Ah, and so the Wheel turns once again as we begin to face the hotter energy inbound…the fires of passion, desire, and joy.
Beltane | May Eve is typically celebrated from April 30th into May 1st, but our ancestors knew how to party – sometimes the celebrations would stretch on for a week or so. And who could blame them, having some fun in the sun and grass after a long, cold winter indoors?
The sun is shining stronger and longer through the day, and the typical rainstorms of the season soak the Earth, giving her the necessary ingredients and fertilization to grow all of the plants she does. Our ancestors followed her cycle, thus this holiday is ALL about fertility and heat – extra emphasis on that fun in the sun and grass.
On Beltane, we celebrate fertility and unions of all kinds – it’s known as marriage season for a reason! Handfastings and physical unions were emphasized at this time. Blessings and rituals surrounded the seedlings and young green stems of the crops emerging from the soil, prayers for healthy livestock, and of course, blessings for the women who hoped to become mothers. A lot of time was spent outside honoring the change of the seasons, welcoming all of the nature spirits and sprites back, and especially time spent in gratitude and appreciation of the Earth livening up for a beautiful summer.
On a personal note, Beltane feels like that first ‘push’ or ‘kick’ of summer activity. It’s time to do the final yard clean up, finish the poultry’s coop deep-clean, and to move all of the herbs and flowers outside. I’ve done all of my planning and preparation in the earlier half of this year, and now it’s time to take action and put it all together. It’s also time to set up my altar for Beltane, following the ‘correspondences’ or symbols of the season:
Symbolism: life, fire, fertility, marriage, sex, love, lust
Symbols: maypole, flower crowns, ribbons, spring flowers, bonfires, cauldrons, baskets, eggs, broom
Color(s): red, orange, yellow, green, white, blue, other pastel colors
Food/Drink: dairy, bread, honey, oatmeal, cakes, strawberries, wine, green salads, cherries, lemonade
Herbs/Oils: almond, ash, clover, cinquefoil, lily of the valley, meadowsweet, mint, mugwort, foxglove, honeysuckle, elder, ivy, lilac, rose, yarrow, bluebells, marigold, thyme, and other flowering plants
Deities: Freyja, Freyr, Thor, Sif, Sol, Baldr, Aphrodite, Artemis, Bast, Diana, Pan, the Horned God, Venus, Maiden, Mother, and other gods/goddesses of love/fertility.
Crystals/Gemstones: citrine, emerald, malachite, bloodstone, amber, carnelian, rose quartz, yellow jasper, shiva lingam, golden healer quartz, yellow fluorite, red & gold tiger’s eye.
Animals: bees, cow, deer, rabbit, frog, swallow, dove, swan, cats, lynx, leopard
Magic: Beltane is a great time to cast fertility spells and perform love magic. Beltane is commonly referred to as the “sex” sabbat so any spells or rituals involving sex magic can be more powerful during this time. This is also a great time to get married, committing to each other for a year and a day, renewing your vows each year. If those modes of magic don’t resonate with you, focus on planting or fertilizing your garden, dancing around a maypole, nurturing your goals, or just hanging out with friends around a bonfire!