June Esbat: The Lover's Moon

Also known as the Strawberry or Rose Moon, the Lover’s Moon brings with it energy for love, marriage, and success. Is it any wonder that in some traditions this Moon is called the Honey Moon? This is a time to nurture your garden and marvel at its beauty and abundance. If you have taken that new job, now is the time to make sure you have everything running smoothly. And you might want to keep your eyes open to see how you can move into a more desirable position.

The appearance of the full, round Mead Moon heralds the end of fertility and the beginning of life anew.  Hives fill with honey.  Animals give birth and baby birds hatch.  Butterflies and cicadas burst forth, too, their shell-like cocoons only a reminder of what they were before.  All of Nature is busy now.  It's a time of care, nurturement, and transformation.

The Mead Moon brings a time of metamorphosis for us, too.  A time to reinvent our lives, change our personal realities, and become what we were meant to be.  But before we can do that, we must often change our perceptions of life and see it with a fresh eye.  Fortunately, this isn't as difficult as it seems.  With the whole world in a state of transformation, it's easy for us to follow suit.

Mead (Honey) Moon Ideas:

Dress in shades of yellow and amber to commemorate the honey harvest.

Use yellow and orange candles and burn Full Moon incense.  Alternately, burn a mixture of frankincense, myrrh and rose for incense.

Decorate the altar with flowers, dandelions, and the transformative gifts of nature.  Cicada shells, butterfly cocoons, hatched bird eggs, and shed feathers are all great ideas.

Serve lemon cookies and honey-sweetened tea for libation.

Make a Witches' ladder from shed bird feathers to bring personal good fortune for the next 12 months.  Just braid together one yard each of red, white, and black ribbon, then attach nine different colored bird feathers by knotting them at equal intervals in the braid.  Enchant each feather with a quality as you knot it.  Continue knotting feathers and enchanting them until all are in place.  Then tie the braid ends together in a bow and place the ladder between the altar candles, saying: "Ring of feathers, braid of three; Bring good fortune unto me."

Leave the ladder on the altar until the candles burn completely down, then hang it in an inconspicuous place in your home. bulletIf you're wondering what to do with your life, set aside some time for mediation.  Before beginning, ask for Divine Inspiration by saying: "Lady of the Moon, so bright, Look down on me and cast some light.  On the path I should follow and what I should be, On the turns I should take to make myself free.  Of the life I have now, to gain the life that should be.  Mother, I ask you: please help me to see." Make a personal transformation charm using some of the altar decorations.  Just fill a small cloth bag with egg shell, feathers, cocoons, and so on, along with a strand of your hair.  Place the bag in front of the altar candles and say: "Metamorphical Gifts of Nature, so rare.  Quicken my Spirit - lend the courage to dare.  To reinvent life into what it should be - to transform my personal reality - To refresh my perception and inspire me anew.  Do now, O Gifts, what I ask of You."

Leave the charm bag on the altar until the candles burn completely down, then carry it with you.

Mead (Honey) Moon Correspondences:

Other Names: Lover's Moon, Strawberry Moon, Rose Moon and the Strong Sun Moon

Nature Spirits: Sylphs and Zephyrs

Herbs: Skullcap, meadowsweet, vervain, tansy, dog grass, parsley, and mosses

Colors: Orange, and Golden-green

Flowers: Lavender, Orchid and Yarrow

Scents: Lily of the Valley, Lavender

Stones: Topaz, agate, alexandrite, fluorite

Trees: Oak

Animals: Monkey, Butterfly, Frog, Toad, Wren and Peacock

Magick: Protection, Strengthening, Decision-making, and Personal Balance

Ritual Food and Drink: Lemon Cookies, Honey cakes, Mead, and Lemonade

Deities: Aine of Knockaine, Isis, Neith, Green Man, Cerridwen, Bendis and Ishtar


In June we enjoy the longest days of the year, especially before the Summer Solstice. Even though the sun begins to withdraw after the Solstice, the shortening of days is imperceptible and we enjoy long hours of light. This is a time to be active, to feel sensuous and to be aware of our bodies and the life-force energy that flows through us.

