Beltane ( Bell- tayn)
Starts on The evening of April 30th, concluding at sunset of May 1st
This Sabbat is also called: Cetsamhain (opposite Samhain), May Day, Fairy Day, Sacred Thorn Day, Rood Day, Roodmas (the Christian term for Rood Day, Old Beltane, Beltaine, Beltain, Beltane, Walpurgis Night, Florida (Roman feast of flowers from April 29 to May 1), Walpurgisnacht (Germanic-feast of St. Walpurga), Thrimilce (Anglo-Saxon), Bloumaand (Old Dutch)
Correspondences for Beltane
Activities and Rituals:
fertilize, nurture and boost existing goals, games, activities of pleasure, leaping bonfires, making garlands, May Pole dance, planting seeds, walking one’s property, feasting, making May Day baskets, and giving them to friends
Red, White, Brown, Pink, Green
Emerald, Malachite, Amber, Carnelian, Sapphire, Rose Quartz
Symbols & Decorations:
The Maypole, bonfires, flowers, trees, plants, plows, cauldrons of flowers, broom
Dairy, bread, cereals
Lily of the valley, foxglove, rose, broom, hawthorn, dittany of crete, elder, mint, mugwort, thyme, yarrow, almond, tree/shrub, clover, ivy, marigold, meadowsweet, rowan, sorrel, woodruff
Aphrodite, Artemis, Bast, Diana, Faunus, Flora, Maia, Pan, the Horned God, Venus, and all Gods and Goddesses of fertility.
Swallow, dove, swan, cats, lynx, leopard
The Beltane Fire
The lighting of the Beltane fire is one of the most widely known Celtic traditions for this Sabbat. On May Eve (April 30) people would put out their hearth fires, then on Beltane (May 1) they would relight them from the celebratory bonfires. The dousing and relighting of the hearth fires were done on each of the fire festivals not just Beltane as according to druid lore.
The Beltane bonfires were lit as a symbol of the return of the sun for the summer half of the year. Nine sacred woods were used to start the fires and each wood has its own magickal properties. The names of the wood to be used appears in the song versions of the Witches Rede, while the shorter versions contain the first sentence.
“Nine woods in the Cauldron go, burn them fast and burn them slow.
Birchwood in the fire goes to represent what the Lady knows.
Oak in the forest, towers with might in the fire it brings the God’s insight.
Rowan is a tree of power causing life and magick to flower.
Willows at the waterside stand ready to help us to the Summerland.
Hawthorn is burned to purify and to draw faerie to your eye.
Hazel-the tree of wisdom and learning- adds its strength to the bright fire burning.
White are the flowers of Apple tree that brings us fruits of fertility.
Grapes grow upon the vine giving us both joy and wine.
Fir does mark the evergreen to represent immortality seen.
But – Elder is the Lady’s tree burn it not or cursed you’ll be.”
When the fires were lit the people would gather and the dancing would begin. They would dance around the fires, spiraling in and out. The next custom involved jumping the bonfires this would ensure a successful growing season and a prosperous summer. according to Druid lore, the men would jump first, followed by the women. Lastly, the herd animals would be driven through the embers for protection and purification.
Oak~ symbolizes the God and male energy
Birch~ symbolizes the Goddess and female energy
Rowan or Mountian Ash~ Symbolizes life
Hazel~ symbolizes wisdom and knowledge
Willow~ symbolizes death and the otherworld
Hawthorn~ symbolizes fairy magick and purity
Vine~ symbolizes happiness and joy
Fir~ symbolizes birth and rebirth
Apple~ symbolizes family and love
The sacred Beltane fire can also be made in your altar cauldron and you would only need a few chips or shavings from each of the 9 woods. Since not everyone has access to wood chips let alone 9 different kinds, you could use herbs instead. Choose herbs that correspond with each of the woods needed. Believe me, the Lady and Lord understand and will smile upon your effort!
I invite you to check out my websites!
The Desert Path: The dusty ramblings of a desert pagan. https://thedesertpath.com/
Sacred Spirals (the place where all paths meet)