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* This is an excellent time to look at the legends surrounding the Gods and Goddesses known for their sense of humour; Baubo, Sheila na Gig and especially the 'trickster' Gods Loki, Pan and Puck.
* Alternatively, you could spend some time looking at color correspondences and the
uses to which color can be put. Colour correspondences are perhaps the most
common way to enhance Magical working and this is an excellent time to observe and study them as they are appearing in nature around now.
This is a time of self-discovery, love, union and developing your potential for personal growth.
The Simple Facts:
A celebration of the approach of summer, when the breezes are scented and the evenings getting warm, and the divine union of Lord and Lady!
Celebrations include weaving a web of life around the Maypole and leaping the Beltane fire for luck.
Lilacs and hawthorn should be brought inside on this day, along with flowers of all kinds to represent the fertility of the earth.
A festival of love, lust and fertility.
This sabbath celebrates life above all else.
It is a festival of fertility to bring on the bountiful crops planted at the beginning of Spring.
Pagans at this time used to ride broomsticks and jump into the air to show the crops how high to grow (hence the myth of Witches flying on broomsticks).
The Maypole was also used during this celebration to symbolise the union of the God and Goddess with the weaving of ribbons together in mock sexual union.
The Goddess enters the "Mother" phase at this time.
Wiccan handfastings are common at this festival.
This is a time of self-discovery, love, union and developing your potential for personal growth.
The sabbath of perfect unity!
Beltaine is the time of new life! It is a time when baby animals are born. New plants grow shoots. Flowers bloom. Trees rebirth their leaves.
It is a time when all things male and female unite to become one.
Many like to celebrate Beltaine by decorating their homes and themselves with fresh flower garlands, or by stringing up greenery around their homes and places of work.
Sending flowers to loved ones, planting new gardens, cleaning out the cupboards and general spring cleaning are all traditional Beltaine gestures.
Alot of witches celebrate fertility at this time, focusing on the cauldron for their main spell ideas, the cauldron representing all that is feminine. Others prefer the older traditions of dancing around the May Pole, a far more masculine symbol of fertility.
Favourite Beltaine past times include plaiting and weaving, and in general, anything where you join two substanecs to make a third.
For the simple feast, which is a blessing of abundance, traditional foods were based on dairy, such as custard and icecream, but anything representing the sweetness of life would be appropriate!
A good Beltaine chant is "United are we in Perfect Harmony".
Celebrate love and life!
Beltane (most commonly pronounced "BELL-tayn", but also can be "BEEL-teen", "BEEL-tawn-uh", or "B'YAL-tinn") is one of the Greater Wiccan Sabbats and is usually celebrated on May 1st, but can be on the night of April 30th, depending on your tradition or - if you are solitary - simply your personal choice. In the Celtic tradition it is celebrated on May 1st or the first Full Moon in Taurus. The Scottish tradition of PectiWita celebrate their sabbath on May 15th.(Images to the left and below are by Anthony Meadows and from Llewellyn's 1998 and 1999 Witches' Calendars. Click on either image to go directly to Llewellyn's Web Site.)
Other names used for this sabbath are Bealtaine (Irish Wittan), Whitsun or Old Bhealltainn (Scottish PectiWita), Bealtinne (Caledonii or the Druids), Samhradh and La Baal Tinne (Faery Wicca), Roodmas, Rudemas (Mexican Craft), Walburga (Teutonic), Walpurgisnacht (German), Walpurgis Eve, Celtic Summer, Giamonios, Tana's Day - La Giornata di Tana (Aridian Strega), Floralia, The Great Rite, May Day, and May Eve. It is also known as Cetshamain in Ireland, and is one of the few specifically Irish festivals. (Images to the left and below are by Anthony Meadows and from Llewellyn's 1998 and 1999 Witches' Calendars. Click on either image to go directly to Llewellyn's Web Site.)
This sabbath is primarily a fertility festival, with Nature enchantments and offerings to wildlings and Elementals. The return of full-blown fertility is now very evident. The powers of elves and fairies are growing and will reach their height at Summer Solstice. Celebrants sometimes jump over broomsticks or dance around May Poles, both as symbols of fertility. Bonfire leaping and horn blowing are other forms of traditional celebration. Weaving and plaiting are traditional arts at this time of year, for the joining together of two substances to form a third is in keeping with the spirit of Beltane. This sabbath represents the Union of the God and Goddess, the Sacred Marriage, all new life, and fertility for all living things.