Moon of Life

Before the heat of high summer arrives, there is a brief period of time to enjoy the softness of this season. Tune into the rhythms of the natural world and take pleasure in your connection with it. Go outside and let the energy of the moonlight help you feel fully alive and aware. Enjoy the magic of gentle moonlight on soft summer nights.

Other names for this moon: Mead Moon, Dyad Moon, Honey Moon, Strawberry Moon.

In the Celtic Tree Calendar
June 1 – 9: Hawthorn
Associated with balancing energy; it is a symbol of the coming summer, and of hope and pleasure.

June 10 -30: Oak
Associated with cleansing, strength, self-confidence and optimism.

Other Information

Herbs: Skullcap, Catmint, Meadowsweet, Vervain, Tansy, Ladies Mantle & Witch Grass.
Colours: Orange & Golden-Green.
Flowers: Lavender & Yarrow.
Perfumes: Lily Of The Valley & Lavender.
Crystals: Topaz, Agate & Fluorite.
Tree: Oak.
Animal: Butterfly.
Bird: Peacock.
Deities: Isis, Neith, Green Man, Cerridwen & Ishtar.


The Side Effect of Positive Thinking

I have a class every Saturday morning. Today, in it, we started discussing about what is a positive attitude and why shoud we have this in our every day lives. One of my classmates said that the situation today was enough to be a negative force -- how was it that we could have a positive attitude in such a negative world.

It is true. Sometimes we feel as if the universe is against us; as if the Powers that Be are plotting around their cauldron, stirring it and laughing at the plans that get ruined, the lovers we don't get, the raises we don't obtain, the cars we drive, the life we're supposed to live. But it's also true that in every waking moment, the miracle of life is within us, and as such, the love of the Goddess and the Virtue of the God is also within.

My aunt Nina used to tell me a story. She said that when she was a little girl, her ink bottle spilled all over her school work and that she was so upset about it she started to cry. My grandmother then looked at her and insted of conforting her she said, "Do you think that tears are going to clean everything up? Okay - cry then". My aunt was so angry that she stopped crying. My grandmother then pulled on her ears to make her cry, "Cry! Cry harder! All the problems in the world will be solved with you crying!" After this, my grandmother looked at the mess and told her, "So you see? Your tears did nothing to clean the mess, did nothing to return the ink in the bottle, and did nothing to make your homework again. So you have two choices: keep crying over nothing or actually DO something about it."

True fact, I told my classmate, that we live in a non-optimistic day an age. But crying and complaning about it will do little close to nothing to make things better. A positive attitude CAN go a long way. It doesn't mean that you have to go all smiles, all the time. It will, however, give you a broader perspective of what to expect from life. The secret of life, I said, is to keep in mind that happiness is not a THING, a ONE THING: it's a series of events, of little moments in your life, that shine through and remind you of how good it is to feel alive. If all you do is play the victim, complain, see things for how dark they are, or how bad they are, or how terrible they look, then you will probably not going to realize the moments you were happy.

Not everyone achieves this. And it's not an easy thing to achieve. You can say that it's easy for me to say --- but it wasn't easy to get to this point in my life. I had to go through a lot of personal change for me to finally realize this. And once I realized it, came the other factor: the will to accept the fact that I was wrong in many things and that other people were right. This is probably the hardest thing to do.

So... start your path today. It's never too late to realize you too have the right to be happy. That no matter what, you always have the second shot at life. A positive attitude brings back a lot of life's gifts and joys.


Upon a Fire

The night between April and May. Special moon that rises over the sky, even if our mortal eyes cannot see her face, we can still sense her presence. And upon a fire this year, I took a moment to meditate upon what Beltane means.

Beltane... the celebration of life in all its forms, shapes and sizes. The rejoycing for the Goddess and the God have found eachother in love and are now walking the lands by the hand. Spring and Summer are upon us --- the season in which life begins and settles.

