Shenandoah Valley who strives to build community and embrace the magic within us all.

Kate Adamson loves theater, ritual, and community (and believes they’re all pretty much the same thing). She lived at Twin Oaks Community for many years and now lives in the woods in Afton, VA with child, partner, and dog. An ordained interfaith minister (not from the internet!), she serves as a hospital chaplain, spiritual counselor, and ritual facilitator for people of all spiritual paths.

Kate Hopkins is a gardener, naturalist, and social change worker. With a background in local foods systems, gardening and farming, and nature education, she is a long-time deep lover of the natural world (at 18 she found the phrase ‘naturalist pantheism’ on Wikipedia and decided somewhere, some other human felt like she did) and is pretty new to sharing that love with other magical humans. She is excited about her next chapter, beginning studies in midwifery and life coaching, and digging deeper into her Afton, VA homestead.

Raven follows a Warrior path, balancing light and shadow.


SUNDAY, May 15
12:50pm: Recommitment Handfasting Ceremony—Laura S.
This year just before the maypole, anyone who would like to recommit to their partner(s) will be invited to do so, witnessed by community. Bring your own rope or cloth or use maypole fabric provided as we step forward to briefly confirm and renew commitments. This is honoring the changes within ourselves while renewing the sacred promise of the past with the new person we are now – with love and tribe.

1:30pm: Maypole Ritual—Eric Eldritch
The BRB “Maypole for All” is a ribbon winding rite for those under seven, over seventy, and everyone in between. Celebrate this inclusive rite of wreath and pole, toss special bean bags in a nod to biology, give a wink to all lovers, and a blessing for everyone. This fecund festivity raises energy for all who plan to conceive, incubate, and bring forth joy. Bring your ideas of what you can achieve … and revel in Maypole Blessings!

EE Faerie HatEric Eldritch is a Radical Faerie, Urban Shaman, and Avante-Gardenarian Witch who lives at the intersection of Sexuality and Spirituality. He is known as a Sacred Fool, a master of the profound and profane, bringing depth and joy to an understanding of body, mind, and soul. He has been invited back to Blue Ridge Beltane year after year to coordinate a “Maypole for All.” (Editor’s note: And because we LOVE HIM!) Eldritch is a community organizer with leadership experience in nonprofit and professional organizations for over twenty years. He specializes in event planning, public relations, and organizational development based on principles of group identity, sociolinguistics, and cross-cultural relations. Drawing on years of experience in ceremonial and ecstatic forms of worship for ritual construction, he specializes in interfaith worship and spiritual retreat planning. Eldritch consults with pagan and community groups to collaborate with, organize, and energize them. Part of his work with these groups includes crafting tailor-made classes, rituals, events, retreats, professional seminars, panels, and fundraisers. He can also create art, graphic designs, flyers, brochures, and promotional materials for groups. Eldritch welcomes your questions, communication, and collaborations! Contact him at or by calling him at 202-309-5486.


Have questions or want to volunteer to lead a ritual? Contact us with the form below.

Rituals Form