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  • Writer's pictureNykos

How to Celebrate Beltane

Beltane (also known as Mayday) is an ancient Celtic festival that celebrates fertility, love, summertime, and purification. It follows Ostara in the Wheel of the Year and marks the halfway point between the spring equinox and the summer solstice. This festival was traditionally celebrated in Ireland, Scotland, and the Isle of Man. It is also a liminal time in which the veils between worlds is thin. This makes it the perfect time for scrying, dreamwork, prophecy, contacting other realms, and divination.

Beltane Customs:

  • Herding of the Cattle: One very old tradition associated with this holiday was the herding of cattle in between two bonfires in order to protect them from diseases before being released into the pasture. 

  • Maypole: TheMaypole itself is a phallic symbol and the weaving of ribbons around the Maypole represents fertility and the union of the God and Goddess. 

  • Beltane Fire: Beltane comes from Bel, a Celtic god known as "the bright one" and form the Gaelic word "teine" for fire. At Beltane, young couples would traditionally collect blossoms during the day and light fires at night. The fires of Beltane are associated with cleansing and fertility.

  • Handfasting: As Beltane is symbolized by the coming together of the God and Goddess, it is a traditional time for the pagan rite of handfasting. This ceremony binds a couple together for a year and a day, although contemporary practices may be more akin to a traditional wedding and be binding for life. 

  • Fertility Ritual: At Beltane, it was traditional for individuals to act out the union of the Goddess and the God in a coupling that often resulted in Beltane babies. This coupling was a symbolic ritual of fertility.

Gods and Goddesses: Bel, Pan, Artemis, Bacchus, Cernunnos, Flora, Hera, Aphrodite, Diana, Freya, Cybele, Venus, Xochiquetzal

Trees: Hawthorn, Rowan, Birch (often used for Maypoles), Oak

Flowers: Daisy, Honeysuckle, Dandelion, Tulips, Crocus, Bluebells, Marigolds, Lilac, Cowslip, Lily of the Valley, Violets, Rose, Jasmine and other spring and summer blooming flowers

Herbs and Spices: Hawthorn, Yarrow, Mugwort, Thyme, Mint, Almond, Lavender, Woodruff, Mallow, Vanilla and other heady herbs

Colors: Red, Green, Silver, Purple and other bright colors

Crystals: Bloodstone, Citrine, Carnelian, Ruby, Agate, Aventurine, Emerald

Food: Honey, Bread, Strawberries, Wine, Oats, Edible Flowers, Salads

Spells: Fertility, Love, Divination, Contacting Other Realms, Protection

Animals: Goats, Rabbits, Bees, Satyrs, Pegasus, Fairies

Ways to Celebrate Imbolc:

  • Maypole Dance

  • Beltane Altar

  • Beltane Incense

  • Divination Spells, Prophecy, and Dreamwork

  • Love and Lust Spells

  • Contacting Other Realms

  • Collecting Spring and Summer Blossoms

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