In a place surrounded by death it is hard to celebrate life. Yet I found myself dancing around the fire, chanting and joyful that the goddess had granted my plants their rebirth for one more year after that frosty cold. I asked for guidance during the year and I renewed my vows to follow in her path.

I will accept all positive energy and reject the negative one; I will send healing energy and do my best to take care of my world. I will take joy in the laughter of my nieces and nephew and be patient when they are feeling moody. I will bring no harm for I am not a judge nor jury --- I will allow karma to take care of itself. I will welcome love into my life, even when I am afraid to welcome it. I will accept the fact that no one is perfect, but then again, neither am I. I am at peace with  myself and so I shall try to bring peace to others. I will receive the lessons that life has to give me with patience, for I know that I am still learning as I walk along this path. I will welcome those who wish to walk along with me, and say good bye with glee when they decide to go their separate ways. I will not cry for departure, for I will once again see those beloved people again yet I will not accept those who try to bring me harm. I will accept people for who they are and I will accept the fact that many of them will not accept me --- I will try and be patient with those people. I will try to be tolerant of those who are not tolerant and I will not forgive those who bring misery, hurt, pain, or horror to my home or to my loved ones. I will try to forgive when forgiveness is ased, I will try to forgive when forgiveness is not asked... but I will not forgive those who bring tears for no other reason but to be cruel. I will not forgive cruelty to animals, plants or any other living creature in this planet.

I will allow the love of my Great Mother to embrace me and the fire of my Beloved Father to protect me.

Beltane -- Holiday Details and History

From Witchvox.com
Author: Christina Aubin
Posted: April 30th. 2000
Times Viewed: 173,747

Beltane is the last of the three spring fertility festivals, the others being Imbolc and Ostara. Beltane is the second principal Celtic festival (the other being Samhain). Celebrated approximately halfway between Vernal (spring) equinox and the midsummer (Summer Solstice). Beltane traditionally marked the arrival if summer in ancient times.

At Beltane the Pleiades star cluster rises just before sunrise on the morning 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". Traditionally on the Isle of Man, the youngest member of the family gathers primroses on the eve before Beltane and throws the flowers at the door of the home for protection. In Ireland it is believed that food left over from May Eve must not be eaten, but rather buried or left as an offering to the faery instead. Much like the tradition of leaving of whatever is not harvested from the fields on Samhain, food on the time of no time is treated with great care.

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.

Beltane has been an auspicious time throughout Celtic lore, it is said that the Tuatha de Danaan landed in north-west Connacht on Beltane. The Tuatha de Danaan, it is said, came from the North through the air in a mist to Ireland. After the invasion by the Milesians, the Tuatha faded into the Otherworld, the Sidhe, Tir na nOg.

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 marks that the winter's journey has passed and summer has begun, it is a festival of rapturous gaiety as it joyfully heralds the arrival of summer in her full garb. Beltane, however, is still a precarious time, the crops are still very young and tender, susceptible to frost and blight. As was the way of ancient thought, the Wheel would not turn without human intervention. People did everything in their power to encourage the growth of the Sun and His light, for the Earth will not produce without the warm love of the strong Sun. Fires, celebration and rituals were an important part of the Beltane festivities, as to insure that the warmth of the Sun's light would promote the fecundity of the earth.

Beltane marks the passage into the growing season, the immediate rousing of the earth from her gently awakening slumber, a time when the pleasures of the earth and self are fully awakened. It signals a time when the bounty of the earth will once again be had. May is a time when flowers bloom, trees are green and life has again returned from the barren landscape of winter, to the hope of bountiful harvests, not too far away, and the lighthearted bliss that only summer can bring.

Beltane translated means "fire of Bel" or "bright fire" - the "bale-fire". (English - bale; Anglo-Saxon bael; Lithuanian baltas (white)) Bel (Bel, Bile, Beli, Belinus, Belenos) is the known as the bright and shinning one, a Celtic Sun God. Beli is the father, protector, and the husband of the Mother Goddess.

