In about a week (in the northern hemisphere) we will be celebrating another sabbat as the wheel of the year keeps turning, so this is a topic where we can share ideas and begin to prepare for this beautiful date, one of my personal favorites
When is Beltane?
Northern Hemisphere: April 30 / May 1
It is traditionally celebrated on the night of April 30th, but it can be celebrated during May 1st in the morning or in the evening.
Southern hemisphere: October 31 / November 1
What is Beltane?
Beltane is the third of the four major religious festivals of the Celtic year and marks the beginning of the luminous season. Beltane announces the return of the Sun, in opposition to Samhain, which marks the end of the luminous season and the beginning of the dark season.
The name “Beltane” derives directly from the word “Beltene” from the old Irish language, meaning “bright fire”. Some claim that Beltane is directly related to the Celtic god Belenus. This deity is comparable to Apollo of the classical pantheon and Baldr of Germanic mythology. He is a luminous god whose name means “bright”. He has powerful healing powers and his main functions are medicine and the arts.
Beltane is a celebration of renewal and resurrection. It announces a change of pace since it is the opening of the cycle of daytime activities: the hunt is restarted, the conquests and the wars begin again, and it is back to work for farmers and shepherds.
Beltane, like Samhain, is also a time of the year where the “other world” is particularly close and within reach. And as in Samhain, ritual sacrifices of animals to the gods were also offered in Beltane.
This sabbat is conducive to all rites of passage between the cold and warm periods, between darkness and light, between physical and symbolic death and spiritual rebirth. In general, it is the festivity of the change of pace of life, from the winter to the summer. The celebration symbolizes this physical and spiritual passage.
It is a propitious time for divinations, situals of protection of the home, and for the gathering of herbs too. Jumping over a fire during the festivities was an act intended to ensure prosperity and fertility. During the night of Beltane people avoided the places frequented by the elves, fairies and natural spirits, since it was assumed that the veil between the supernatural and natural world was particularly thin. A modern version of the Beltane Fire Festival takes place annually at Calton Hill, Edinburgh (Scotland) on the night of April 30th.
Symbolically speaking and in accordance with the Wiccan belief, Beltane is the time in which the God is young and awakens his manhood, he desires the Goddess. They fall in love, they unite and the Goddess gets pregnant. The energy of spring has reached its peak, the fires of Beltane burn with great passion warming the hearts of everyone.
It is common to find the traditional Maypole, symbolizing the union of the God and the Goddess, it is a feast of fertility. It’s the perfect time for handfastings and weddings, and all celebrations of love.
How to celebrate it?
In Solitary: An easy and fairly simple way to celebrate Beltane alone is to look at the sky, the trees, flowers and plants and give thanks for all the abundance and fertility of the earth.
With a Partner: This can be an ideal time to cast a ritual to renew love and the pleasure of this union. This is an excellent time to do ritual works aimed at the conception of a child (if you do not want to conceive, please be extra careful).
If you have no partner, it can be a good time to cast love spells, keeping in mind that Wiccans should not direct it towards a specific person, or you would be breaking the free will of that person, simply ask to attract new love to your life.
In groups: many covens usually choose a man and a woman to be the king and queen of May respectively, which preside over the Beltane ritual.
It is also traditional to light a bonfire and jump over it to attract luck and also as a symbol of fertility (this can be done either alone or as a group).
Although the celebrations of Beltane focus on fertility, it’s not true that at this time sexual magic has to be practiced. The celebrations focus mainly on abundance and all the wonderful gifts that Mother Earth gives us all the time.
Activities for Beltane
• Make amulets with rose quartz and give them to your loved ones, friends and family. This is a gift that can help bring happiness and passion, as well as helping reduce anxiety.
• Flowers and vegetation are an important part of Beltane, so you can make wreaths.
• Make daisy chains and flower crowns.
• Wear flowers as part of your outfit.
• You can make a green man mask (representing the God) with leaves.
• Beltane is a time of love, so if you have a loved one you would like to commit to, this is an excellent time for wedding rituals, celebrations and promises.
• Dance around a maypole. The Maypole is a phallic symbol, the crown around it and the ribbons that come out represent the feminine. We are celebrating the fertility and marriage of the gods! You can do a traditional dance by holding the ribbons.
• Decorate the interior of your home with the flowers from the garden
• Decorate your altar with flowers and other colorful objects.
• Hang colorful ribbons on the trees.
• Make paper flowers.
• Light red, green, yellow and orange candles at sunset.
• Join a drum circle and dance to the rhythm of these.
• Make a bonfire to represent the sacred power of Beltane.
• Surrender to pleasure and enjoy sex.
• Dedicate a few words of affection to those who matter to you.
• Cast a spell to attract love.
• Work on your self-love and self-esteem.
• Collect flower petals to dry them and make incense
• Feel the expansive energies of this time of the year and write your feelings and thoughts on your Book of Shadows.
• Go out to eat in the countryside / outdoors and enjoy the good weather.
More Altar ideas
• Decorate it with seasonal spring flowers.
• Cover your altar with a green cloth and ribbons to represent the fertility of this sabbat!
• Add branches of birch and hawthorn to burn in your cauldron.
• Light candles in red, yellow, orange and green.
Food & Drinks
• Oatmeal in all its forms.
• Dairy products, cheeses and milk. (You can also make your own oat bread without using milk)
• Spicy food goes super well with Beltane, since it represents the fire element and the sun.
• Wine, can be white or red
• Any food / dessert / drink with vanilla
• Ice cream
• Sweet breads
• Red fruits
• Red tea
Crystals are good to take with you at this time of the year and to meditate, use them in divination and spells, place them on your altar, or give them as a gift.
• Rose quartz
• Pink tourmaline
• Clear quartz
Herbs & Flowers
• Flowers with thorns
• All grains