Oh Great Goddess, Bless us in this sacred time, as we honor the traditions of our Elder Sisters. I open a protected space for myself and for all living creatures on this planet
So be it.
The Wheel of the Year is the name of the annual cycle of seasons in Wicca, which is a spiritual movement based on ancient pagan religions and redefined by Gerald Gardner.
Wicca includes elements of beliefs from shamanism, druidism, and Greco-Roman, Slavic, Celtic, and Norse mythologies.
The wheel of the year has thirteen moons and eight holidays called sabbath or festival. These festivals are inspired by pre-Christian Celtic and Germanic festivals.
The wheel of the year and these celebrations are inspired by the rhythm of nature and the solar cycle. Festivals are divided into two categories.
The major festivals are the ancient Celtic festivals that celebrate important milestones in the year. These are Samhain, Imbolc, Beltane and Lughnasadh.
The minor festivals correspond to the solstices and equinoxes Yule, Ostara, Litha and Mabon. For each of these festivals, for each of its seasons, I try to offer you a podcast with some explanations and stories that may allow you to return to the basics, to recognize and celebrate the passage of time and the seasons, to celebrate the sun, source of light and life. I would also invite you to observe the rhythms of nature and to welcome the idea that our internal and personal rhythms are the reflections of these great natural rhythms which are the cycles of the Moon, but also those of the rotation of the Earth around the Sun.
I come today to talk to you about Beltane. Spring fire festival. Spring portal to other realms. Symbol of fertility, creativity, fun and celebrations.
A prayer for Beltane from a city priestess, by Awen Clement.
Help me not forget about the wild edges. Those precious places where nature creeps through the concrete.
Help me notice, beyond my worries and my sorrows, the harmony of the birds underneath the motorway lorries droning bass line.
Let me see the beauty in the wild weeds of nettle and briar, the charm in cow parsley and wild garlic.
Help me breathe in the joy of the May blossom, smell the energy of gorse as they dance and dangle beside the canal.
Remind me that you are still present in these edges, even amongst the noise and the hustle.
Remind me that I am still a wild soul, even in the city. I only have to look to the edges to find you close by.
So mote it be.
Spring in Nature
We are already halfway through the Wicca year in the northern hemisphere. For Beltane, we say goodbye to spring. Hello summer. The Maiden turns into the Mother.
Beltane celebrates the sacred union, welcomes summer and marks one of the turning points of the wheel of the year.
For Beltane, we welcome the abundance of fertile land. This festival has been celebrated for centuries for fertility. To honor the gods of the hunt and of the forests, the goddesses of passion and motherhood, as well, of course, as the agricultural deities.
Beltane is the day which marks the middle of spring. We are now halfway between the spring equinox and the summer solstice. In the middle of the season. There is a clear difference in energy compared to the start of the season. The Earth continues to tilt towards the sun and the spring air warms up. The wheel has moved. The days are noticeably longer. The sun sets much later than at the Spring equinox. It is much warmer outside.
At the Spring equinox, a new life begins and is just beginning to emerge. But here, at the beginning of May, there is no denying the rebirth of the earth. All of nature is rich and fertile. We can use this fertility energy to continue to grow and nurture the dreams we planted in winter. Life is reborn in nature and in ourselves. We feel alive, full of dreams, full of ideas. It's a time of year to really empower our creative side, to bring our winter dreams to life. Life seems joyful and light.
The sacred fire
Beltane comes from the Gaelic word meaning bright fire. But many earth-based cultures had spring festivals which they celebrated around this time.
The Gaelic Celts were primarily shepherds, so their rituals for Beltane were designed to protect their flocks and encourage their growth. Special bonfires were built and were considered to have protective powers. Shepherds led their animals through the smoke of the fire and people brought the embers home to light the fires in the hearths of their homes.
It was believed that this would protect them in the months to come and encourage the growth of their animals and their lives.
Beltane's fire is powerful, sacred and strong. Whoever turns it on must be a person of power. Beltane is the exaltation of fire, the fire of transcendence, hope and infinite possibilities.