Beltane is the time of the yearly battle between Gwyn ap Nudd and Gwythur ap Greidawl for Creudylad in Welsh mythology. Gwyn ap Nudd the Wild Huntsman of Wales, he is a God of death and the Annwn. Creudylad is the daughter of Lludd (Nudd) of the Silver Hand (son of Beli). She is the most beautiful maiden of the Island of Mighty. A myth of the battle of winter and summer for the magnificent blossoming earth.

In the myth of Rhiannion and Pwyll, it is the evening of Beltane, that Rhiannon gives birth to their son. The midwives all fell asleep at the same time, as they were watching over Rhiannon and her new baby, during which he was taken. In order to protect themselves, they smeared blood (from a pup) all over Rhiannon, to which they claim she had eaten her son. The midwives were believed, and Rhiannon was forced to pay penance for seven years. She had to carrying people on her back from the outside of the gate to the palace, although rarely would any allow her to do so. The baby's whereabouts were a mystery. Oddly, every Beltane night, one of Pwyll's vassals, Teirnyon Twryv Vliant, had a mare that gave birth but the colt disappeared. One Beltane night Teirnyon Twryv Vliant awaited in the barn for the mare to foaled, when she did, he heard a tremendous noise and a clawed arm came through the window and grabbed the colt. Teirnyon cut off the arm with his sword, and then heard a wailing. He opened the door and found a baby, he brought it to his wife and they adopted Gwri Wallt Euryn (Gwri of the Golden Hair). As he grew he looked like Pwyll and they remembered they found him on the night Rhiannon's baby became lost. Teirnyon brought Gwri of the Golden Hair to the castle, told the story, and he was adopted back to his parents, Rhiannon and Pwyll, and and named by the head druid, Pryderi (trouble) from the first word his mother had said when he was restored to her. "Trouble is, indeed, at an end for me, if this be true".

This myth illustrates the precariousness of the Beltane season, at the threshold of Summer, the earth awakening, winter can still reach its long arm in and snatch the Sun away (Gwri of the Golden hair). "Ne'er cast a clout 'til May be out" (clout: Old English for cloth/clothing). If indeed the return of summer is true than the trouble (winter) is certainly over, however one must be vigilant.

On Beltane eve the Celts would build two large fires, Bel Fires, lit from the nine sacred woods. The Bel Fire is an invocation to Bel (Sun God) to bring His blessings and protection to the tribe. The herds were ritually driven between two needfires (fein cigin), built on a knoll. The herds were driven through to purify, bring luck and protect them as well as to insure their fertility before they were taken to summer grazing lands. An old Gaelic adage: "Eadar da theine Bhealltuinn" - "Between two Beltane fires".

The Bel fire is a sacred fire with healing and purifying powers. The fires further celebrate the return of life, fruitfulness to the earth and the burning away of winter. The ashes of the Beltane fires were smudged on faces and scattered in the fields. Household fires would be extinguished and re-lit with fresh fire from the Bel Fires.

Celebration includes frolicking throughout the countryside, maypole dancing, leaping over fires to ensure fertility, circling the fire three times (sun-wise) for good luck in the coming year, athletic tournaments feasting, music, drinking, children collecting the May: gathering flowers. children gathering flowers, hobby horses, May birching and folks go a maying". Flowers, flower wreaths and garlands are typical decorations for this holiday, as well as ribbons and streamers. Flowers are a crucial symbol of Beltane, they signal the victory of Summer over Winter and the blossoming of sensuality in all of nature and the bounty it will bring.

May birching or May boughing, began on Beltane Eve, it is said that young men fastened garland and boughs on the windows and doors of the young maidens upon which their sweet interest laid. Mountain ash leaves and Hawthorne branches meant indicated love whereas thorn meant disdain. This perhaps, is the forerunner of old May Day custom of hanging bouquets hooked on one's doorknob?

Young men and women wandered into the woods before daybreak of May Day morning with garlands of flowers and/or branches of trees. They would arrive; most rumpled from joyous encounters, in many areas with the maypole for the Beltane celebrations. Pre-Christian society's thoughts on human sexuality and fertility were not bound up in guilt and sin, but rather joyous in the less restraint expression of human passions. Life was not an exercise but rather a joyful dance, rich in all beauty it can afford.

