I'd like to share some ideas of inspiration for Beltane, which happened on May 1st, a significant Gaelic May Day festival. Landing between The Spring Equinox and The Summer Solstice. Marking the first days of Summer.
During Beltane, we honor the God and Goddess of spring represented by a handfasting, or marriage ceremony. The story goes that the lovers were separated all winter and are reunited in Springtime. Today, we celebrate their reunion during Beltane with food, drink, and multi-colored maypoles, which symbolize female energies wrapping themselves around the male form.
Think new starts, strong energy for re-birth & growth. At the Spring Equinox new life was just beginning to emerge. But here, at the beginning of May, there is no denying that the Earth has been reborn.
Beltane comes from the Gaelic word meaning “bright fire”. But many Earth-based cultures had Spring festivals they celebrated at this time, which were called many different things. For the Gaelic Celts (the people who inhabited Ireland, Scotland, and the Isle of Man), Beltane was a fire festival celebrating the beginning of Summer.
Like Samhain, which lies directly opposite from Beltane on the Wheel of the Year, this was seen as a time when the veil between worlds was at its thinnest. At Samhain the veil between the worlds of the living & the dead is thin enough that we can connect & convene with our beloved dead. Here at Beltane it’s the veil between the human world, and the world of faeries & nature spirits that has grown thin. These spirits & faeries are thought to be especially active at this time of year. Offerings would be left at the ancient faerie forts, the wells and in other sacred places in an effort to appease these nature spirits to ensure a successful growing season.
Most of all Beltane was a time for great gatherings, for celebrations & for feasting. In ancient times it was difficult for large groups of people to gather in the cold, wet Winter months. There simply weren’t any spaces big enough for large numbers of people to gather. Beltane was one of the first times when people could come together again.
I am on a mission this year to be more connected to nature, the old festivities and to honour the seasons. I think it helps me feel more at home and able to harness the natural energy of the outside world.
HOW TO CELEBRATE
1. Set Up an Altar
Set up a Beltane altar and fill it with the symbols of this special season. Think springtime (with lots of greenery) and things that represent fertility, rebirth, and awakening.
Flowers, Candles — floral scents (like rose or lavender).
Colors — Red, green, yellow/gold are all good colors to use for your altar. and passion. Gold is symbolic of the sun—a central theme for this Sabbat.
2. Have a Bonfire
For centuries, people have gathered together to celebrate the festival of fire. What better way to celebrate than with a beautiful nighttime flame? You can also create a fun and festive atmosphere with your own bonfire.
3. Gather Flowers
For Beltane, the blossoms of spring have begun to fill the world with their scent. Decorate your home with fresh flowers and greenery, especially hawthorn, roses or rowan.
4. Wear a Flower Crown or Garland
Wear your favorite flowers and plants in a garland or wreath in your hair. This symbolizes your connection with nature and your own inner power, sexuality and abundance.
5. Dress in Green
It is a time to celebrate the renewal of life and the coming fertility of summer. The color green symbolizes growth and birth.
6. Perform a Goddess Ritual
One way to celebrate Beltane is to perform a goddess ritual. As you may have guessed, this ritual is focused on drawing in the powers of female energy. You can begin by performing a quick meditation. Light a candle and sit quietly with your eyes closed. Imagine your body filling up with light, then imagine that light spreading out until it encompasses your entire home or apartment.
While you’re meditating, think about the things in your life that bring you coming season and then burn it as an offering.
resources: Wikipedia, The seasonal soul, outdoor apothecary