Beltane also known as May Day, celebrates the balancing of the masculine and feminine energies and the hope for healthy growth and fertility. The weather is warming and it is a turning point in the wheel of the year between April 30th and May 2nd in the Northern Hemisphere, but some paths follow other dates that go by; astrological, astronomical and lunar Beltane. It is believed that Beltane and Samhain are the two times of year that the veil is thinnest between the human and supernatural worlds and therefore the strongest times of year for magick rituals. There are a number of different traditions around the world and in history that were held this time of year, but here are a few of the main ones!
The Union of the Great God and Goddess
Beltane was known to be the time when the God and Goddess joined in marriage, which made it a traditional time for men and women to join in a handfasting ritual that would last for a year and a day. At the end, the couple would decide to either stay together or part ways. Today, we do this ritual as a legal marriage, in hopes to stay together for life.
A Maypole is a tall wooden pole that was typically a freshly cut tree by the single males in the community and put up specifically the day before the dance. However, some communities kept the pole up all year long. The single women in the community would all have ribbons that attached to the top of the pole and danced clockwise in a circle, while the men formed an inner circle with ribbons and danced counterclockwise. At the end of the dance couples would pair up in the woods and early the next year, the village would have several new babies born.
Beginning of the Pastoral Season
This was the time of year when cattle and sheep were driven out to pasture. Rituals were performed to protect cattle, crops and people from harm. Usually, two large bonfires were lit with incantations and the cattle were driven between them to protect them from disease. Fires at home would be doused and relit from the flame of the Beltane fires to protect the home and the people who lived in it. For many, this was also the time when they would welcome the Faery Folk and spirits to help protect their homes and farm lands. It is important that you learn how to properly interact with them before inviting them into your home, as you don't want to offend them or lose their trust.
So what are some activities that we can do to celebrate Beltane?
~Start your gardens. Plant some bulbs or even start planting some seeds in your home, if it is not quite warm enough outside.
~Have a bonfire, maybe even dance around it. If you light the fire with
protection intentions, use the flame to light candles around the home as well.
~Make and dance around a maypole.
~Create Faery Folk offerings.
~Create a spring flower crown.
~Decorate with ribbons and flowers
~Plant wildflowers for the bees
~Do a bonfire broom jumping (safely of course)
~Make flower wreaths
~Dress in red and white to represent passion and purity
~Do some divination
~Pick up a new hobby or project
Until Next time!
The Bat Witch