Today is May 1st, and throughout the world people are celebrating this day. For pagans, it is the holiday of Beltane that is honored today. Beltane marks the halfway point between the Spring Equinox and Summer Solstice. It is the last of the three Spring Festivals (Imbolc, Ostara, Beltane) and one of the two principle Celtic festivals (the other being Samhain). It rep
resents the oncoming of summer. As Samhain falls at the end of the year, and honors death, Beltane, its counterpart, occurs at the beginning of the year and honors life. It is a time of fertility and new growth. People would partake in traditions and celebrations that would honor and bring these qualities of abundance and prosperity into the following months.
Todays modern Pagan can celebrate the season of Beltane in a similar tradition. Here are seven easy ways to have your own Beltane festival.
Have a Bonfire
The word ‘Beltane’ translates to ‘Fire of Bel’ or ‘Bright Fire’. Bel is a Celtic Sun God. He is the father/protector/husband of the Mother Goddess, often known as nature/earth. Bonfires are a way to symbolize Bel and his fire, and encourage him to bring life to the earth.
Leave an Offering for the Fae
Like at Sahmain, this is a time where the veil between our world and the Fae is at its thinnest. This is the time when they return from their winter’s rest and are full of life. Despite the pop culture stereotypes, fairies are mischievous creatures who like to cause havoc and mayhem. Offerings of Rowan branches were placed above windows and doors as a sign of protection. Meals were also left out on the steps for the fairies. Leave your own offering of flowers, branches, crystals, and food for the fae to to show respect for them.
Place Flowers on your Entrance
Flowers are a crucial symbol of Beltane. They are a symbol of the victory of Summer over Winter. Flowers also represent the beauty in all of nature and the bounty/fertility of the season. Many people would gather flowers and weave crowns or wreaths from them. They would hang them on doors as a sign of abundance and prosperity. Flowers traditionally associated with Beltane are roses, lilacs, bluebells, primrose, daisies, and marigolds. Collect a handful of flowers to place on your doorway or have a craft day and make beautiful festive floral crowns.
Decorate a May Pole
The May Pole is a famous tradition of the holiday. It is a tall pole decorated with long brightly colored ribbon, flowers, and leaves. An even number of young women and men would each hold an end of a ribbon and dance. The men would go clockwise, and the women would go counterclockwise, weaving the ribbons as they dance until a pattern was created. This pattern is said to represent the abundance of the upcoming harvest. If you do not have access to a May Pole, decorate your home in the May Pole manner. Place fresh spring flowers around your house, hang ribbon from your doorways and windows, and use the colors traditionally associated with this holiday. Green is the color of growth, abundance, prosperity, and luck. White is used for purity, spirituality, and protection. Yellow is to harvest the energy and power of Bel and the sun, while Pink is used to invoke the love and beauty of spring.
Take a Bath
Water is another feature of Beltane. The element of water is refreshing and rejuvenating. It is essential to life and we see it with the spring showers that allow the flowers and plants to grow. It was believed that if you bathe in the dew gathered before dawn on Beltane morn, your beauty will flourish throughout the year. People would sprinkled May dew on themselves to insured health and happiness. An easy way to partake in this tradition is to draw a bath for yourself. Add some floral essential oils such as lavender or lilac to connect to the spring energies, and light candles in yellow, green, or pink to connect to Bel, and the growth and beauty of spring.
Create an Altar
As many pagans know, altars are a way to bring certain energies into your home and life. By creating a shine/altar, we are manifesting these energies and honoring them. Items to place on your Beltane Altar are spring flowers such as lilacs and daffodils, budding branches, candles of white, green, pink, or yellow, oats and honey, and crystals of spring energy.
Take a Walk in Nature
Beltane is the season of life, fertility, prosperity and abundance. We can witness this life all around us when we step out in nature and see the flowers blooming and the trees budding. It is a time of joy and childlike delight. Explore the woods, run through a field of flowers, and absorb the abundance of new life around you!