Beltane is the second most significant fire festival in the Pagan calendar after Samhain (Halloween) It marks the beginning of Summer as it falls 6 weeks after Ostara, the Spring Equinox and is my favourite Sabbat.
Beltane is a fertility festival and all around the gentle kiss of Spring gives way to the lush abundance and abandon of Summer. As with Samhain the veil between the worlds is very thin around this time, but with the energy flowing in the opposite direction. At Samhain the world around is slowly dying and the life forces of the natural world seep back into the other world to rest, however at Beltane the veil is also thin to allow all that life to flow back into the world, so this makes it an excellent time for divination and work with nature energies.
The word Beltane is derived from the Gaelic word that means ‘Fire of Bel’ wih Bel being an ancient Celtic Sun God. It is however a festival in honour of the Goddess who now takes over after the reign of the God as the Holly King.
Here are some simple ways to mark the Sabbat at home based on earlier traditions…….
- Early morning dew gathered on Beltane should be collected and used to wash your face – this is believed to bring beauty and a clear complexion.
- The sabbat should be marked with fire, outside preferably but if this is not a possibility then plenty of candles will do.
- May baskets are a lovely tradition. In the past they were made up of treats and hung on people’s doors secretly – as if a gift from the universe itself. I think the important thing with this tradition is that you give something home-made, from the heart and in keeping with the essence of the festival. I will be making a few candles in saved jam jars sprinkled with marigold petals (good for Beltane) and anointed with orange oil.
- Garlands have also been traditionally worn – especially by the May Queen – representative of the Goddess. A really easy garland to make and get hold of at home is Ivy, which will easily weave itself into a hair band.
- I will also be burning all of last years herbs I still have hung up that I have not used – as I want the
spirit of those essences returned to the outside and set free.
- It is also good to remember to gather any flowers or herbs you may want to use later on in the year that will benefit from having been gathered on Beltane – so anything really in relation to fertility, growth, abundance and attraction.
- This is also a perfect time for night or predawn rituals to draw down power to promote fertility in body and mind. At Beltane, the Pleiades star cluster rises just before sunrise on the morning horizon. The Pleiades is known as the seven sisters, and resembles a tiny dipper-shaped pattern of six moderately bright stars in the constellation of Taurus, near the shoulder. Watch for it low in the east-northeast sky, just a few minutes before sunrise.
Finally, this is an excellent time for magic so I will leave you with this simple spell….
In an outdoor space light a fire or a candle and have a jar of freshly gathered flowers and leaves. Feel the energy of the earth all around and the power of the sun in the sky and try to focus on all that is abundant in your life already and on all you wish to see grow over the coming months. Then repeat these simple words…
‘may the fire of Beltane burn within as we build our fires high’
Leave the items and walk around the altar three times, then slowly walk the path back to your home. Listen for the sound of laughter and bells and know you are blessed.
Image from http://www.kissthefrogx.com