Spring is jumping to life and Beltane is here to celebrate the fertile grounds which are ready to be sowed. Beltane is a celebration of fire, sex, passion, and marks the official start of the summer.
What is Beltane?
Beltane is the second of the four Gaelic fire festivals of the year. It takes place between April 30th - May 1st and marks the halfway point between the spring equinox and the summer solstice. It's also known as May Day or Lá Bealtaine. The name stems from the old Scottish Gaelic bealltainn, which means "bright fire," signifying the first of the summer.
Beltane was known as the beginning of summer, particularly to the ancient Celts who tended to livestock. Herdsmen would move their animals to their summer pastures, but would first perform a fire ritual for protection. Bonfires would be lit and the animals would either be led through a path between two fires as a way to purify and call in protection as they move to their new summer homes.
Bonfires would be lit on the eve of May and members of the community came to dance around the fire, an act of protection for themselves. Once the fire smoldered out, they would take the charred rowan branches and bring them home to relight their own hearth. The following morning would bring the start of the May Pole festivities.
- Bonfires for large gatherings is a staple for Beltane
- Dancing around a May Pole was a common tradition during the daylight hours
- Handfasting + marriage ceremonies are very popular for Beltane, as it is the festival of fertility
- Hawthorn, rowan, or primrose flowers would decorate thresholds and windows for protection, as they invoked the element of fire.
- The morning dew of May Day was used for beauty + youthfulness. Women would either roll in the dewy fields or collect it to wash their faces with it.
- Symbols: fire, may pole, brooms, spring blooms
- Themes: love, fertility, sex, passion, marriage
- Colors: red, pink, orange, yellow, green,
- Herbs: bluebell, hawthorn, honeysuckle, lilac, marigold, meadowsweet, primrose, rose, all flowering plants
- Crystals: emerald, malachite, rose quartz
- Food + Drink: oats, dairy, honey, fresh greens + vegetables, edible flowers, mead
- Animals: bees, cows, goats, rabbits
- Activities: bonfire, picnics, making flower crowns
BELTANE RITUAL BATH
- 1 cup sea salt
- 2 cups milk (dairy or non-dairy)
- 1/2 cup honey
- Roses or whichever flowers are in bloom near you
- 8 drops rose absolute
- 4 drops vanilla essential oil
- 4 drops sandalwood essential oil
- 4 drops lemon essential oil
- 2 drops jasmine absolute
- Begin running an extra hot bath (the milk will cool it down when added)
- Add the essential oils to the sea salt and add to the bath
- Pour in the milk of your choice.
- Top the bath's surface with your flowers.