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Beltane: Queen of the May

 

A Fragrant Wedding

 

Tarot Card Number VI: The Lovers

 

Beltane: A Pagan Point of View

 

A Solitary Ritual for Beltane

 

Hawthorn or May Tree

 

Dance the Maypole

 

Lady Godiva and the ... Horned God?

 

May Day Songs

 

May Day Memories

 

More articles from the Witch's Cottage  Here

 

    beltane 2                              angela

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Beltane: A Pagan Point of View

Beltane!
I dance with delight
on Beltane's night.
All senses freeing,
I dance for being.
The flower and the flame
of love's own rite
shall blossom. Sun
embrace Earth, bright.

 

It is Beltane! The Earth softens under the caress of the sun and all the world is new. We emerge from the darkness of a long, difficult winter; our eyes drink in rolling green hills budding branches and tender shoots. We breathe deeply the fresh fragrance of radiant blossoms. We have survived!

Discover the magic of the ancient festival of Beltane - Maypoles, Sacred Union, Bel-fires and fertility - celebrate the Rites of Spring

The meaning of Beltane is bel-fire and one of the nine sacred woods used within those flames is the mighty oak. The oak holds much magic and lore significant to the Beltane Rites.

Also known as May Eve, May Day, and Walpurgis Night, happens at the beginning of May. It celebrates the height of spring and the flowering of life. The Goddess manifests as the May Queen and Flora. The God emerges as the May King and Jack in the Green. The danced Maypole represents Their unity, with the pole itself being the God and the ribbons that encompass it, the Goddess. Colors are the Rainbow spectrum. Beltane is a festival of flowers, fertility, sensuality, and delight.


Prepare a May basket by filling it with flowers and goodwill and then give it to someone in need of healing and caring, such as a shut-in or elderly friend. Form a wreath of freshly picked flowers, wear it in your hair, and feel yourself radiating joy and beauty. Dress in bright colors. Dance the Maypole and feel yourself balancing the Divine Female and Male within. On May Eve, bless your garden in the old way by making love with your lover in it. Make a wish as you jump a bonfire or candle flame for good luck. Welcome in the May at dawn with singing and dancing.
Sacred Time

Going A-Maying & Bringing in the May - Merry-making and Nature communion. * Midpoint between Spring Equinox and Summer Solstice. * In Pagan Rome, Floralia, from April 27-May 3 was the festival of the Flower Goddess Flora and the flowering of springtime. On May 1, offerings were made to Bona Dea (as Mother Earth), the Lares (household guardian spirits), and Maia (Goddess of Increase) from whom May gets its name. * Roman Catholic traditions of crowning statues of Mary with flowers on May 1 have Roman Pagan roots. * Marks the second half of the Celtic Year; one of the four Celtic Fire Festivals. Complement to Samhain, it is a time of divination and communion with Fairy Folk/Nature Spirits. * Pastoral tradition of turning sheep, cows, other livestock out to pasture. * In Pagan Scandinavia, mock battles between Winter and Summer were enacted at this time. * Building on older tradition of this time being a holiday for the masses, in the twentieth century, May Day has been a workers' holiday in many places. * Some say that Mother's Day, in the USA, Mexico, and elsewhere has Pagan roots.

Maypole
Forms include pole, tree, bush, cross; communal or household; permanent or annual. * In Germany, Fir tree was cut on May Eve by young unmarried men, branches removed, decorated, put up in village square, & guarded all night until dance occurred on May Day. * In England, permanent Maypoles were erected on village greens. * In some villages, there also were smaller Maypoles in the yards of households. * Maypole ribbon dances, with two circles interweaving; around decorated bush/tree, clockwise circle dances.
Flowers & Greenwood
Gathering and exchange of Flowers and Greens on May Eve, pre-dawn May Day, Beltane. * Decorating homes, barns, and other buildings with Green budding branches, including Hawthorn. * Making and wearing of garland wreaths of Flowers and/or Greens. * May Baskets were given or placed secretly on doorsteps to friends, shut-ins, lovers, others. * May Bowl was punch (wine or non-alcoholic) made of Sweet Woodruff blossoms.

