Beltane - a rich blend of history, ritual, religion, belief and tradition. Beltaine, May Day, Walpurgis, A-Maying, Fire Festival, Roodmas, Spring Sabbat: what do you call yours?
The beginning of May marks the arrival of summer. The sun is re-born to warm the earth and it is the balance to Samhain (Halloween). As we bathe our faces in the morning dew on May Day, eternal youth will be ours. If you are able to, feeling the ground beneath your naked feet is a fine way to start any day but particularly on May Day at dawn it will ensure you are in touch with the earth and sun and you are part of the cycle.
Historically Beltane is for spring-cleaning: to burn the winter bedding and lead the cattle outside, passing them through the smoke to cleanse and purify while killing off the lice and fleas. Feeling the warm air on skin that has been covered through the cold months leads to frolicking and pleasures of the flesh.
This is a time of revelry and celebration of love and fertility: to have survived the harsh winter months and to now look forward to abundance, in the fields and in the bellies of the creatures.
The veil between worlds is thin like it is at Samhain but whereas then you’ll see spirits now is for the fae. We represent this by choosing a May or Fairy Queen and she is made even more beautiful with flowers and garlands. She, with her consort who is sometime referred to as the Stag Lord, resides over and may lead a dance or accept posies from children. The queen may pick the best dressed or the best dancer and she will be the first to throw a coin when the dancing has finished. This is payment to the dancers for their skill in weaving the ribbon around the maypole – a powerful symbol of potency with the pole representing the masculine energy and the ribbon the feminine. As the music plays while they dance the unwanted spirits pack up and leave to make room for those of fun, pleasure and creation. Those who wander across the fields into the woods or by the streams may be rewarded with a glimpse of fairies, elves, imps, nymphs or sprites. You may well spot the Green Man peeping out through the trees or hedgerows. This can be helped with a drop of cider that is now strong from its winter fermenting.
Beltane is a good time to create a powerful new pathway in your life. The power and energy of fire can be used to ward off negativity and set up dreams of success. There are rituals, spells and meditations aplenty for you to pick and choose. Think carefully about your heart’s desire and how you intend to make it happen by creating harmony in your mind, body and soul.
Nourish your mind with kind, beautiful thoughts. Play music that you love, avoid stress if possible and give thanks for all you have.
Nourish your body with colourful whole foods and bathe in scents of pleasure.
Nourish your soul by believing in yourself and your abilities. Trust that you have the answers and choose to be positive in your thoughts, feelings and actions.
Sunflower – seeds of success
In a safe environment gather your tools and equipment.
For step one you’ll need paper, pen, fireproof bowl and matches.
For step two you’ll need a flowerpot with potting compost, 3 sunflower seeds, and water. If you haven’t a garden or much space dwarf sunflowers are beautiful and work equally well.
1. Quietly meditate on what you would like to achieve or set in motion through the rest of the year. If negative thoughts try to burst into your peacefulness just acknowledge them and keep your mind positive. Get everything as clear as you can in your mind write down your desires, exactly. It can be a list or a description, a symbol or even a drawing. Whatever you prefer is perfect and right for you. As you write or draw your plan focus your thoughts on how you’ll feel when it is happening and imagine that you are experiencing it now. At the same time think of something positive to send to the world and include this in your thoughts.
Then scrunch up the paper, pop it in the bowl and set light to it. Feel a wave of excitement as it burns and sends your dream of success out to the universe. Allow it to burn away and cool.
Maybe have a drink now of water before the next step.
2. Put a little compost into the flowerpot and then the ash. Cover it with the rest of the dirt to the top of the pot. Hold the 3 seeds in your hands and as you push the first into the earth say to yourself or out loud, ‘for the universe’ as you think of your desire for the world.
As you push the 2nd one in say to yourself or out loud, ‘for me’ as you think of your desire for you.
And, as you push in the 3rd seed gently quietly and in your own way gives thanks.
Finally water in the seeds and put them somewhere to grow. Take care and nurture them.
Food – Beltane Cakes
Cooking and eating can be a powerful ritual and Beltane cakes can be gifted or enjoyed with friends. They are usually oaty and can be fruity or savoury depending on your palate.
