Beltane, the springtime Portal to Other Realms
On Beltane we honor nature’s oldest love story. Beltane means bright fire, and in earth-based traditions, it represents the handfasting, or marriage, of the God and Goddess and their eternal embrace. In ancient lore, the two are separated all winter long, and their reunion on Beltane is celebrated with food, drink, and multi-colored maypoles, which symbolize female energies wrapping themselves around the male form. The world comes alive in color to celebrate their love. This is a holiday of union, a celebration of the divine balance in the union of masculine and feminine. Having reached maturity through their long separation, Lord and Lady now come together as one.
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Beltane is one of my favorite Celtic holidays; it honors fertility, abundance, sex, and the growth of everything beautiful on Earth. It is wildly hedonistic and teeming with abundance, fertility, fire, and fun. All the symbols of Beltane are sexy, right down to the ritual way in which Beltane fire are usually lit – by striking two pieces of wood together, rubbing and grinding, until sparks fly. For more on the history of Beltane, read here. Beltane is a day to embrace the divinity of our sexual nature. Like Samhain, the opposite holiday on the Wheel of the Year, this is a time when the veil between the realms is thin, and it is a good time to communicate with the spirit world, especially nature spirits.
In Irish Gaelic Bealtaine is the name of the month of May, while in Scottish Gaelic Bealtuinn is May Day. Beltane is associated with the Celtic God Bel, also known as Balor or Belenus. He is a God of Light and Fire, and associated with the Sun (akin to the Greek Apollo). Fires were the traditional staple and symbol of Beltane. Pastoral herds were driven through two fireposts for blessing and purification, and people would jump over the sacred Beltane fire; the young, unmarried men would leap the bonfire and wish for a wife, while young women would leap to ensure fertility.
Your Beltane fire ritual
Build a sacred fire (outside, somewhere safe of course) and if you really want to party like an ancient goddess, dance round it with your partner or friends. In ancient times this was done naked after drinking a fair amount of wine. I’ll be honest – it’s more fun that way! But even a tame and fully-clothed fire ceremony can be sacred and fun. Designate a May Queen and King of the Forest to lead the celebrations and dancing. Invite your beloveds, and celebrate together while you eat and drink. I created a Beltane Ritual Set, so you may have tools to use in your ritual which aid in channelling the magical energies of this ancient celebration of Divine Union. Chant or sing a Beltane blessing:
Beltane is here, and we welcome the time of fertility.
We greet this season of fire, love, and passion
with open arms and loving hearts.
We come together to create life
to honor the Divine union between masculine and feminine
from which all life flows.
As the Earth grows and creates life, we shall grow and create life.
Amen, Aho, and So it is.
Beltane celebrations to make your own
- Decorate your sacred space or altar in vibrant, living color. Use roses and flowers in rainbow hues, and gems and minerals in varying colors and shapes.
- Burn lilac and frankincense. My perfume blend, The Rite, was created just for igniting sexual fire for Beltane.
- Craft your own sacred maypole using found wood, rainbow ribbons, and topped with a quartz point or other beautiful gem from your collection. Place this on your altar.
- Sit in meditation. Ask yourself, and your guides, what it would look like for the garden of your soul to burst fully into bloom, a thousand of your dreams like flowers spreading their glorious multi-colored petals? Visualize your fire and your blooming in as much detail as possible, and then take the actions needed to bring those visualizations into reality.
- If you’re looking to attract your twin flame, light a purple or green candle on the evening before May 1, and again on May 1 night, while you visualize that relationship coming into your life, asking that it manifest for the highest good of all.
So it is, so it shall be, and so it has always been. As you celebrate this special day, let the colors of nature inspire you to remember that all things bloom again, and time stops to make space for lovers to find each other again. May you find yourself, your spirit, your passion, and your twin spirit in the bale fire, beloveds. It’s never too late for you to become who you are intended to be.