Beltane Fires.
Traditionally, made from sacred woods and kindled by a spark from flint or friction. In Irish Gaelic, the Beltane Fire has been called teine eigin (fire from rubbing sticks). * Jump over the Beltane Fire, move through it, or dance clockwise around it. * Livestock was driven through it or between two fires for purification and fertility blessings. * In ancient times Druid priests kindled it at sacred places; later times, Christian priests kindled it in fields near the church after performing a Christian church service. * Rowan twigs were carried around the fire three times, then hung over hearths to bless homes. * In the past, Beltane community fire purification customs included symbolic sacrifice of effigy knobs on the Beltane Cake (of barley) to the fire, or, in medieval times, mock sacrifice of Beltane Carline (Hag) who received blackened piece of Beltane Cake; Maypoles in Spain were each topped with a male effigy which was later burned. Contemporary Pagans burn sacred wood and dried herbs as offerings in their Beltane fires.
 

May Waters
Rolling in May Eve dew or washing face in pre-dawn May Day dew for health, luck, beauty. * Getting head and hair wet in Beltane rain to bless the head. * Blessing springs, ponds, other sacred waters with flowers, garlands, ribbons, other offerings. * Collecting sacred waters and scrying in sacred springs, wells, ponds, other waters.
Sacred Union & Fertility
Union with the Land focus, often with actual mating outside on the Land to bless fields, herds, home. * May Queen (May Bride) as personification of the Earth Goddess and Goddesses of Fertility. * May King (May Groom) as personification of Vegetation God, Jack-in-Green - often covered in green leaves. * At Circle Sanctuary, in addition to May Queen & May King, we have May Spirit Couple, an already bonded pair. * Symbolic Union of Goddess and God in election/selection, crowning, processional, Maypole dance, feast. * Morris Dancers and pageants (with Hag & Jack-in-Green) to awaken the fertility in the Land.

...Beltane is one of the three “spirit-nights” of the year when the faeries can be seen. At dusk, twist a rowan sprig into a ring and look through it, and you may see them....

...*Light a Beltane Candle. From April 27 through May 1, place a light in your window to signify your solidarity with the animals and those who tend them. The soft flame of a candle is a tiny echo of those ancient blazes (for safety reasons you may wish to use an electric light)....

... At Beltane the Pleiades star cluster rises just before sunrise on the horizon, whereas winter (Samhain) begins when the Pleiades rises at sunset. The Pleiades is a cluster of seven closely placed stars, the seven sisters, in the constellation of Taurus, near his shoulder. When looking for the Pleiades with the naked eye, remember it looks like a tiny dipper-shaped pattern of six moderately bright stars (the seventh can be seen on very dark nights) in the constellation of Taurus. It stands very low in the east-northeast sky for just a few minutes before sunrise.
Beltane, and its counterpart Samhain, divide the year into its two primary seasons, winter (Dark Part) and summer (Light Part). As Samhain is about honoring Death, Beltane, its counter part, is about honoring Life. It is the time when the sun is fully released from his bondage of winter and able to rule over summer and life once again.
Beltane, like Samhain, is a time of “no time” when the veils between the two worlds are at their thinnest. No time is when the two worlds intermingle and unite and the magic abounds! It is the time when the Faeries return from their winter respite, carefree and full of faery mischief and faery delight. On the night before Beltane, in times past, folks would place rowan branches at their windows and doors for protection, many otherworldly occurrences could transpire during this time of “no time”....

... When the veils are so thin it is an extremely magical time, it is said that the Queen of the Faeries rides out on her white horse. Roving about on Beltane eve, she will try to entice people away to the Faeryland. Legend has it that if you sit beneath a tree on Beltane night, you may see the Faery Queen or hear the sound of her horse's bells as she rides through the night. Legend says if you hide your face, she will pass you by but if you look at Her, She may choose you. There is a Scottish ballad of this called Thomas the Rhymer, in which Thomas chooses to go the Faeryland with the Queen and has not been seen since....

... The beginning of summer heralds an important time, for the winter is a difficult journey and weariness and disheartenment set in, personally one is tired down to the soul. In times past the food stocks were low; variety was a distant memory. The drab non-color of winter's end perfectly represents the dullness and fatigue that permeates on so many levels to this day. We need Beltane, as the earth needs the sun, for our very Spirit cries out for the renewal of summer jubilation....

... Beltane, however, is still a precarious time, the crops are still very young and tender, susceptible to frost and blight....

