Another ancient Celtic festival that carries on into modern observance, Beltane ushers in the beginnings of summer.
When is Beltane?
In the northern hemisphere Beltane is celebrated on May 1st, while in the southern hemisphere it falls on November 1st. As one of the four fire festivals, alongside Lughnasadh, Samhain and Imbolc, Beltane was traditionally celebrated in Ireland, and is still observed there by neo-pagans.
In ancient times, Beltane was a cause for an entire village to celebrate together, lighting two enormous communal bonfires through which cattle would be herded for protection. Villagers would then take a lit branch from the bonfires and relight the hearth in their own homes, for their own protection.
These days such a traditional celebration is a bit less likely. Bringing the Beltane fire into your own home is still possible though. Lighting a candle with the intention of protection over your home is one way to keep the Beltane spirit alive.
Setting up a special altar, or adding seasonal pieces to your existing altar is a wonderful and simple way to welcome in the witches’ sabbats. Beltane, as the festival welcoming in the summer months, is a perfect time to gather wildflowers for your altar. Alongside your Beltane candle, and summer flowers, you can add symbols of the triple goddess who is sometimes known as the May Lady.
Last Beltane a dear friend taught me to make Agua Florida – a concoction of herbs and flowers, imbued with intention, that can be used as a perfume. This is now one of my favourite ways to capture the summer and my own presence for the year to come. I chose orange skin, cinnamon, and honeysuckle flowers soaked in a mixture of alcohol and water. Each morning for one month I would turn the jar and imbue it with the intention and affirmation of self-love and now, when I wear it, I feel that same intention embracing me. Plus, I smell amazing!
Bay Leaf Manifestation
In keeping with the fire festival, it’s only fitting to craft a manifestation ritual that involves fire! One of the simplest, and my favourite manifestation spells involves etching a wish on a bay leaf, then visualising the actualisation of that wish as you burn the bay leaf and incant your wish out loud.
However you choose to celebrate Beltane, I wish you all that you wish for yourself in the coming summer months!