Belting Out Your Beltane Love

April 18, 2023

Belting Out Your Beltane Love

Intro to the Fire Baller

May 1st 2023 gives us Beltane, a traditional Gaelic holiday celebrated worldwide, with its initial mushrooming in Scotland and Ireland. The festival marks the midpoint of the year between spring and summer, known as “the cross-quarter day.” On this May Day pagans would gather to celebrate fertility and new life with bonfires, singing and dancing. Participants believed that this celebration provided protection from harm such as sickness or bad luck for the upcoming season. People observe Beltane by embracing its symbols, performing rituals, and celebrating with friends or family members in their homes. Hosts also put on large events complete with live music, dance performances, food stalls & trucks or other activities like crafting workshops. Celebrating Beltane is an enjoyable experience for those involved, and it can be a meaningful way to connect with the maturing firepower of your open heart!


Symbols of Beltane

Fire is an incredibly important symbol of Beltane, used in celebrations for centuries. People often use bonfires to welcome the new season and honor its fertility-inducing energy. Think frolicking lambs in a green expansive field. The fire also serves as a way to ward off negative energies from entering the area, offering protection from harm. Gather around the fire at night to dance, sing, with flowers or food offerings and just see how connected you can get.


"Earth laughs in flowers," which are another significant aspect of Beltane festivities; they represent growth and rebirth that occur during this time of year. Celebrants can create flower crowns out of fresh blooms to wear while others make garlands, which can be worn on the bod or hung up in homes or around sacred shrines or altars alongside other items such as candles or incense sticks. Flowers are a main decoration both indoors and outdoors when hosting a Beltane celebration.


And the food! Yet another crucial factor in Beltane gatherings, offered by participants so their wishes may come true over the coming months! Popular dishes include traditional Irish fare like colcannon (mashed potatoes mixed with cabbage) barmbrack (fruitcake) and soda bread (made with baking soda instead of yeast). Other foods associated with Beltane include spring vegetables like carrots, peas, and leeks along with sweet treats like honey cakes baked in the fires lit specially for this holiday. Yum!


Traditional Celebrations

Maypole dancing is a joyous main event during Beltane celebrations. The pole itself represents the Sun with BDE and typically gets decorated with ribbons or flowers to symbolize fertility and new life. Participants join hands in a circle around the pole, weaving their way in and out of each other’s arms as they move around it to create an intricate pattern. This dance serves as a way for people to come together in a rompin' celebration of the season while also offering thanks for all gifts from sweet, sweet Nature, including us!


The bonfires originally burned high on hilltops, so that everyone could see them from afar and know where to go to party down! These days bonfires can be held nearly anywhere, including backyards or open fields, but exercise caution always and forever when dealing with fire. It represents clarity of spirit, but needs taming, lest we burn too maniacally 👅🔥 Songs or poems get sung or recited while throwing offerings such as herbs into the flames to honor the spirit of Nature within each of us.


Herbs

Anise is ruled by air and brings the vibration of the honeybees and pollen, a bit sweet when burned and makes great incense… well, all the following herbs make great incense!

Frankincense clears impurities and allows the spring/summer air to clarify intention and conjure protection for spirit and soul.

Mugwort heightens visions and supports a vast awareness of the seen and the unseen. 

Orange Peels are great to dry and add to the garlands, they’re all about sweet clarity and oranges can represent as little sun balls!

Roses Love, compassion, purity, creativity. We too contain these things! Anoint with rose oil or water to connect to Venus and your heart to beat as one… 

Violets hold a frolicky magic repping the mossy woodland vibe, faeries and playful future growth. Virtue, innocence, laughter all rolled into this soft offering.



To make incense, clear a space you don’t mind getting mucky and crush a teaspoon of dried herbs, mixing it with a dash or two of frankincense resin and whip your cauldron out! I use an abalone shell, lol, I wonder what my great-great-gammy would say! Well, she’d probably just spit and smile
😉❤️


Parades! 

The longer and more elaborate the better! And complete it with drumming, colorful costumes and masks that rep different animals or deities related to fertility/new life like Pan or Cernunnos (the horned god). Imagine it winding through a town or city, so colorful! People can wave scarves, banners, and signs made from natural materials like wood or leaves, onlookers will cheer them on which further adds love energy into this powerful ritual!


Beltane Traditions

Performances and rituals are a key part of Beltane festivities. Making wishes also plays a key role during this festival; participants take turns offering up their hopes for the future while standing close to the fire’s heat, plus fire gazing can intensify this. This practice can bring good fortune and protection from harm over the coming months, so it's an especially popular activity among those who celebrate Beltane, and don’t be surprised if you have littles vision as you gaze - it’s my preferred scrying element!


Another important aspect of this holiday is inviting guests into your home or gathering space. Whether these are friends, family members or strangers, all visitors get received as honored guests by providing them with food and drink offerings as well as warm hospitality throughout their stay. It's said that having such characters cross your hearth will bring luck and prosperity in turn for those celebrating! Decorate the doorways in colorful ribbons hung from boughs or plants alongside images of one's spirit animals – it’s a portal of love and celebration...




Modern Expression of Beltane

Online celebrations have become increasingly popular as more people choose to stay home due to safety restrictions related to the pandemic. There are multiple ways for individuals or groups of friends/family members to commemorate Beltane even when separated by distance. Creative ideas include designing virtual altars where participants offer up their time-synched wishes for the coming season or hosting livestreams where they share stories and songs from cultures around the world! For those who prefer at-home festivities, there’s also an abundance of online resources available such as recipes for traditional dishes, guided meditations, or craft tutorials that make it easy for anyone looking to add a smidge of pagan flair into their celebration routine this year.


Visual arts can be another meaningful aspect of celebrating Beltane; artists will create pieces inspired by themes associated with this holiday such as fertility, growth, and new beginnings. Paintings of rabbits, bees, and goats stand in as symbols of luck while sculptures made from natural materials serve as reminders of our connection with Nature’s cycles throughout the year. Additionally, photography is becoming increasingly popular among celebrants who wish to capture moments from their own rituals in order to remember them later on down the line!


Conclusion

Beltane is a powerful holiday ritual celebrated for centuries. It’s an opportunity to connect with your inner and outer Nature, honor the cycles of life, and welcome new growth and abundance. We can all partake in this special occasion, even just in a vision!


A visualization of the fire and animals and Earth supporting us can help us reconnect with our environment while providing us with a sense of community. If we have the fortune to come together to share stories and songs, even if it's not in person, it gives us the opportunity to express gratitude for Nature’s gift bestowed, which includes our imagination! 


Beltane inspires the art of living.


In today's society where technology often dominates our lives and we can sometimes feel disconnected from Nature, Beltane provides a much-needed reminder that there is beauty all around us, and we can take a good chunk of quality time out each year to really yuck it up! Whether it's nude dancing through a body paint procession or quietly celebrating in your heart, Beltane will surely bring joy into your life no matter how small (or big) the gathering may be... Let the Bacchus guide you!
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Written by: 
Sherrill Layton

Shells Layton is a fourth-generation magic practitioner, with lineage from Carrickfergus, Ireland. She's a freelance developmental editor and gives tarot, astrology, and human design readings at The Abbey and The Garrison Night Market in Fredericton, NB, Canada. You can reach her at sherrill@edapy.app.


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