Beltane's main ritual consists of fires lit by druids through which cattle pass so that they are protected from pestilence for the coming year. The herds were led through two pillars of fire. For blessing, fertility and purification. Protection against diseases.
And then people were jumping over the sacred fire of Beltane. Young unmarried men jumped the bonfire and wished for a wife, while young women jumped to ensure their fertility. People jumped over the fires ( and still do) to purify themselves, cleanse themselves and hope for fertility. Couples jump over the fire together to engage each other.
Praying seems to me a particularly meaningful practice this year for Beltane. Praying for protection in the months to come. Protection for ourselves. For our health. In this scary time, protection for our loved ones that we cannot necessarily hug right now. Protection of our hopes and dreams and the things we want to plant and grow in the months ahead.
Because we are entering a magnificently powerful growing season despite everything. The magic and power of the season is still there, whether we can get out or not. We can always connect with this powerful season. We can always call on nature to infuse all our hopes and dreams. With its powerful growth energy, we can always use this time to fuel whatever we crave in our lives.
The end of the dark season and beginning of the clear season
Beltane marks a shift in the year. We go from the dark season to the light and bright season.
A change of life of course, since it is the opening of daytime activities, the resumption of hunting, war, conquests for warriors and soldiers. Beginning of agrarian and field work for farmers and breeders.
In this sense, Beltane is the total antithesis of the Samhain festival. Beltane is the best period for rites of passage between cold and hot periods, between darkness and light, between symbolic psychic death and spiritual rebirth. In general, Beltane is a celebration of change, of the rhythm of life, from the winter rhythm to the summer rhythm. The festival marks this passage both physically, in nature, in the concrete and spiritually.
Thinness of the veils
As for Samhain, which is directly opposite Beltane, on the wheel of the year, Beltane is considered a time when the veil between the worlds is thinnest. In Samhain, the veil between the worlds of the living and the dead is thin enough for us to connect and reunite with our ancestors and the spirits.
Now, in Beltane, it is the veil between the human world and the world of the fairies, the spirits of nature which has become thinner. The human world and the world of fairy magic are closely linked. Now is the time of elves, wood elves, fairies, spirits, trees and their magical and playful energies. The spirits and fairies are said to be particularly active at this time of year. Offerings may be placed at ancient fairy places, wells and sacred places in an effort to appease these nature spirits to ensure a successful growing season.
As the veil is thin, trickster gods and mischievous fairies are out. So take any divinations made these days with a hint of suspicion. The fairies cross the veils between the worlds and the queen of the fairies moves this night. If you stare at her enchanted beauty for too long, she can whisk you away to live in her realm for an eternity.
Above all, Beltane was a time of great gathering, celebration and feasting.
In ancient times, it was difficult for large groups of people to gather together during the cold and wet winter months. There simply wasn't enough space to gather a large number of people.
Beltane is one of the first times people could come together again. It is a moment of celebration, of joy. It's time to come together, to celebrate life.
It may be important to note that the original Beltane celebrations are different from modern interpretations. Most Beltane celebrations had largely died out in all Celtic regions until the middle of the 20th century, when some of these traditions were revived by the emergence of the modern Wiccan movement.
Wicca was founded at the beginning of the 20th century. It is a whole new spiritual tradition. It uses as a framework a patchwork of beliefs and celebrations that are drawn from a number of land-based cultures that existed across Europe. It uses the old Gaelic name Beltane for the spring celebration. But many of the beliefs of this modern Beltane celebration actually stem from ancient German or Roman fertility festivals.
In Beltane celebrations there are two main characters: the Queen of May and her King of May. Traditionally a green man or horned god who participates in the great rites and thus opens the way to summer. Together, the Queen of May and the King of May are the symbols of sacred marriage or Hieros Gamos in Greek, the Union of earth and sky and this union has been joyfully reconstituted by humans over the centuries.
This is about sexuality, sensuality, passion, vitality and joy. It is the sacred marriage of the god and the goddess, often replayed by a symbolic union during which the Athame, a magic knife symbolizing masculine energy, is placed in the chalice, a sacred cup symbolizing feminine energy.
