Beltain – The Spring Fire Festival or May Day
Beltain is one of the greatest fire festivals of our ancient past. A bel-tene means a goodly fire. Bonfires were lit on the hilltops and communities gathered together to feast, stay up all night and welcome in the dawn. People jumped the fire to purify, cleanse and bring fertility. Couples jumped the fire together to pledge themselves into each other. May day celebrations included dancing around the may pole, to interweave the joining male and female energy and create a web of a powerful life force. They would also tie ribbons and shreds of clothing to the May trees, especially by sacred wells, as gifts for the fairies, who chose to live there.
Beltain symbolizes the beginning of summer and the power of the life force. The horned God and the fertile Goddess unite now in order to celebrate the sacred union, the blend of male and female energy that creates life. Through their deep found love that now reaches maturity, they both transform and share their deeper wisdom. This is a fertile time to honor the union of the opposites, to blend the rational and the intuitive, the active and the receptive and reach out for our dreams and wildest desires, find out in which direction we want to grow.
Spring is now at her biggest potential, celebrating the ultimate growth and beauty, bringing the fruits of abundance. From here to Summer Solstice is the peak of the sunlight and the conscious outward expression of Nature. During this high energy time, we need to create a positive and fertile ground in which to grow the seeds of what we need and desire. We use now the strong life force energy to become who we are meant to be.
Beltain sacred plants and trees:
- Hawthorn tree or May tree brings the spirit of wild places with it, even if it is growing in a city. It opens up the heart to spiritual growth and love and is potent for healing affairs of the heart. The flowers, leaves and especially the berries are prized as a cardiac tonic which acts in a normalizing way upon the heart by either stimulating or depressing its activity, depending on the need. You can use them to make your spring tea, or eat them fresh in your spring salads.
- Rosemary, ruled by Sun has a vibrant stimulating energy. It is a symbol of fertility and was used in weddings and hand-fasting ceremonies. You can burn it as an incense or make a herbal tea.
Some Beltain celebration ideas.
- Light a bonfire outside and gather with your friends or family. If not possible, you can light a candle with intention. Even if you cannot be with someone else, due to these special times of Covid-19, go outside and celebrate this opportunity to experience the rich moment of transition between dusk and nightfall.
- Make headdresses and crowns of flowers and greenery and celebrate your connection to your wild self and the Earth. Tie ribbons from your headdress, counting your blessings with each one.
- Take two sticks; one to represent something you wish to fire up and make fertile and the other something to let go of to help this to happen. Put them in the fire with a ceremony. Saying out loud what they strengthen, your intention and anchors them in your heart.
- Tie three ribbons on a tree with three wishes: one for the Earth, one for yourself and one for your family or community.
- Make the most of the drumbeat and other music. Dancing will energize and relax and can bring emotions out into the open. Celebrate them!
At Beltain, we can also direct our focus to the fertility of the Earth, especially now that She is suffering from people’s mismanagement, pollution and intensive farming methods. Send your love and prayers for Earth’s healing.
May we all be blessed with the energy of the May Day!
Fire blend and Fire light
I celebrate Baltain this warm spring night
This is the time of most fertile Earth
the greening of the land and new rebirth
Fire a passion and labor’s toil
life grows anew out of the soil.