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Beltane

The traditional festival of fertility, May Day celebrates the joining of Goddess and God as lovers. During this time, the Goddess enters into her Mother phase and conceives, preparing to give birth at Yule. Beltane marks the return of vitality, passions, and hopes for the future. Themes involve fertility, sexuality, desires, and love. Activities include feasting, dancing, rituals, and handfastings. Common traditions include the Maypole and jumping fires for fertility. Some circles may include symbolic or actual Great Rites into the festivities.

Similar to Samhain, the veils between worlds is thin on this day. Unlike Samhain, spirits are known to be more mischievous. As such, some warn us to be careful of what we wish for and the magick we make. Likewise, divination at this time may not be as accurate.

Correspondences
  • Gems: bloodstone, sapphire
  • Foods: bananas, breads, cheese, dairy, honey, strawberry, sweets
  • Herbs: cinnamon, neroli, rose, rosemary, sandalwood

Beltane Celebration Ideas for Beginners

Beltane in Wicca is a time of fertility, creativity, and merriment. Traditional celebrations for this holiday include the May Pole and bonfires. Many Pagan faiths treat this as a time for marriages and frolicking as the fertility of this time of year is both of the earth and animals including humans. We can find comfort in the knowledge that the time of plenty is coming in the summer and autumn months. We rejoice and enjoy ourselves in the present moment. As a newcomer to this Sabbat, frolicking in the woods and taking part in a May Pole dance may not be accessible or practical. However, there are many other great ways to celebrate this holiday.

Get Outside
If you must restrict your rituals to indoors only, there are always non-ritual, outdoor options available. Take a walk, go hiking, work in your (or a friend's) garden, go on a picnic, etc. Whatever you do, take the time to observe the world around you. Notice the plants and animals. During the last Sabbat, Ostara, you saw everything springing to life and waking up from winter slumber. No everything is all in full bloom! Consider the changes that came and are still on the way. Ground and center and feel at one with the earth. If you can do this by a tree or on a large rock, better so! Reflect on the magick of the Goddess and God that made all this possible.

Traditional Cooking
Sabbat celebrations often include some sort of food. Although specific recipes may not always be traditional, certain types of food are. Traditional foods for Beltane are generally fruits and bread. If you like to bake sweets pies and cakes with fruits like strawberry and bananas are perfect. Dairy and cheeses are also often associated with this holiday. For vegans, however, you can substitute with other milks such as coconut. The earth is in bloom and any foods you associate with abundance are great for this time of plenty.

(For recipe ideas, see Confessions of a Kitchen Witch.)

Decorating
In the same way we decorate for Yule by bringing an evergreen tree into the home, Beltane decorations involve bringing in plants and especially flowers. Springtime flowers are great for this Sabbat. Although some plants are more traditionally associated with the many holidays than others, it is best to stick with the plants native to your area. What plants are in bloom during this time of year in your neighborhood? While you are out and about on your Beltane walk, take the time to see what flowers are in bloom. Perhaps gather a bouquet or two to decorate your home. Another idea is to find flowers and herbs to put together a wreath. The same wreath can be used year after year adding in new flowers each time. As for colors, greens and bright colors generally associated with late spring, such as pink and yellow, are perfect.

Avoid Divination & Learn to Laugh
You do not have to avoid all divination and there is no harm in having a reading done during this time of year. However, keep in mind that spirits are active and at play on this day. Just as was the case with Samhain, the veils between the worlds is thin at Beltane. The difference? At Samhain the spirits are alive and making contact. You are remembering the dead and they are connecting with you. At Beltane, the spirits are loving the playful, wild energy of the day. Divination may go perfectly well without problems. However, spirits like to play pranks and will be sure to get some laughs the more serious you try to be. Let go and enjoy yourself. If you do any readings or have one done for you, keep your heart light and consider the humor the spirits may have included in the results.

Be Wild, Be Free
No matter what you choose to do for Beltane, even if you do not participate in or hold any sort of formal ritual, be sure to enjoy yourself. This is a celebration that calls for joy and being grateful for life in all its forms. The best way to show your gratitude is by enjoying your life. We are all children of the Goddess and God, though we may know Them by other names and in other forms. Even when we have problems in our lives, we always have at least something to be grateful for. Take a look around you and see how much you are grateful for. You are free. Play in whatever way makes you feel alive and at one with the earth.

© 2012 by Evylyn Rose