This oatcake recipe is one of James Martin’s and is perfect - please substitute at your want if you are vegan. The egg can be replaced with tofu or aquafaba.
110g/4oz medium oatmeal, plus more for rolling
110g/4oz plain flour
55g/2oz lard, dripping or poultry fat or vegetarian option
1 level tsp salt
Although not in the recipe if you like you can add a shake of mixed spice or cinnamon
For the glaze (optional)
1 tbsp milk
1 tbsp sugar
Mix the oatmeal and flour in a bowl. Rub in the fat, add the salt and mix in just enough cold to form soft but not tacky dough. You will know when it feels just right.
Sprinkle a little oatmeal onto a board and then roll out the dough on. Cut out circles with a scone cutter or glass.
Mix together the egg, milk and sugar to form a glaze.
Cook the oatcakes on an ungreased medium-hot griddle, without turning them. When you have placed them on the griddle spread the glaze over them.
When cooked, remove and when cool share or just eat them.
It is a good idea to donate one to the outside creatures or sprinkle crumbs under a hedge.
Beltane spells tend to be around love but as the earth energies are so powerful at this time you can choose whatever you like. It is good to focus on good health, as when this is in place it is easier for love and prosperity to follow.
Get an apple and cut it in half through the middle instead of top to bottom so the pips show their beautiful star pattern. Eat around the core and after you have finished hold the 2 halves of core, one in each hand and say,
“I allow negative energies to leave me to be absorbed into the core.
I welcome positivity to join with me once more.”
Then bury them both. If you haven’t got a garden go for a walk and put them under a hedge. As they rot the negativity will be dissolved away and converted to positive energy.
I’m always wary of love spells as people can put so much emphasis on finding ‘the one’ that they become terrifyingly obsessive and frighten any potential suitors away. As annoying as it can seem, when you are okay with yourself you become attractive and welcoming. Using energy on being grumpy about being alone doesn’t create desirability.
You need a small envelope and the petals from a red or pink flower.
At dusk on May eve either at your altar or a quiet contemplative place – create for the purpose if you choose and then do the following,
Sit comfortably and think generally about the ideal qualities in a partner or loved-one. Do not focus on a particular person. You cannot make anyone love you and if you try it can only turn bad. Slowly place each petal into the envelope, thinking with each about a particular quality of yours and that you would like in a partner. Good examples are sense of humour, kindness, confidence etc.
Spend as much time as you like doing this and when you are happy seal it and pop it under your pillow. You may well dream of love. In the morning dispose of the envelope however you like because its job is done.
Prosperity – Finance Candle
This is a simple yet very powerful spell. You need a green candle and something fairly sharp to carve on it.
All you need to do is to draw symbols of currency on it – carve pounds, euros, dollars etc., as symbols or words. When you have created your finance candle, light it. As it burns it sends out energy and you can imagine yourself as a money magnet or funnel. Please feel good about attracting money. This is the chosen currency for us all and if you end up with too much you can donate to charities or gift it. If you focus on lack or you are struggling you will attract more of the same.
The planet gives us abundance and it is right that we honour, celebrate and share in that.
This is a lovely time to make or create gifts for others and can include flower baskets, posies, biscuits, homemade cordials or flavoured wine.
Back to the celebrations. If you prefer to do things alone and not leap about in reels dosey doeing while harmonising to the sounds of the washboard and the tinkling of the Morris Bells that is of course perfectly fine. You might choose to carry out a personal ritual or have a picnic on your living room floor. It might be a good time to knock on a neighbour’s door with a few of your delicious oatcakes and flowers. Some people like to leave things anonymously but that can look a bit stalkerish if you get spotted and I’m not sure people would eat food from an unknown source.
If you fancy doing something with just a few friends Beltane can be a fabulous time to start a psychic development circle because the energies are all in place waiting for you to use them. Your circle can discuss and try out a variety of psychic tools that can range from auras and chakras to healing, and meditation, from past and future life explorations to spells and cosmic ordering.
My wishes for you are to have a healthy and successful Beltane that continues throughout the year.
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