Beltane: Today is May 1st. Spring is here. The sprouts are surer of themselves, the fragrant smell of fresh mowed grass sporadically wafts through the air, and we have the desire to move outside into the sunlight and warmth at every opportunity, perhaps even sitting on a sun-warmed front step and watching the world pass by for a few minutes.
Beltane is an old Celtic fire festival, and it is the perfect way to celebrate the end of winter and the start of spring. Beltane celebrates life, fertility, and growth.
I would like to introduce you to my favorite witch. Hazel has wonderful in-depth acknowledge about the ancient festivals and shares openly with reverence, poetry, and a sense of humor. Once, when I posted on Facebook that I wanted a spell to turn Joe into a frog, she immediately sent me Macbeth’s “Eye of newt, and toe of frog…” I think she even gave me a resource for “Eye of newt.”
In any case, I asked Hazel for a Beltane resource and she did better than that—she shared what she had written on the subject. We are very lucky!
Oak and Ivy- Fire & Ice
MAY DAY MAYA
BRIGHT LIGHT OF THE 7 SISTERS
MOUNTAIN NYMPH TRANSFORMED
WE ASCEND YOUR BEACON MOUND
& KINDLE THERE
THE OAKWOOD OF THE BEL–FIRE
TO RIVAL THE SUN
& CALL THE SUMMER HEAT
OF CHIMNEY SWEEPS & MILK MAIDS
TO LEAP THE HEALING FLAMES
SKY–CLAD SINGING :
‘RIDE A COCK HORSE TO BANBURRY CROSS
TO SEE A FINE LADY ON A WHITE HORSE ‘
WALK THE CIRCUIT
& BEAT THE BOUNDS
WITH THE YOUNG SUMMER KING
& THE QUEEN OF THE MAY
FOR THE FEAST OF FLOWERS
IS CALLING FORTH THE CONSORT
COME, COME, COME, UNTO ME
CELEBRATE WITH THE ORDERS OF ELEMENTALS
BOLD MAIDENS BATHING IN THE DEW OF MAY MORNING
SWORD DANCING & DRINKING
IN DEEP FOREST FRIVOLITY
STRIKING OPEN ANCIENT LEY LINES
IN BULLS EYE ARCHERY
MARKING THE UNRESTRAINED TRYST
A MAYPOLE IN HOLY-ROOD- MAS
WRAPPED & WEAVED IN RIBBONS & IVY
FOR THE MAY EVE RITES
ROBIN HOOD MAKES READY THE HUNT
MAID MARIAN HAS GONE-A-MAYING
Beltane, the old Celtic name for May Day, means “bright fire” or “fire of Bel.” Bel is the name of the Solar force, whose feast marks the beginning of the 2nd half of the year. Wood from nine sacred trees is gathered, and the great Bel-fire is built and ritualistically ignited by the High priestess or Arch-druid. The people used to carry home torches lit from the great fire to relight their hearth fires.
People would jump over the “need-fires” for fertility, healing and protection; they would walk the animals in between the fires to ensure a productive season… this is the mating season, after all, for man and beast.
There were other traditional May Day customs, like walking the circuit of one’s property, repairing fences and boundary markers, processions of all kinds, archery tournaments, Morris dances, sword play, and of course, making merry with music and drinking…
May morning is a time when the veil between the worlds can easily be pushed aside; but instead of the spirits coming into our realm from the other side—which is the case with Halloween, the polar opposite of May Day on the wheel of the year—the fairies can enchant us over into their mystical realms. This is a magical time, perfect for gathering “wild” water, especially the May morning dew, or water from hidden wells and springs. These wild waters were collected and used to bathe in for beauty, or to drink for health.
May Day is considered the start of summer, the time of milk and honey. This sensuous, fertile energy is totally universal and can be applied on many different levels. When we acknowledge these creative forces in the dance of our lives, it takes us to our own personal, modern-day version of dancing around the maypole, where we weave and combine the opposing energies within ourselves, blending them into one balanced source.
So YES, whether you know it or not, there will be at least one song that plays in your subconscious today, the 1st day of May. Whether you hear the Queen of the May or Jack in the Green for this ancient May Day ritual, your body, like the body of the Earth, instinctively knows it’s Beltane… the time of vitality and passion and new growth.
Our spirits, in their wisdom, seek the natural union of polarities that occurs at this time, giving us the opportunity for integration in the alchemical dance of our souls.
So if it is your will…light your Bel-fire, marry it to the water,
by floating it in the chalice of your choice…take the time you need there…
to do or not, what you will…
whisper your marriage vows into the water…or dance the 1st dance…
or smash the glass…whatever your ceremony calls for… short simple or silent…it doesn’t matter…
a 3 day bacchanal, with dancing puppets…it’s all good…
cause it’s all about what’s inside…
Peace & Love –