What is Beltane you ask? Who celebrates Beltane? When is Beltane?
In this article we will cover a brief history of Beltane and some great and easy ways to celebrate Beltane
Beltane is one of 8 Pagan holidays (Sabbats). It is celebrated from sunset April 30th to sunset May 1st. This is also known as May Day (bank holiday). This Sabbat is all about celebrating fertility.
Like Samhain, Beltane is the second Sabbat in the witches calendar where the veil is at its thinnest but Beltane brings out spirits that like to play and have a sense of humour. Any magic performed at this time of year should be done with care or you may just get what you wish for.
History and traditions
If you are interested in the traditions it is well worth looking up the traditional ‘Bel Fire’. (Which gives Beltane its name) and will tell you why fire is such an important part of the Beltane Celebrations.
There have been many traditions over the years, some of which are still celebrated today in some parts. One of the most familiar of these is probably the ‘May Pole’, which would be erected in the centre of the may day festivities. A circle of flowers would wind its way down the pole as dancers would ribbon around it. Originally the dancers would dance around a tree not a pole. This was adopted later. The pole represents masculinity and wrapping the Maypole in ribbon and foliage represents femininity. This ritual was to bring fertility to the livestock, the land, and the people living off of it.
Another pre-christian ritual was the Wickerman burning. This was a tradition to bring people together after a long winter. Especially those who lived in more secluded areas. At the centre of this festival is again fire. They would set light to the Wickerman to mark the end of winter and to welcome the sun. The Wickerman is burnt at sunset which follows old Celtic tradition.
This is also the time of the year where the God and Goddess get married. This would be a fairly obvious symbol of the coupling of the God and Goddess after he has spent the entire spring chasing her.
How To Celebrate at home:
Now for the fun stuff. Unless you are lucky enough to live near may day celebrations there are lots of ways you can celebrate at home, either alone or with friends and family.
As with any Sabbat, food features upfront, with an emphasis on honey.
What better symbol of the summer to come than the honey be? So pay respect to the little guy by baking a soft and sticky honey cake, or classy lavender cupcakes with honey flavours frosting.
Bake your own bread with added sunflower seeds and smother with honey butter while it’s still warm from the oven. Nom Nom.
If you are lucky enough to have good weather (which is definitely not guaranteed in the UK) how about lighting up the BBQ, this way you can also incorporate fire into your celebrations.
Go outside and get creative
It really doesn’t matter what you choose to do or if you are a master artist or just like splashing paint around, let nature guide you. If you have children get them involved, make some mess and memories.
Craft a headdress using wildflowers (Or buy one if you prefer) and some ankle bells and go dance around the garden to celebrate the union of the God and Goddess.
Now to decorate your altar and/or home… As you might expect summer flowers and ribbons feature heavily, as do summer colours, pinks, greens, yellows, white and red. Symbols could include bees, rabbits, maypoles (in miniature obviously :D) and don’t forget the candle. Capture the scent of summer with the incense of daisy, jasmine, rose or sandalwood. Frankincense and myrrh are also firm favourites. Deities can include flora, Diana, Maia, Bel, Cernunnos and Pan. There are many others, what not check them out and choose the one that speaks to you the most.
Hopefully, you are now feeling inspired for a happy and joyful Beltane. So light a fire, grab a glass of something fruity (and maybe alcoholic? Go on you deserve it.) and a slice of honey cake, put your feet up in the garden and reflect on the warm summer days to come.
xx Happy Beltane Everyone! xx
from Stormy and Raven xx
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