Beltane is one of the major Sabbaths of the pagan tradition. The celebration of this festival starts on the eve of April 30th and extends to May 1. The origin of Beltane can be traced to the Druids who celebrated fire and light.
The “Bel” means brilliant and “Teine” means Fire. This celebration is done to commemorate the fertility of the soil, mark the abundance of harvests and the passage from the darkness of winter into the light of spring. This celebration is syncretized to the Saint Walburga in the Christian religion so it is also referred to as Walpurgis Night.
Correspondances of Beltane
The symbols :
- Day: May 1st.
- Incense: lilac, lily of the valley, verbena, oliban, hawthorn.
- Venus and the Moon
- Flora : Roman goddess of flowers.
- Diane : Goddess of the Moon
- Pan : Greek god of the woods and fertility.
- Pink, soft green, mauve, yellow.
- pink, green and mauve.
Trees: fruit trees in bloom, willow, hawthorn.
Flowers:lilac, lily of the valley, buttercup, May flowers.
May (Hawthorn) trees were and still are, decorated with ribbons and charms at this time of year. If you haven’t a Hawthorn near you, you could place sprigs of another blossoming tree into a vase and hang the decorations on those.
Yellow flowers, thought to imitate the sun, were often worn by people, on animals and sometimes tied to doors and windows.
TIP: Wear a yellow flower this Beltane or decorate your home with some wreaths of flowers.
Stones: emerald, sapphire, rose quartz.
During this celebration, bonfires are lit to keep away evil spirits. The lightening of fire and welcoming of the sun ensures the fertility of the land. In the Celtic tradition, the worshippers leap around the fire for purification and fertility purposes.
- Create a sacred flame with a red candle by carving a symbol of protection into the wax or chanting.
- Use the flame to light a lantern or carry it in a jar.
- Walk around the outside of your home chanting, verbally or silently to ensure protection and energy to fulfil your ambitions, projects and dreams.
- Walk round a red flame/candle – candles can be used indoors and sing and dance around it.
In recent times, the celebration of Beltane is done around the Maypole which is a phallic symbol planted deep into the earth and decorated with colored ribbons.
This pole represents the potency and fecundity of God and the unwinding ribbons are symbols of the union of the god and goddess. The worshippers drink and dance around this pole.
Significance of Beltane
Beltane or “Belfire”, which is the fire of the Celtic god of light (Bel, Beli or Belinus). Did you know, He may be traced to the Middle Eastern god Demon God Baal. Other names for May Day include: Cetsamhain (“opposite Samhain”), Walpurgisnacht (in Germany), and Roodmas (the medieval Church’s name). This last came from Church Fathers who were hoping to shift the common people’s allegiance from the Maypole (Pagan lingam – symbol of life) to the Holy Rood (the Cross – Roman instrument of death).
This is a season of cultivation of seeds and rearing of animals. In ancient Sweden animals were let out for grazing.
It is also the time to bind one’s destiny to another person in an annual relationship. The Celtics and ancient Pagans are known to mark this season with a hand fasting.
The tradition is that on the morning of May 1st, the couple wander in the woods and exchange their vows of fidelity and love for a period of one year. The man picks flowers for his beautiful woman and braids a crown that he offers to her.
The woman picks oak leaves for her lover’s crown. In some tradition, they use a ribbon to fasten their hands together before pledging loyalty to one another for a year. At the end of the one year period, they might decide to break up or renew their commitment.
During this celebration, the goddesses of fertility are revered. People seek for blessings of fertility for their animals, land and themselves. Barren women mate on this night with the hope of getting pregnant.
Celebration of Beltane in Czech Republic:
To the people of Czech Republic, Beltane is seen as a season of love. Huge bon fires of about 8 meters are set up preferably at the top of the hills. Pagans gather around the bon fire to drink, dance, make love and make merry. When a black and dense smoke formation leave the fire, the people cheer it as “a witch flying away”.
On Beltane Night as on Halloween strange things may happen. One of such is unbridled sexuality as worshippers consider this time ideal for reproduction.
Beltane night is also a time to use your energy to show kindness to people around you and heal the sickly ones. You can also prepare amulets of protection that will serve you during the year.
Walpurgis Night Purge
Walpurgisnacht was a time when you took stuff from that year and purged it in the fire. And you would have to then go and get it straight with any other people inside the Circle that you shared.
This is also a great idea for how you can celebrate this time as a solo practitioner. Why not take some items from your home that you do not need any more and burn them in the fire a.k.a. your cauldron. Think about things that you’re holding onto that cause you pain or upset. Isn’t it time release these memories, so you can fill the void with NEW experiences. The same can be said to reach out and make peace with those who you have been arguing or fighting with. We strongly believe that you are not weaker should you forgive somebody who has hurt you. The idea is that you release this person so you don’t keep a cord between you and them. If you can’t do this with a message or with a conversation, perhaps you need to do it with magic and release the anger/pain/resentment through a cursing candle or spell ritual!
Walpurgis Night Ring Dance
- Use what music you feel comfortable with
- This was meant to be for a group ritual where you hold hands and dance around the fire, but if you are a solo practitioner you may choose to perhaps say the words as a poem or over your cauldron. You could also dance around your cauldron at home by yourself. Who is looking? 🙂
Walpurgis Night, the time is right, The ancient powers awake. So dance and sing, around the ring, And Beltane magic make. Walpurgis Night, Walpurgis Night, Upon the eve of May, We’ll merry meet, and summer greet, Forever and a day. New life we see, in flower and in tree, And summer comes again. Be free and fair, like earth and air, The sunshine and the rain. Walpurgis Night, Walpurgis Night, Upon the eve of May, We’ll merry meet, and summer greet, Forever and a day. As magic fire be our desire To tread the pagan way, And our true will find and fulfill, As dawns a brighter day. Walpurgis Night, Walpurgis Night, Upon the eve of May, We’ll merry meet, and summer greet, Forever and a day. The pagan powers this night be ours, Let all the world be free, And sorrow cast into the past, And future blessed be! Walpurgis Night, Walpurgis Night, Upon the eve of May, We’ll merry meet, and summer greet, Forever and a day.