The birds are singing, the trees are bursting with blossom and the sun is warmer which means we are all showing less skin. It can only mean one thing…Beltane is just around the corner.
Beltane is the 3rd of the Celtic Fire Festivals in the Wheel of the Year and it is the final fertility festival of the wheel. Beltane in the northern hemisphere begins on April 30th (November 1st in the southern hemisphere). The celebration starts at sunset the night before and continues into the sunset on May 1st. And yes Beltane is one heck of a big party!
At Beltane, we celebrate fire, fertility, and union. Though traditional Beltane rituals have varied over the years, they normally center around fertility, love, sex, marriagage, gardening, and livestock. Yes you did see Sex in there. Sex and Beltane have a long history together. Not surprising as we are all shedding our winter layers and getting energy back in our bones. Where as the other fertility festivals have focused on nature. At Beltane the focus is on human fertility and nature’s fertitlity. Reminding us of our connection to the natural world.
For me this is the point in the year where I can feel how much my body responds to the calls of nature, the primal energy of the land within me. It is a time of dancing to the drum. And it is a time where I celebrate myself by truly immersing in the art of self-love. After all if your relationship with you is the longest relationship you will ever have. So it’s important to tend to it as much as you tend to any other relationship in your life.
Symbols of Beltane
Symbolism of Beltane: Love, Fertility, Prosperity, Self-love, Marriage, Lust, Sexuality, Manifestation, Strength, Protection, The Fae, Divination, Handfasting, Puberty, Maidenhood
Date of Beltane: Beltane is celebrated on 30th April and 1st May
Symbols of Beltane: Blossom, Flowers, Maypole, Fire, Sex, Floral crowns, Seed, The Fae, Sacred bodies of water, Wreaths, Ribbons, Bees, Maidens, Rose-quartz, Hearts
Colors: Pink, Purple, Green, Light Blue, Yellow, White, Brown
Foods: Honey cakes, Sangria, Lemonade, Strawberries, Spring Greens, Cherries, Recipes Including Milk or Dairy
Herbs: Mint, Lemon Balm, Willow, Birch, Hawthorn, Woodruff, Ivy, Mugwort
Flowers: Dasises, Blossoms, Violets, Lilacs, Roses, Snapdragons, Jasmin, Elderflower.
Animals: Rabbits, Cows, Sheep, Bees, Robins, Hawks, Frogs, Doves, Sow
Goddesses: Frejya, Maiden Goddesses, Blodewedd, Aphrodite, Arianrhod, Artemis, Astarte, Venus, Diana, Flora, Skadi, Shiela-na-gig, Cybele, Rhiannon.
Gods: The Green Man, Adonis, Cernunnos, Frey, Pan, Herne the Hunter, Apollo, Bacchus Bel/Belanos, Faunus, Cupid/Eros, Odin, Orion, Robin Goodfellow, Puck, and The Great Horned God
- Maypole dancing – find out more about the symbology of maypoles here!
- May crowns – Weave yourself a beautiful crown of may blossoms and flowers.
- Going a Maying – gathering in the may blossoms and decorating your home.
- Wash your face in the morning due.
- Make a May bowl – strawberry wine with edible may blossoms.
- Bale fire – create a traditional may balefire (Recipie below) and jump the fire to cleanse yourself from the last of the winter sluggishness. (Make sure not to wear flammable materials and keep it safe. The fire does not need to be massive!)
- Practice Self-love – You can find lots of ideas in my e book ‘The Art of Self Love’
- Senses meditation – Awaken your sensuality by practicing a mindful sensory awakening meditation
- Sex – Do I need to explain this! Just keep it safe and consential!
- Beltane Bath – Take a mindful bath with candles, essential oils (lavender, rose are connected to beltane), you can add salt if you want to make this a cleansing bath. Make this bath intentional and caring for you.
MAking a bale fire for beltane eve
One of the hallmarks of any Beltane celebration is the bonfire, or the Bale Fire (this can be spelled a number of ways, including Beal Fire and Bel Fire). Traditionally, the balefire was lit with a bundle made from nine different types of wood . These nine woods are based on the first nine trees in the Celtic Ogham tree calendar, and wrapped with colorful ribbons ***
Once the fire was blazing, a piece of smoldering wood was taken to each home in the village, to ensure fertility throughout the summer months. While it may not be practical for each of your friends to transport a piece of smoldering wood home in their cars, you can send a bit of symbolic unburned wood from the fire home with them, and they can burn it at their own hearths.
***Personally I don’t use ribbons. They are not natural and buring them can release toxic chemicals. Bad for you. Bad for the environment.
The nine woods for the Balefire are:
I wish you a joyful, loving and vibrant Beltane !
Everything you need to know about the magical seasonal festivals on the Nordic and Celtic Wheel of the Year. In these e-books you will learn the roots of the festivals and discover how you can connect with Mother Earth at each turning point of the season, through ceremony, activities & celebrations.