As May day or Beltain arrives we often get a small feeling of excitement growing in our heart centre. It is the time of year to once again celebrate the joy of love, romance and all the fun and frivolity that it brings. You do not have to be in a romantic relationship to enjoy Beltain, you can certainly lift your spirits by learning to love yourself, thus attracting what is good and loving into your life. Many of us spend too much time thinking of our faults and ignoring our good points, now is the time to focus on the good and positive in our beings and bring them out into the open, be kind to yourself you are not being egotistic you are thankful for the person you are.
Beltain is a fire festival. The word ‘Beltain’ originates from the Celtic God ‘Bel’ meaning the bright one and the Gaelic word ‘teine’ meaning fire. Together they make ‘Bright fire’. It is traditional to make bonfires at this time to celebrate the Sun and the fertility of the Earth being at their prime now.
Many of the celebrations are about the joining of the two, ‘God and Goddess’ as they come together to recreate the pregnancy of the Goddess ready for the God’s rebirth at Yule.
The same is happening in Nature, Trees and flowers are coming out to greet the warmer weather that the sun brings and animals are feeling frisky and looking for mates. Even the insects and plants are birthing fertility by creating seeds of the future. So how do we celebrate Beltain while we are under lock down? We cannot meet in groups to dance around bonfires or spend the night out in Nature observing the growth of the greenery and maybe indulging ourselves in a little frivolity. We cannot have the ‘greenwood weddings’ that many people enter into at this time, many of us are stuck alone in isolation, so what can we do?
Remembering that Beltain is about bringing fertility into action so that it bursts into new life we can honour this in many different ways. One of the things that you can do is to spend some quiet time in meditation, before doing your own ceremony. Ask during your meditation, what it is that needs to be born to improve your own life? What can you do to lift the spirits of people you know and love in these difficult times? Take as long as you need to do your meditation as time does not matter here, but getting it right does.
Beltain really begins as sunset arrives on the 30th of April and the power is at its highest for the next 24hours as this is the real time of Beltain, not just May day itself. So you may want to do one meditation at sunset on the 30th of April and another just before sunset on the first of May. Thanking the powers that be for this time of blessing and love.
For the ritual after your meditation you will need:
- Green, Red, yellow and 2 white candles.
- A small ceramic plant pot
- Seeds of any flower that you love
- A piece of willow or hawthorn bloom
- Rose petals, fresh or dried
- A small amount of compost or soil
- A small piece of paper.
- Mead or bread and honey.
With the candles you can exchange the white and yellow for gold and silver if you wish, the green, red and white are the colours of Beltain and the white and yellow are for the God and Goddess. The paper is for you to write your wish on. The wish is based on what you received during your meditation. You may decorate the paper as well as writing on it, with symbols or pictures relating to your wish.
The best time to do this is straight after your first meditation on the 30th. When you are writing on or decorating your paper, be as free as you like with your wording as the intention is the most important part. You must visualise that what you are asking for is coming true as the seeds begin to grow. You are working with Earth and Nature magic at a time when the earth is fertile and the sun is bringing forth new growth, use this knowledge as you work.
Half fill your pot with soil and sprinkle your rose petals on top of it. Then place your paper with the wish on top of that (fold it if you need to so that it doesn’t completely cover the soil, add another thin layer of soil, then place the Acorn in the middle and add more soil, by now you should be close to the top of your pot, so scatter your seeds around it in a circle around the edges, but not touching the edge as they need space to grow. As you complete this say aloud ‘ Wish that lies within the earth, awaken now, hope that lies within the earth awaken now. The sun and moon await, as do I, grow strong and true towards the sky.’
Finish your pot with a final layer of soil to cover the seeds and sprinkle any remaining rose petals on the surface. If you have used fresh petals leave them out of this as they will block the light from the seeds. Only use dried petals for this part as you can crumble them up. Place your piece of Willow or Hawthorn flowers around your pot to decorate the base. This is the one time of the year when it is not unlucky to bring Hawthorn or May blossom as some people call it, into your house. Remove it at sunset on the next day. If you use Willow it can be left in place.
Now take you Yellow/Gold candle and 1 of your white/silver candles and place them behind your pot on a shelf or table. Then take the remaining 3 candles, 1 white/silver, 1 red and 1 green and place them in front of your pot. You don’t have to put them in a straight line you can curve them gently, so it almost looks like a smile. Now light the candles at the back of the pot, asking the God and Goddess to bless your work in your own words. Then light the candles at the front of the pot and imagine the energies of Beltain flowing through you as the flames rise, spend a few moments bathing yourself and your offering in the energies and then gently withdraw. If they are in a safe place you can leave the candles burning until you retire for the night. Or if you are not going to be near them where you can keep an eye on them you may put them out now. Your work is done.
Take your mead, or bread and honey and drink or eat most of it, thinking about what Beltain means to you and how you feel on an emotional level. Leave a small amount of what you have and take it outside as a gift for the Fae, it doesn’t matter where you place it they will find it and add their blessings. The next day take your pot and place it on a sunny window ledge and let it do its work. Don’t forget to water it when it gets dry, but do not over water it. Once the contents start to grow you can place it outside in a warm spot and enjoy seeing the results of your Beltain ceremony. Observe as the things you asked for begin to start appearing in your life. They will be small at first but continue to grow as do your plants.
This is just a simple little ritual for people celebrating alone this Beltain, but there are other things you can do if you are doing it as a family.
I remember as a little girl, growing up in Manchester, I used to attend church each week and May day was all about the May pole. Obviously I had no idea of the symbolism back then but I loved dancing around the pole with a ribbon in hand, weaving in and out with other children, both boys and girls. After the dance, one girl was chosen as the May queen and given a flowered headdress to wear it was such a lovely time. Some people use big branches from trees or any pole to symbolise the May pole and decorate it with Green, white and Red ribbons, weaving them around the pole as you would if you danced it. Creative parents can do something similar with their children, to celebrate the time. You can even make a daisy chain crown for yourself and your children to wear. There are lots of ways to celebrate and I hope this may have given you some ideas.