Most Wiccans consider this sabbath to be the start of the Light Half of the Year - the Summer - as opposed to the Dark Half of the Year - Winter - which begins on Samhain. Most Wiccans view this as the half of the year which is ruled by the Goddess, while the dark half is ruled by the God. As I stated above - this is a fertility sabbath - and traditionally is considered to be the time that the God and Goddess are wed. It is also considered to be the time that He impregnates Her as they are "sexually connected" on this day. This is represented symbolically by the wrapping of the May Pole. In the olden days, the May Pole was made from a communal pine tree which had been decorated at Yule, with most of its branches removed at this time. A few of the uppermost branches could remain if desired. Traditionally, the ribbons attached around the top of the May Pole are red and white... this is to represent either one of these: the red as the Sun God and the white as the Virgin Goddess, or the white for the Maiden and the red for the Mother. The participants dance around the May Pole carrying the ribbons - the males holding the red and the females holding the white. As they dance, they weave and intertwine the ribbons to form a symbolic birth canal wrapped around the phallic pole, representing the union of the Goddess and God. Many Wiccans choose this time to perform their own Handfastings or Weddings. Another great choice would be the next sabbath at the Summer Solstice.
Symbolically, many Pagans choose to represent Beltane with fresh flowers all around and the cauldron which is filled with flowers. All of the following flowers are symbolic of Beltane: roses, bluebells, marigolds, daisies, primroses and lilac. Mirrors are also appropriate. Altar decorations may also include a small May pole and/or a phallic-shaped candle (to represent fertility), and a daisy chain. Plaiting and weaving straw, creating things with wicker, making baskets and fabrics are traditional arts for this turn in the Wheel of the Year. Other symbols used to represent Beltane are the May Pole (the traditional full-size one is about 10 feet tall), May baskets, crossroads, eggs, butterchurns, and chalices.
Traditional activities include the already mentioned wrapping of the May Pole, the Great Rite, jumping the balefire, blowing horns, and gathering flowers. Solitary Practitioners might consider the weaving together of ribbons as an alternative to creating and dancing around the May Pole. It is considered taboo to give away fire or food on this day.
Appropriate Deities for Beltane include all Virgin-Mother Goddesses, all Young Father Gods, all Gods and Goddesses of the Hunt, of Love, and of Fertility. Some Beltane Goddesses to mention by name here include Aphrodite, Arianrhod, Artemis, Astarte, Venus, Diana, Ariel, Var, Skadi, Shiela-na-gig, Cybele, Xochiquetzal, Freya, and Rhiannon. Beltane Gods include Apollo, Bacchus, Bel/Belanos, Cernunnos, Pan, Herne, Faunus, Cupid/Eros, Odin, Orion, Frey, Robin Goodfellow, Puck, and The Great Horned God.
One key action to keep in mind during this time in the Wheel of the Year is to take action on the activities and projects you had planned and started on Ostara. Spellwork to consider include those for fertility, love, spiritual communion/closeness with deity, safety, prosperity, and conservation. This being a time of great magic, is a good time for divinations of all types, and for establishing a woodland or garden shrine. The household guardians should be honored at this time.
The most common colors associated with Beltane are white and dark green, but also appropriate are all the colors of the rainbow spectrum itself. Stones to use during the Beltane celebration include sapphires, bloodstones, emeralds, orange carnelians, and rose quartz.. Animals associated with Beltane are goats, rabbits, and honey bees. Mythical beasts associated with Beltane include faeries, pegesus, satyrs, and giants.
Plants and herbs associated with Beltane are primrose, yellow cowslip, hawthorn, roses, birch trees, rosemary, and lilac. Also included are almond, angelica, ash trees, bluebells, cinquefoil, daisies, frankincense, ivy, marigolds, satyrion root, and woodruff. For Beltane incense, you could make a blend from any of the following scents or simply choose one... frankincense, lilac, passion flower, rose, or vanilla.
Foods in tune with this day (linking your meals with the seasons is a fine way of attuning with Nature) traditionally come from the dairy, and dishes such as marigold custard (see Scott Cunningham's recipe below) and vanilla ice cream are fine. Sweets of all kinds, honey, and oats are fine fare for Beltane. Additional foods to include are all red fruits such cherries and strawberries, green herbal salads, and red or pink wine punch. Oatmeal or barley cakes, sometimes known as "Beltane Cakes", are also appropriate.
May the Lord and Lady bless you all with abundance and success!
Next I will list several recipes appropriate for the Beltane turn in the Wheel of the Year. I have gathered these from various places, noted on each...
Preheat oven to 375 degrees, and combine:
4 cups sifted flour
1/2 cup ground almonds
2 cups sugar
1 tube almond paste
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
When dough is worked to medium soft, shape into flattened balls and place on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes. Cool, ice with white Solar Cross. You could try this as a single loaf. I also like to make an almond biscuit with biscuit mix, almond extract, sugar, cinnamon, and eggs, but in smaller proportions.
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