Updated: May 6
Beltane is one of my favourite Celtic holidays because it celebrates fertility, prosperity, sex, and the development of everything beautiful on this Planet. It's hedonistic to the extreme, brimming with abundance, vitality, fire, and fun times. It is a celebration of the blossoming of Life, of Love, of Union, and Beauty!
It is beautiful to see how the old rituals have been adapted to the new religions and how they all relate to astrological events and human's connection to Nature.
May Day is called Bealtuinn in Scottish Gaelic. Beltane is synonymous with the Celtic God Bel, also known as Balor or Belenus, and the term originally meant "Bel Fire" ( Bel is a God of Light and Fire).
The Spiral Dance Beltaine (also spelled Bealteinne, Bealtaine, and other variations) marks the start of the Celtic Summer. Rituals were performed to protect cattle, crops, and people, as well as to promote growth. Beltane was usually celebrated by lighting fires and jumping over them. Unmarried young people would leap over the bonfire to wish for a husband or wife, young women would leap to ensure their fertility, and couples would leap to strengthen their relationship. To ensure a good milk yield, cattle were driven through the ashes or between two Beltane fires.
As the Earth bursts forth in green abundance, it's a time to give thanks for all of nature's many gifts, from newborn animals to unfurling buds. Beltane honours the union of the Goddess and the Green Man – the union of male and female energies to birth new life. Familiar symbols will include the Green Man's leafy face, the Maypole, the May Queen, and abundant flower baskets.
The union of the Green Man and the Goddess as Queen of May was viewed as a necessary magical act for the fertility of the Earth. Beltane is a time of fertility and an excellent time for Handfastings, which involve the couple p