Beltane for Beginners

May 29, 2019

If you live in the western world, you’re probably familiar with May Day. It is typically a bank holiday that is held on the first day of May, or on the first Monday of May. But you might not be aware that May Day comes from the Gaelic festival of Beltane, which is still celebrated by Pagans today.

In Wicca, Beltane celebrates the midpoint between the Spring Equinox and the Summer Solstice. The Sabbat is a way of recognising that the world is waking up and coming to life again. Everything seems greener and more vibrant, now is the time that animals such as lambs and calves and many others are being born, and the days are becoming longer and sunnier while the nights get shorter.

When celebrating Beltane, one of the key features is fire. This could be connected to the fact that fires give us light and warmth, which is what we can expect going forward at this point in the year. When lighting the Beltane fires, many Wiccans try to invoke the following things: fertility, creativity, and purification. Traditionally, this is to invite a good harvest later in the year, so that people could live well with a good income and enough food. Many people also choose to jump over the fire, either by themselves to invite purification and blessings, or with a friend or partner to increase their bond.

At this time of the year, Wiccans believe that the Sun God (either literally or metaphorically) has come of age, so the festival of Beltane has quite an emphasis on sexuality and fertility, although of course if that makes you uncomfortable, you don’t have to partake in that side of things – there’s plenty of other things going on!

Aside from lighting bonfires left right and centre, throughout the Sabbat of Beltane, Wiccans can be found dancing around maypoles, hanging May Boughs over their doors and windows, and decorating May bushes with ribbons, eggshells, and flowers.

All in all, this is a season and a Sabbat of celebration, so by promoting joy in yourself and others, you’re already enjoying the spirit of Beltane.

Have a lovely day and Blessed Be!

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