Beltane is a very ancient fertility festival, celebrated on April 30th and going into May 1st. In Celtic pagan times the start of May was marked by rituals, in honour of the gods of fertility. The name ‘Beltane’ means ‘bright fire. Bonfires were lit in honour of the god Bel, patron of light and love. Human sexuality was openly celebrated, as being a divine gift. During Christian times festivities continued, and although the meanings were diluted, the steamy, romantic vibe wasn't lost. Modern pagans have revived many of the ancient meanings – you can probably spot traces of these if you look at local customs where you live.
Phallic rod plunged into soft, rich soil – it doesn’t take much imagination to see why the Puritans banned the jolly pole and its merry dancers. The tradition was re-instated by Charles II when he returned to the throne and good cheer came back to rural England. In modern times many villages have their own maypole, forming a centrepiece to the local fete. As the dancers weave the ribbons around the pole, so the web of life is spun and the fruitfulness of the earth is celebrated.
QUEEN OF THE MAY
A pretty girl was chosen from the community to represent the spirit of spring and to carry the power of the Goddess of the Land. This custom still survives here and there. It is an encouragement to all women to rejoice in the power of their attractiveness. Pagans believe their Goddess teaches that ‘all acts of love and pleasure are my rituals’ – what an invitation to party!
BRINGING IN THE MAY
Witches were believed to be able to transform themselves into these twisted thorn trees. The white flowers have the magical ability to increase fertility. It was considered unlucky to bring in the hawthorn flowers, or ‘may blossom’ before the start of May, because that would have been out of harmony with the season. At Beltane, however, it was – and still is – time to go ‘a-Maying’. This often meant staying out all night and making love under the stars. These relationships were called “greenwood marriages’ and often resulted in babies born the following spring.
You also can have a great time at Beltane!
• Bring Beltane blessing into your life by gathering hawthorn and placing it around a rose coloured candle. Write a special wish on some pink paper, light the candle and as you visualise your wish coming true, burn your paper. Reward yourself with wine/fruit juice and some special cake – for this is a sensual season
• Have a luxurious, lazy bath, with your favourite fragrance in the water. Sprinkle the water with rose petals to attract love.
• Stay up all night to welcome May Day – do this with special friends, or with your lover, to strengthen bonds.
• If you’re single, find out where the nearest Morris group is going to be dancing on May Morning. Many will be up on hill-tops at five am, celebrating the start of spring, and if this appeals to you, you will meet like-minded folk to share a hot toddy with later on!
• Give yourself a present that will enhance your attractiveness – a makeover, massage, spa day, new outfit – the choice is yours
• Have friends round for a May Day feast
• Plant flowers or herbs, for summer flourishing
Observing traditional festivals can increase your spirituality and help you learn more about yourself. However, you may well want more specific guidance. More detailed and exact advice is readily available to you. Monthly horoscopes are there for you. Get free horoscopes and psychic insight at The Circle. If you want to know more about yourself and your path in life, call one of our expert readers at The Circle without delay
PUBLISHED: 14 APRIL 2015