In ancient Ireland there was a Sacred Tree named Bile, which was the center of the clan, or Tuatha. As the Irish Tree of Life, the Bile Pole, represents the connection between the people and the three worlds of Bith: The Skyworld (heavens), The Middleworld (our world), and The Otherworld. Although no longer the center life, the Bile pole has survived as the Beltane Maypole.

The Maypole is an important element to Beltane festivities, it is a tall pole decorated with long brightly colored ribbons, leaves, flowers and wreaths. Young maidens and lads each hold the end of a ribbon, and dance revolving around the base of the pole, interweaving the ribbons. The circle of dancers should begin, as far out from the pole as the length of ribbon allows, so the ribbons are taut. There should be an even number of boys & girls. Boys should be facing clockwise and girls counterclockwise. They each move in the direction that they are facing, weaving with the next, around to braid the ribbons over-and-under around the pole. Those passing on the inside will have to duck, those passing on the outside raise their ribbons to slide over. As the dances revolve around the pole the ribbons will weave creating a pattern, it is said that the pattern will indicate the abundance of harvest year.

In some areas there are permanent Maypoles, perhaps a recollection of ancient clan Bile Pole memory. In other areas a new Maypole is brought down on Beltane Eve out from the wood. Even the classical wood can vary according to the area tradition is pulled from, most frequently it seems to be birch as "the wood", but others are mentioned in various historical documents.

Today in some towns and villages a mummer called Jack in the Green (drawing from the Green man), wears a costume made of green leaves as he dances around the May pole. Mumming is a dramatic performance of exaggerated characters and at Beltane the characters include Jack in the Green and the Fool. The Fool, and the Fool's journey, symbolism can be understood in relation to Beltane as it is the beginning of beginnings, the emergence from the void of nothingness (winter), as one can also see the role of the green man as the re-greening of the world.

Traditionally in many areas Morris dancers can be found dancing around the Maypole. Morris dancing can be found in church records in Thame England going back to 1555. Morris dancing is thought to have originated many centuries ago as part of ancient religious ceremonies, however it seems that Morris dancing became associated with Mayday during the Tudor times, and its originating history is not all that easily traced, as is the way with many traditions.

The Maypole dance as an important aspect of encouraging the return of fertility to the earth. The pole itself is not only phallic in symbolism but also is the connector of the three worlds. Dancing the Maypole during Beltane is magical experience as it is a conduit of energy, connecting all three worlds at a time when these gateways are more easily penetrable. As people gaily dance around and around the pole holding the brightly colored ribbons, the energy it raises is sent down into the earth's womb, bringing about Her full awakening and fruitfulness.

In Padstow, Cornwall, Beltane morning a procession is led by the "obby oss" a costumed horse figure, in a large circular banded frock and mask. The procession is full of song, drums and accordions. Professor Ronald Hutton of Bristol University points out that the first account of the Padstow May Day 'Obby 'Oss revelries was written in 1803. He offers evidence however that, like English Morris Dancing, its origins lie in English medieval times. This does not discount the possibility that its roots lay in the foundation of the fertility rites of Beltane, a more politically correct transmutation of fertility acts.

There is also a Queen of May. She is said in many areas to have worn a gold crown with a single, gold leaf at its front, in other areas her crown was made of fresh flowers. She was typically chosen at the start of the Beltane festival, which in time past was after sundown on the eve before Beltane day. Many accounts mention both a May Queen and King being chosen, whom would reign from sundown the eve before the Beltane day to sunset on Beltane. Among their duties would be to announce the Beltane games and award the prizes to the victors. The rudimentary base of this practice can be drawn back to the roots of Beltane festivities, the union of the Goddess and Her Consort, the joining of earth and sun, the endowment of summer. The Goddess has many guises: Danu - The Great Mother, Blodeuwedd (the Flower Bride), Isolt (Iseult, Isolde) and many, many others. The consort can also take many forms including the Green Man, Cernunnos or Tristan.

