April 30 - May 1

(Southern Hemisphere

October 31 - November 1)




Beltaine is one of the Sabbats traditionally associated as one of the Greater Sabbats. It is directly across from Samhain, and in ancient times, along with Samhain, was the only Sabbat celebrated. It is associated with the return of Spring and full blown fertility. The name for Beltaine is derived from the Irish Gaelic 'Bealtaine' or the Scottish Gaelic 'Bealtuinn', meaning 'Bel-fire', the fire of the Celtic god of light (Bel, Beli or Belinus). Other names for Beltaine include: Cetsamhain ('opposite Samhain'), Walpurgisnacht (in Germany), and Roodmas (the medieval Church's name). This last name came from Church Fathers who were hoping to shift the common people's allegiance from the Maypole (Pagan symbol of life) to the Holy Rood (the Cross). There's also the Floriala (Roman feast of flowers from April 29 to May 1), Thrimilce (Anglo-Saxon), and Bloumaand (Old Dutch).

Beltaine means fire of Bel, (Irish), Beli (Welsh), Belanos (Pan-Celtic), Belinos, all of which are names for the Sun God. The God is usually seen as the Horned King at this time, and coming into His mature power, begins His rule over the Light half of the year.

This is the second of the four fire festivals, and the great central bonfire was an integral part of Celtic Sabbats, since it represented the gate to the other worlds. Often complex patterns were formed with the layout of the bonfire, special magical symbols being used to help bind the magic to the land and ensure that the Years harvest would be a good one. This is a time of self-discovery, love, union and developing your potential for personal growth. Traditionally it was also considered the one day when all marital restraints were lifted and they could love who they wished for the night. Through this ritual symbolism, the crops would be fertile for another year. May morning is also considered a magical time for wild water (dew, flowing streams, and springs) which is collected and used to bathe in for beauty, or to drink for health. Its is said that any Maiden that bathes in this water will be fair of complexion for the following year.

Beltaine, sometimes called Lady Day or May Day, is a fertility holiday. Crops are blessed for the coming year, and dancing around the phallic may-pole is a tradition still carried on today by some people. This holiday represents the sacred union of the Goddess and God. Fertility bursts forth from the shell that once contained it and the greenery of the Earth is fast returning in full-force.

Beltaine marks the start of summer, and is a time for feasting, merry-making, celebration, and joy. It is a time to look outward and forward to the future, and to prepare for the warm summer months ahead. It is also a time for love, union and the sacred marriage which honors the fertility of the Earth.

Focus of Beltaine

Beltaine is a time of self-discovery, love, union and developing your potential for personal growth. It is a time to look outward and forward to the future, and to prepare for the warm summer months ahead.

Community Focus for Beltaine

It seems pretty obvious what the focus of Beltaine is, but it's not just that.  Community rituals should focus on the joy and passion of the season, but take it deeper.  Engage all five senses, make your ritual sensual.  We are bringing the upper and lower Worlds together, much like the Goddess and God join in Union.

Try to incorporate rituals of healing damaged body images, as Beltaine is a perfect time to remind us that all are beautiful, all are desireable, and all deserve joy and happiness.

Ravenna's Beltaine Celebration 2005

Well, this year's Beltaine celebration was definitely a memorable one!! We celebrated at a local state park, Kanaskat-Palmer State Park to be exact, and the coven that I know put on a spectacular event! The ritual itself was hilarious and wonderful and very moving. Everyone really loved the costume that "Faunus" wore. There were bright colors, ribbons, flowers and a lot of laughter, singing and feasting!!

Bards of the Koad, a local group played music and sang songs before the ritual, and I was happy to realize that I knew several of their songs... well, they ARE a local group after all, lol! My youngest son, Finn was absolutely mesmerized by their music, as were the rest of the crowd in attendance.

The Maypole was by far the most fun for many people, and the colors of this year's ribbons I'm told, represent a deep spiritual change in the people since last year. There were lots of pinks, lavenders, blues and even a wee bit of green ribbons being woven around the pole. It was so much fun to dance around the pole, even though most of us were quite winded by the time we were halfway through the weaving and dancing.

Many blessings were given out this year, and there's a bit of a joke going around that my baby, Finn is a product of last year's Beltaine!! I gave a bit of advice for a young woman who wants to start a family with her husband. I told her to jump the Beltaine fire, and then to go home later that night and enjoy her hubby!!

I'm happy that we all had such a great time, and I really look forward to seeing more blessings come this way for my "Craft Family". The wheel is turning, and soon enough, Midsummer will be upon us.

Brightest Blessings,
~ Ravenna Angelline

Ravenna's Beltaine Celebration 2006

This year's Beltaine was quite a bit different. No ritual, though we went to our usual spot to gather and feast. This year we studied. And I gave a presentation on Pagan Sacred Music. Teach what you know to the best of your ability, and so I did. It was a lovely day, all around and we had a blast!!

I had a decidedly more private ritual later on with my beloved, and it was really wonderful. I do miss the Maypole dance that I've gotten used to over the years, but it's okay. We needed the down time to really reconnect with the land and with each other, too.

~ Ravenna

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