An Annotated & Illustrated Collection of Worldwide Links to Mythologies,
Fairy Tales & Folklore, Sacred Arts & Sacred Traditions
by Kathleen Jenks, Ph.D.
Retired from the Mythological Studies Department at Pacifica Graduate Institute

beltane / may day
ribbon ritual

28 April 2004:
Note -- this lovely Beltane ritual involving ribbons has now vanished from the web.  Since I saved many passages from it for a class I was teaching, I am putting the entire handout online.

One piece I did not save is that the anonymous author of the ritual suggests burning the ribbons six months later as part of a Samhain ritual.  My ribbons were so lovely that I decided against doing this.  Instead, I kept them in a special place for a year, then un-wove them for the next Beltane and again swirled them into a new weave, re-energizing them, during that year's ritual.  If you decide to do this ritual, use your own intuition about what to do.

Kathleen Jenks, Ph.D.



Note: I'm adapting our ritual from an anonymous Beltaine one on my website.  Here are excerpts:

[This is a]…ritual binding of life and the beauties of life to the Earth plane/the self ….

[You'll need]…some lengths of ribbon…to braid during the Magick making portion of your ritual…. the idea here is that you (your body) symbolically becomes the…shamanistic tree -- that you see yourself as the shaman on the tree (in your body), able to bring forth a variety of things from the Otherworld into manifestation here on Earth.

Each ribbon will represent one aspect of your life that you'd like to bind closer to you (while realizing the constraints that doing so might imply).   Choose the ribbon colors accordingly. For example, if you want to bring financial security into your life and bind it to you, have a green ribbon on your altar. (Or perhaps you find silver or gold might work better for you here.) If you'd like your life to be constantly surrounded by love, add a pink (or red) ribbon to the array on your altar. If you'd like peace of mind/emotional stability to be a constant in your life, add a light blue ribbon to the mix, etc.

… I'd recommend each ribbon be as long as you are tall. Symbolically then, each ribbon represents your physical self.  Be sure your altar set-up includes a symbol/tool associated with each of the four elements. Now light your candles and incense and create your sacred space in your usual manner. Invoke…Whom you feel is appropriate. Ask [this being] to join you in your dance of life. Include movement in your invocation if you like.
You'll now need to bless each ribbon by the four elements. Take your time in doing this. Pass each one through the incense smoke (Air), over a candle flame (Fire), sprinkle each with water (Water), and pass each through a bowl of sea salt (Earth).  Or, think of the smoking censer as representing Air and Fire.  Put some sea salt in your water vessel, stir, and think of it as representing Water and Earth. Then just pass each ribbon through the smoke and sprinkle it with the water mixture, thereby blessing each by all four elements.

However you decide to do it, take some time to think about just exactly what it is each ribbon represents to you. What it is you'd like to bind to you/bring to the fullness of life within your life? What benefits will accrue to you in so doing? What is the down side in each case, and how will you handle it?

Now gather all ribbons together and tie a knot at the top to hold them together…. Meditate on bringing all these things forth in your life and on how they will interact with each other to turn your life into a beautiful braid of happiness and well-being. Remember to envision yourself enmeshed in this braiding as it progresses. When you near the end, tie it off in similar fashion to your beginning knot.

End the Magick by blessing the finished braid with your body. After all, your body symbolically lies at the heart of the braid. Breathe on it (Air). Gather it to your heart (Fire). Spit on it or lick it (Water). Coil it up and stand with it under your foot for a few moments (Earth). Now call the blessing of the Goddess into it.

Wear your braid now, or carry it on your person for the rest of the day and/or night…. [Afterwards,]…keep the braid in some secret and safe place away from the prying eyes and possible ill wishes of others. Or, if you're not worried about that, keep it on your altar for the coming seasons of growth and harvest….

For the Ritual of the Sacred Grove, you'll privately invoke the tree or plant that you drew from The Green World Oracle approximately a week earlier (prior to class).  The ribbons will represent you as well as your protecting Guardian from the Green World.  In different areas of the room there will be incense burning, candles burning, a bowl of water, a saucer of salt, and a bowl of sea-salt water.  Interact with these 4 elements of earth, air, fire and water at your own pace and in whatever way you wish.  There is no set order.

I envision a room full of meditative humans with colorful ribbons, all moving in stately patterns.  When all are ready, we'll go outdoors and form a sacred grove in the form of a large circle; then we'll begin twirling the ribbons faster and faster, aligning and activating the "energetics" bound in the ribbons with growing power.  When the natural, random "weave" feels right (and this will vary from person to person), you'll stop and knot the ends of your ribbon/tree/self.  (If you prefer, you might braid the ribbons by hand instead.)

That will conclude the Ritual of the Sacred Grove.

        Kathleen Jenks, Ph.D.
        7 May 2001, Full Moon

Back to Myth*ing Links' Beltane page

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© 2004 by Kathleen Jenks, Ph.D.
Page created and published 28 April 2004

Photo Credits:
Dancing with scarves comes from the Lily Cai Chinese Dance Company in San Francisco.
Skating with a ribbon comes from