Beltane is the Sex Sabbat just as Samhain, held six months hence, is the Death Sabbat. All other Beltane (also called May Eve or Walpurgis Night) customs are minor compared with those that explicitly celebrate human sex and fertility. Up to the Protestant Reformation in the 16th Century, marriage vows were conveniently forgotten at Beltane in many rural European villages. Newly formed 'couples' went into the plowed fields at night to lie down together and copulate in order to ensure the fertility of the coming year's crops. The Catholic Church could not stamp out this ancient pagan tradition. It took the dour Protestants who suppressed May Eve celebrations in England by passing and enforcing laws against public gatherings around Maypoles with their accompanying dances and fertility rites....

…If you are in a relationship and that relationship has any meaning for you, remember that the quickest way to turn your current partner into an ex-partner is to ignore their feelings, while you are lustily satiating your own desires with someone else. Multiple sexual relationships can easily turn into no relationships with anyone as the hurt partners leave you and look for someone better.

However, if at Beltane you find yourself in a place in life where you are free from all commitments and you are in a mood to explore, then having "safe sex" with interesting strangers may be appropriate.
In summary, remember to look before you leap at Beltane. Jumping prematurely into a sexual relationship can have lasting negative consequences just as bad as falling into the Beltane Fire. Make the spring fertility rites of Beltane work for you. Plan to have sex with your partner as part of your own private Beltane celebration. Soft beds inside are just as good a place to celebrate as is the hard ground outside. One reason the European peasants coupled in the fields was because they lived in huts crowded with other family members. Today we each select those ancient rituals that have meaning for us. We, as individuals and not some religious elders, should decide how we will celebrate the Sabbats. To do otherwise would be to ignore the guidance provided by the Deep Self or immanent divinity residing within each of our Sacred Selves.

Celebrate Beltane
Arise at dawn and wash in the morning dew: the woman who washes her face in it will be beautiful; the man who washes his hands will be skilled with knots and nets.
If you live near water, make a garland or posy of spring flowers and cast it into stream, lake or river to bless the water spirits.
Prepare a May basket by filling it with flowers and goodwill, and then give it to one in need of caring, such as a shut-in or elderly friend.
Beltane is one of the three “spirit-nights” of the year when the faeries can be seen. At dusk, twist a rowan sprig into a ring and look through it, and you may see them.
Make a wish as you jump a bonfire or candle flame for good luck—but make sure you tie up long skirts first!
Make a May bowl —wine or punch in which the flowers of sweet woodruff or other fragrant blossoms are soaked—and drink with the one you love.
Celebrants sometimes jump over broomsticks, especially at Handfastings which are very common during this season, or dance around May Poles, as both of these are symbols of fertility.

Traditional activities include 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.
Many like to celebrate Beltane 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 Beltane gestures.
Plaiting and weaving straw, creating things with wicker, making baskets and fabrics are traditional arts for this turn in the Wheel of the Year.


Symbols of Beltane
Traditional symbols used to represent Beltane are the May Pole (the traditional full-size one is about 10 feet tall), May baskets, crossroads, eggs, butter churns and chalices. Symbolically, many Pagans choose to represent Beltane with fresh flowers all around the ritual area as well as their homes and the cauldron is often totally filled with gorgeous springtime flowers. Roses, bluebells, marigolds, daisies, primroses, violets and lilac are associated with Beltane.
Beltane Altar
Altars are generally adorned with seasonal flowers. Other appropriate altar decorations for the season include mirrors, a small May pole, phallic-shaped candles to represent fertility, and daisy chains.
Gods and Goddesses of Beltane
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.
Colors of Beltane
The most common colors associated with Beltane are white, dark green, and red... 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.
Plants and Animals of Beltane
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.
Animals associated with Beltane are goats, rabbits, and honey bees. Mythical beasts associated with Beltane include faeries, Pegasus, satyrs, and giants.
Incense
Use lilac, passion flower, rose or vanilla. These can be used alone or blended as you like.
Foods
Dairy foods and eggs are in tune with this season. Sweets of all kinds, honey, and oats are all fine foods for Beltane. Simple dishes such as vanilla ice cream and egg custard are quite traditional fare on this day. For something a little different, try some of the recipes below:

 
Collected By Willow 

Source: The Wiccan Path by Rae Beth As listed on this website:  http://herbalmusings.com/beltane.htm

 

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