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BELTANE from Sunset on April 30 to sunset on May 2

This is the second major festival or Sabbat of the Year. Beltane or Beltain is named after the Irish Bealtaine meaning ‘Bel-fire’, the fire of the Celtic god of light, known as Bel, Beli or Belinus. Also known as May Eve, May Day, and Walpurgis Night, Beltane occurs at the beginning of May. It celebrates coming of the old summer and the flowering of life. The Goddess manifests as the May Queen and Flora, Goddess of Flowers whose festival was celebrated in Ancient Rome in early May.

Animal: cow

Tree: hawthorn

Incense and herbs: almond, angelica, ash, cowslip, frankincense, hawthorn, lilac, marigold and roses for love.

Candle Colours: dark green, scarlet and silver candles

Crystals: Sparkling citrines, clear crystal quartz, golden tiger’s eyes, amber and topaz.

Symbols: As a focus, gather fresh greenery, especially hawthorn (indoors only on May 1), any flowers that are native to your region. Dew is especially potent when gathered on May 1 morning – traditionally girls would bathe their faces in it, You can substitute pure spring water left for a moon and sun cycle in a crystal or glass container, beginning at sunset on April 30.

Deities: Sulis (Minerva). At the sacred Celtic hot springs at Baths, the Romans built their own magnificent healing edifices, combining the indigenous Sulis, the Celtic Sun Goddess and resident patroness of the sacred waters at Bath, with their own Minerva Goddess of Wisdom.

Beltane rituals

These are for maximising the fertility energies first experienced at the Equinox, whether for conceiving a child or bringing a business matter to fruition. They can improve health and increase in energy, optimism and self-confidence as the light and warmth move into summer.

Sundown on May Eve heralded the signal for Druids to kindle the great Bel-fires from nine different kinds of wood by turning an oaken spindle in an oaken sockets, on top of the nearest beacon hill, for example on Tara Hill, Co. Meath, in Ireland, former home of the Dagda the hero gods of old Ireland. As time went on every village would have its Beltane fires which were attributed with both fertility and healing powers.

Young couples leapt over the twin Beltane Fires, ran between them or danced clockwise. Cattle released from the barns after the long winter, were driven between two fires to cleanse them of disease and ensure their continuing fertility and rich milk yield for the coming months.

But the chief feature of the festival was the custom that dates back to the first farming communities and finds echoes worldwide of young couples going into the woods and fields to make love and bring back the first May or hawthorn blossoms to decorate homes and barns. May Day is the only time of year, according to tradition, that hawthorn may be brought indoors.

May Baskets filled with the first flowers of summer were left on doorsteps of friends, family, lovers and the elderly and infirm, a custom that is worthy of revival in every community and home.
Beltane is therefore a festival potent for fertility magic of all kinds, whether conceiving a child or financial or business ventures bearing fruit, for an improvement in health and an increase in energy as the light and warmth move into summer.

As a focus gather fresh greenery, especially hawthorn (indoors only on May 1), any flowers that are native to your region, placed in baskets; gather dew potent especially on May 1 morn when girls would bathe their faces in it, or pure spring water left for a full sun and moon cycle in a crystal or glass container.

Personal Activities

A Beltane fertility ritual

This can be carried at any time when you need fertility on any New moon or on Beltane Eve.

  • Secure each ribbon underneath in a loose knot to another so they form threes; saying:

  • As one becomes two, becomes three,
    So three to six to nine,
    Winding, binding,
    Babe of mine (or wish if it is another fertility matter).

    I have a knitted cradle that folds like a bag over the baby within, or you can buy large pottery or wooden hens used for holding eggs. But any lid will do - even the lid of a silver-coloured wok. Magic is all about adapting the available tools, rather than modifying or not carrying out a ritual. Our ancestors managed remarkably well with the hedgerows and fields as source material and much of today’s most potent magic has a simple countryside origin.

    Throw the pieces on to a bonfire or fire in a domestic hearth and look into the embers to see pictures of a brighter tomorrow.

    A joint Beltane and Samhain twin apple ritual

    Apples represent life and health and fertility/creativity.

     

    The Place on the Wheel

    Beltaine or Beltane is named after the Irish god of light, in whose honour fires were kindled at this time by rubbing wood together.

    Sundown on May Eve heralded the signal for the Celtic Druids to kindle the great Bel-fires from nine different kinds of wood.  At this time cattle were released from the winter barns and driven between twin fires to cleanse them and to invoke fertility as they were released into the fields.

    Winter was finally dead as at midnight on May Eve Caillieach Bhuer, the old hag of winter, cast her staff under a holly bush and turned to stone until six months later on Halloween.

    A time of great fairy activity, especially around standing stones and stone circles.

    Sacred wells are very potent on May 1 both for healing and fertility.

     

    Ways of Marking the Festival in the Modern World

     

     

     



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