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.
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.
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.
On the Summer Solstice, greet the dawn by lighting a lantern just before sunrise, from an East facing hill or plain. Spend the day in the open air and then say farewell to the Sun on a West facing slope, lighting your lantern once more to give the sun power even as it descends..
Cast golden flowers or herbs into the air from a hill, a handful at a time, making empowerments for courage and achievement to the winds. Where they land and take root represents in the old traditions places of buried treasure or in this case symbolises new or buried talents you can develop to realise your hidden potential.
Make your Solstice water, the most potent Sun water of the year, leaving water in a gold coloured dish surrounded by golden-coloured flowers from dusk on the Solstice Eve until Noon on the Longest Day. This is especially healing and empowering and you can keep it in clear glass or gold coloured bottles to drink or add to bath water to give you energy and confidence.
Make a small sun wheel garden, either indoors or out using the flowering herbs of Midsummer vervain and St John’s Wort, Sun herbs such as frankincense, juniper, rosemary and saffron and all yellow or golden flowers, arrange them in the form of a wheel and fill in the centre with tiny golden crystals or glass nuggets. You can breathe in the golden light from your living sun wheel.
Light sun oils, frankincense, juniper, rosemary, orange or benzoin or burn them as incense to bring the sun power into your home or workplace.
For a Beltane Fertility Ritual click HERE