As Beltane marks this handfasting (wedding) of the Goddess and God, it too marks the reawakening of the earth's fertility in its fullest. This is the union between the Great Mother and her Young Consort, this coupling brings new life on earth. It is on a Spiritual level, the unifying of the Divine Masculine and the Divine Feminine to bring forth the third, consciousness. On the physical, it is the union of the Earth and Sun to bring about the fruitfulness of the growing season.

It is customary that trial unions, for a year and a day, occur at this time. More or less these were statements of intent between couples, which were not legally binding. The trial marriages (engagements) typically occurred between a couple before deciding to take a further step into a legally binding union. It seems ancient wisdom understood that one does not really know another until they have lived with them, and when you live together things change and we change, as well. With this understanding unions were entered upon, first as a test period, and then if desired, a further commitment could be taken. It through always knowing that it is only through the choice of both to remain, that the relationship exists favorably.

May, however, according to old folklore is not a favorable time for marriages in the legal and permanent sense. There is reference after reference in the old books of this belief, and according to my Irish grandmother, May is not the month to marry, woe is to had by those who do. I can understand the premise of this folklore, May is the Goddess and God's handfasting month, all honor would be Hers and His.

Water is another important association of Beltane, water is refreshing and rejuvenating, it is also imperative to life. It is said that if you bathe in the dew gathered before dawn on Beltane morn, your beauty will flourish throughout the year. Those who are sprinkled with May dew are insured of health and happiness. There are other folk customs such as drinking from the well before sunrise on Beltane Morn to insure good health and fortune.

The central color of Beltane is green. Green is the color of growth, abundance, plentiful harvest, abundant crops, fertility, and luck. White is another color that is customary, white brings the energies of cleansing, peace, spirituality, and the power to dispel negativity. Another color is red who brings along the qualities of energy, strength, sex, vibrancy, quickening, health, consummation and retention. Sun energy, life force and happiness are brought to Beltane by the color yellow. Blues and purples (Sagittarius energies: expansion, Good Fortune, magic, spiritual power, Success), and pinks (Venus energies). Beltane is rich in vibrant color, lighting the eyes and cheering the Spirit as we leave the dreariness of winter behind.

It is customary to bake a colorful fruit and spiced filled bread for festivals in the Celtic lands, traditionally this festival bread is sweet dough made with sweetmeat and spices. In Scotland they are the bannock - Bonnach Bealtain - for Beltane, in Wales - Bara Brith, Ireland it is Barm Brack and in Brittany Morlaix Brioche. For Beltane this bread was made the eve before Beltane day, is it said that the bread should not allow it to come into contact with steel during preparation (steel is harmful, deadly to the faery folk).

Bannocks are actually uncut scones originally cooked on a griddle. Wheat does not grow well in the Highlands, originally bannocks were made with oat or barley flour made into dough with little water and no leavening. Traditionally, a portion of the cake was burned or marked with ashes. The recipient of the burnt cake jumped over a small fire three times to purify and cleanse him or herself of any ill fortune. Offerings of bannocks and drink are traditionally left on doorsteps and roadways for the Faeries as an offering, in hope of faery blessings.

May is the month of sensuality and sexuality revitalized, the reawakening of the earth and Her Children. It is the time when we reawaken to the vivid colors, vibrant scents, tingling summer breezes, and the rapture of summer after a long dormant winter. It is a time of extraordinary expression of earth, animal, and person a time of great enchantment and celebration.

The excitement and beauty of Beltane can not be better expressed than through the gaiety and joy of our children. There is not doubt "spring fever" hits at Beltane, and hits hard. Children are full of unbridled energy charged up and ready to go! Children always amplify the seasonal energies and the thrill of their change, they bring richness and merriment wherever they go.

It is the child's unrestrained expression of bliss and delight that is what Beltane is all about. It is the sheer joy of running through fields, picking flowers, rapturing in the sunlight, delighting in the fragrance of spring, dancing in the fresh dew covered grass. Our children guide us through the natural abandonment of our adult sensibilities and show us how to take grand pleasure, warmth and bliss from the gift of Beltane.

