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Beltane Rituals & Ceremonies

Patti Wigington
Paganism/Wicca Expert

Depending on your particular tradition, there are many different ways you can celebrate Beltane, but the focus is nearly always on fertility. It’s the time when the earth mother opens up to the fertility god, and their union brings about healthy livestock, strong crops, and new life all around. Here are a few rituals you may want to think about trying — and remember, any of them can be adapted for either a solitary practitioner or a small group, with just a little planning ahead.

April’s showers have given way to rich and fertile earth, and as the land greens, there are few celebrations as representative of fertility as Beltane. Observed on May 1st, festivities typically begin the evening before, on the last night of April. It’s a time to welcome the abundance of the fertile earth, and a day that has a long (and sometimes scandalous) history. Try some of these rituals and ceremonies for your Beltane sabbat celebration.

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http://www.123rf.com: Copyright : Elizabeth Bakusov

Setting Up Your Beltane Altar
It’s Beltane, the Sabbat where many Pagans choose to celebrate the fertility of the earth. This Sabbat is about new life, fire, passion and rebirth, so there are all kinds of creative ways you can set up for the season. Try some of these ideas to get your altar ready for your celebrations!

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Beltane Prayers
By the time Beltane rolls around, sprouts and seedlings are appearing, grass is growing, and the forests are alive with new life. If you’re looking for prayers to say at your Beltane ceremony, try these simple ones that celebrate the greening of the earth during the fertility feast of Beltane.

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http://www.123rf.com: Copyright : Lorelyn Medina

5 Ways to Celebrate Beltane With Kids
Every year, when Beltane rolls around, we get emails from folks who are comfortable with the sexual fertility aspect of the season for adults, but who’d like to reign things in just a little when it comes to practicing with their young children. Don’t worry! Here are five fun and easy ideas for celebrating the season with your kiddos.

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Maypole_1500 - Image by Matt Cardy/Getty Images News
Image by Matt Cardy/Getty Images News

 

Beltane History – Celebrating May Day

Beltane kicks off the merry month of May, and has a long history. This fire festival is celebrated on May 1 with bonfires, Maypoles, dancing, and lots of good old-fashioned sexual energy. Let’s look at the history behind the Beltane season

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WomanArcher_1500 - Image by Vladimir Pcholkin/The Image Bank/Getty Images
Image by Vladimir Pcholkin/The Image Bank/Getty Images

 

Deities of the Season

There are numerous deities associated with the Beltane season, as well as a number of folkloric characters.

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Interested in learning about some of the traditions behind the celebrations of May Day? Learn why the Romans had a big party, why we dance around a Maypole, what a hobby horse is, and the reasoning behind all those bonfires.

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The Magical Blend Montreal

Beltane traditions, rituals and Correspondences

May 1 will be the sabbat Beltane, also known as May Day or Walpurgisnacht. Beltane begins at sundown on April 30. Traditionally, couples stay out overnight “bringing in the May,” or gathering spring flowers and greenery with which to create garlands, crowns, and bouquets. It is a time of joyous celebration of the fertility displayed by the land as it further opens to the touch of the sun: trees have put forth new leaves and are now flowering, the new grass is lush and thick; the days grow ever longer, and the rains nourish the new crops in the fields.

This festival is opposite Samhain on the Wheel of the Year, and like that Sabbat, it is a night of divination as the veils between worlds grow thin. The ancient Celts recognized only two seasons– summer and winter– and as Samhain was the beginning of Winter, the dark half of the year, so Beltane recognizes the beginning of Summer, or the light half of the year.

Beltane is also called Walpurgisnacht in Germany. Foods associated with Beltane include anything dairy– as the livestock is now feeding on new grass which improves the quality of milk and cream– as well as mead and other alcoholic beverages.

Traditions and Rituals

Beltane is considered a sexually licentious time. It is the beginning of the season favoured for marriages and handfastings, as well as for re-enactment of the Great Rite, the union between the God and the Goddess. Much poetry and folklore exists describing the abandonment with which dancing, singing, and playing leads to lovemaking. Children conceived on this night are called “children of the Gods,” and are said to be blessed.

The Maypole is perhaps the most recognizable accessory to Mayday celebration. A dancing game in which mean and women interweave ribbons attached to a high pole (passing one another with plenty of kisses), this action is another form of the Great Rite, the pole representing the God, and the ribbons which slowly enfold it representing the Goddess.

Correspondences

  • Colors: Blue, Green, Pink, Red, Yellow, White.
  • Gemstones: Amber, Malachite, Orange Carnelian, Sapphire, Rose Quartz.
  • Decorations: Flowers, Greenery, Maypole, Ribbon, Cauldrons & Fires, Fertility, Plants, Brooms.
  • Deities: Aphrodite, Asherah, Belili, Beltene, Brigid, Cernunnos, Cupid/Eros, Danu, Freya, Flora, Gwenhwyvar, Hina, Ishtar, Maia, Manawyddan, Mary, Oiwyn, Oshun, Ostara, Pan, Sappha, Tonantzin, Vesta.
  • Foods & Offerings: Strawberries, Cherries, Fruits, Salads, Wine, Dairy, Breads, Cereals.
  • Animals: Swallow, Dove, Swan, Cats, Lynx, Leopard.
  • Herbs: Almond, Broom, Clover, Dittany of Crete, Elder, Flowers, Foxglove, Hawthorne, Ivy, Lily of the Valley, Marigold, Meadowsweet, Mint, Mugwort, Rose, Rowan, Sorrel, Thyme, Woodruff, Yarrow.
  • Scents: Frankincense, Lavender, Lilac, Myrrh, Rose, Vanilla.
  • Spells: Love for Yourself and for your Partner, Union, Fertility, Deep Thought, Intuition, Renewal, Nurturing your Goals.

 

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