Beltane (BELL -tayne), also known as Bealtinne (Caledonii), Festival of Tana (Strega), Walburga (Teutonic), Roodmas (ROOD-mass) and May Day, has long been celebrated with feasts and rituals. Beltane means fire of Bel, (aka Baal (British), Bel (Irish), Beli (Welsh), Belanos (Pan-Celtic) Belinos) all being names for the Sun God), whose coronation feast we now celebrate.
This is the second of the four fire festivals, and the great central bonfire was an integral part of Celtic Sabbats, since it represented the gate to the other worlds. Home fires were extinguished and relit from the sacred fire of the ritual. Beltane is still best known as a day of fertility and healing. As the bonfire burned down, cattle were driven through to bless them and heal them. Another tradition was to jump over the fire three times for luck. Couples would seal a promise of their vows by jumping over the fire together, and Handfastings are now common at these festivals. This is a time of self-discovery, love, union and developing your potential for personal growth. Traditionally it was also considered the one day when all marital restraints were lifted and they could love who they wished for the night. Through this ritual symbolism, the crops would be fertile for another year.
May morning is also considered a magickal time for wild water (dew, flowing streams, and springs) which is collected and used to bathe in for beauty, or to drink for health. Its is said that any Maiden that bathes in this water will be fair of complexion for the following year.
Think of the May pole as a focal point of the old English village rituals. Many people would rise at the first light of dawn to go outdoors and gather flowers and branches to decorate their homes. Women traditionally would braid flowers into their hair. Men and women alike would decorate their bodies. Beltane marks the return of vitality, of passion. Ancient Pagan traditions say that Beltane marks the emergence of the young God into manhood. Stirred by the energies at work in nature he desires the Goddess, with the result that They fall in love and unite. The Goddess becomes pregnant of the God. To celebrate, a wedding feast, for the God and Goddess should be prepared. Breads and cereals are popular, and again Dairy foods are appropriate. An early morning walk through a local park or forest to revel in the beauty is also recommended.Beltane CorrespondencesSymbolism
Fertility, Love, Self-Discovery, Renewal of Vows, Personal Growth. The God and Goddess Union, and the conceiving of the God, as the Goddess enters her Motherhood phase.Symbols
Fire, Maypole, Flowers.Deities
Any Consort Aspect of the God, Bel, Cerunnos, Pan, Mercury. Any Mother Aspect of the Goddess, Rhiannon, Hera, Rhea, Anu, Cerridwen. Foods
Red fruits, herbal salads, red or pink, wine punch.
Incense Frankincense, lilac and rose
Emerald, orange carnelian, sapphire and rose quartz