Blessed Beltane to you and yours!

Christina Aubin
Beltaine 2000

Beltane... May Day


Beltane was an important festival in the Celtic calendar. The name originates from the Celtic god, Bel - the 'bright one', and the Gaelic word 'teine' meaning fire, giving the name 'bealttainn', meaning 'bright fire'.

This is the beginning of the 'lighted half' of the year when the Sun begins to set later in the evening and the hawthorn blossoms. To our ancestors Beltane was the coming of summer and fertility. Nature is in bloom and the earth is full of fecundity and life.

The Maiden

TheTriple Goddess - worshipped by the Ancient Britons - at Beltane is now in her aspect of the Maiden : The May Queen, May Bride, Goddess of Spring, Flower Bride, Queen of the Fairies - a symbol of purity, growth and renewal.The Crone turns to stone on Beltane Eve.

May blossom symbolises female fertility, with its creamy/ white, fragrant flowers. Hawthorn blossom was worn during Beltane celebrations, especially by the May Queen.
It is believed to be a potent magical plant and it is considered unlucky to bring the blossom inside the house, apart from on May eve.

Flower Language

Fire festivals

Beltane is one of the four Celtic fire festivals marking the quarter points in the year - feasts were held and bonfires were lit throughout the countryside. Fire was believed to have purifying qualities - it cleansed and rejuvenated both the land and the people.

The ritual welcoming of the sun and the lighting of the fires was also believed to ensure fertility of the land and the people. Animals were transfered from winter pens to summer pastures, and were driven between the Beltane fires to cleanse them of evil spirits and to bring fertility and a good milk yield. The Celts leapt over Beltane fires - for fertility and purification.

Young men would circle the Beltaine fires holding Rowan branches to bring protection against evil - its bright berries suggested fire - malign powers were considered particularly active at the year's turning-point.

It was considered unlucky to allow anyone to take fire from one's house on May Eve or May Day, as they would gain power over the inhabitants.

A Beltane fire festival is held annually in Edinburgh, at Calton Hill on 30th April - a May Queen and Green Man, representing Beltane fertility and renewal lead the celebrations on the hillside.

May Day - Beltane Traditions

Beltane is a time of partnerships and fertility. New couples proclaim their love for each other on this day. It is also the perfect time to begin new projects.

The maypole - a phallic pole planted deep in the earth representing the potency and fecundity of the God, its unwinding ribbons symbolized the unwinding of the spiral of life and the union of male and female - the Goddess and God. It is usually topped by a ring of flowers to represent the fertile Goddess.

Paganhill, near Shroud has one of the tallest maypoles. The Puritans banned maypoles during the 17th Century. It was a Celtic tradition to fell a birch tree on May day and to bring it into the community. Crosses of birch and rowan twigs were hung over doors on the
May morning, and left until next May day.

Beltane cakes or bannocks - oatcakes coated with a baked on custard made of cream, eggs and butter - were cooked over open fires and anyone who chose a misshapen piece or a piece with a black spot was likely to suffer bad luck in the coming months. They were also offered to the spirits who protect the livestock, by facing the Beltane fire and casting them over their shoulders.

Beltane Celebrations and Rituals

At Sheen do Boaldyne, in the Isle of Man, twigs of Rowan are hung above doorways as protection - the opening of Summer was regarded as a time when fairies and spirits were especially active, as at Samhain and the opening of Winter.

The 'Obby 'Oss, at Padstow, Cornwall - wearing of animal skins was believed to be a relic of a Pagan sacred marriage between earth and sky, and the dance enacts the fertility god sacrificed for the good of his people.

The May Queen - Maid Marion/the Maiden consorts with Robin/ the Green Man in Celtic celebrations of May day.

Going 'A-Maying' meant staying out all night to gather flowering hawthorn, watching the sunrise and making love in the woods
- a 'greenwood marriage'.

The dew on the May day morning is believed to have a magical potency - wash your face and body in it and remain fair all year, and guarantee your youth and beauty continues - men who wash their hands in it will be good at tying knots and nets - useful if you're a fisherman!
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