The sacred marriage of the god and goddess was also often re-enacted and still is today in some regions by a human representation of the marriage or two people each symbolizing the god and goddess, sexually consummating their union before the community.
Beltane is also the time of the hand fasting or marriage of the god and the goddess, and their carnal but eternal embrace.
In ancient traditions, the two are separated all winter and their reunion at Beltane is celebrated with food, drink, fire and dance.
The world comes alive in color to celebrate their love. It is a feast of union, a celebration of divine balance in the union of masculine and feminine.
Having come of age through their long separation, the Lord and Lady become one.
As Beltane symbolizes the great marriage of Goddess and God, it is a highly prized time for pagan weddings or handfastings, a traditional marriage of “a year and a day” after which the couple will choose to stay together or separate without recrimination.
Everyone was free to practice the sacred marriage of the goddess and the god, and there was an almost accepted tradition of Beltane babies arriving nine months later.
Mid-spring is a super sexy time of year. A vibrant and colorful life bursts everywhere. Everything is so rich and fertile life is reborn all around us. Beltane is a time to embrace the divinity of our sexual nature.
Sex is an incredible gift, our human ability to create life and an opportunity to experience deep and transcendent joy. Sex is the superpower of humans. Mid-Spring is the time of year to honor and embrace this side of us, this superpower.
Our modern culture has developed a distorted, twisted and very complicated view of sex. Instead of honoring sex, our culture views it as shameful and moral. Something to keep hidden, not something commonly discussed, let alone celebrated in modern culture.
Beltane reminds us that sex is not only a crucial component of life, it is sacred. It's a powerful time of year to recover and reconnect with our own sexual energy. Not only for the capacity of sexuality to create new life, but also for the pleasure it brings. Sex is an incredible and sacred part of life. This is an opportunity to experience deep, incredible, transcendent pleasure. Beltane is a time to celebrate all the pleasures of being alive.
For modern Wiccans and neo-pagans, Beltane is a celebration that honors the incredibly fertile energy of nature. At this time of year, nature has an incredible ability to reproduce itself and in such an amazing and beautiful way. It is important to honor this power that nature holds, a power that we as humans also hold at this time.
When the Earth is teaming with fertile energy, it is a powerful time to recognize and celebrate the fertility inherent in all life. Beltane represents the height of spring, the beginning of summer. The energies of the Earth are the strongest, the most active. All of life is overflowing with powerful fruitfulness and at this point in the wheel of the year, potential becomes conception.
In the month of May, the sexuality of life and the earth are at their peak. Fertility, abundant on all levels, is the central theme. Beltane honors fertility and creative fertility. Abundance, sex and the growth of all that is beautiful on Earth.
Beltane is wildly hedonistic and full of abundance, fertility, fire, fun. All Beltane symbols are sexy. When we celebrate Beltane, we infuse it with our deepest intentions. Our ability to bring our ideas, hopes and dreams to life. Prosperity, creativity and abundance in nature and in us. The Greek goddess Aphrodite is, for me, closely associated with Beltane.
I invite you, as a Beltane celebration, to receive and use the mantra of the goddess Aphrodite.
I receive pleasure and abundance in every breath I take.
I receive pleasure and abundance in every breath I take.
I receive pleasure and abundance in every breath I take.
Here are some suggestions for using this mantra.
When you see yourself in the mirror, for example, look into your beautiful eyes, then repeat the words out loud.
You can also put a reminder notification on your phone (at 3.33?) and when the mantra appears, take 33 deep breaths and repeat the words three times.
Or write the mantra on a post-it, place it near your bed and repeat it when you are preparing to fall asleep. Put your hand on your heart and repeat the mantra as many times as you want.
When you wake up in the morning, you can read the mantra out loud.
Again, I hope this mantra allows you to connect with the energy of Beltane and the magic of Aphrodite. I hope it will allow you to hear how each breath you take can bring joy, abundance, pleasure.
So much for today ...
I would be so happy to hear from you about all that.
Thank you in advance for your comment.
See you soon, for my next online adventures!
Until then I send you love, light and gratitude.