I just had a great lesson on Beltane rituals from the founder of Wicca-Argentina.com.ar. Here is the wisdom they shared!
This name is the most popularly known, however, you can name the festival as “cetamain” or Beltaine. Other known names are “Calan Mai”, “Bealltainn”, “Calan Me”, “Boaldyn” and “Kala Mae”. As well as other older ones; Kentu-saminos or cét-sam-sin, from which derives the “Ceitein”, current Scottish Gaelic name. Among tribes in southern Gaul, the name Giamonia, derived from the calendar month of Coligny, Giamonios, is noted.
The word Beltane, is composed of two words; “tane” that can mean fire and with the union of both we could obtain “good fire”, “luminous fire” or “beautiful fire”.
Beltane begins, the dark days are a memory of the past days. The light is reborn in the time of more force and it is our third festivity, where the fire is protagonist. We remember our ancestors, those called Tuatha Dé Danaan, who put their feet on Erin after burning their ships, thus expressing their iron intention to settle in the Emerald Land.
Beltane, Wicca, Sabbath and Beltane Ritual, Palo de Mayo, Maypole, Northern HemisphereOur feast begins on the eve, at dusk and continues with the day which are the moments in which, according to our conception, the Summer begins. Samos begins, the end of Celtic Winter and the beginning of the luminous half of the Annual Wheel. It is our festival of fire. This festival is just as important as Samhain’s, because both have a function of passage in the Celtic calendar, one is a step towards Samos and the other towards Giamos.
In our ritual we have previously extinguished all the existing fires in our tribe or community, as a symbolic form that represents the absence of this one. At dawn when dawn begins to dawn on the first morning of Summer, we will ritually ignite our fire where we will regenerate our own spiritual vitality.
The bonfire, as our ancestors did, will be made up of nine sacred woods from nine different trees that will be carried by nine people.
Beltane, Wicca, Sabbath and Beltane Ritual, Maypole, Maypole, Northern HemisphereWhen I burn, we will get embers to light other small fires at this Beltane dawn, in opposition to Samhain where the fires burn at dusk.
In these magical moments, which our ancestors also performed by passing both them and their cattle through the smoke in a rite of cleansing and purification, fire was and is a divine symbol. This fire was entrusted to the patronage of God Belenos (the brilliant one). Manifestation, on the other hand of the Lord of the Summer and associated with the healing powers the Sun.
Our ancestors also had more ways of greeting these days of celebrations and participating in the healing energy of the astro-god; One of their customs was to get up before the sun appeared, after a vigil in the sacred forests, where they had participated in the sexual rites of Beltane, they went to a nearby hill to observe the sunrise and bathe in its vivifying rays. Such a bath could also be taken in a more symbolic way, bathing in sacred fountains and springs in which the sun’s rays had been trapped, or drinking the water from these or also sacred wells, where the sunlight had been retained. The Druids advised to drink the water from these springs before sunrise, to wash them with the morning dew and to adorn them with flowers. This whole ritual was to dance around the May tree, letting itself be carried away by the seasonal festivity.
The dew that was collected in the mornings of Beltane was also collected, keeping it in order to use it in later rituals. The dew in its magical concept was considered an essence distilled from the Earth by means of fire (the sun), an alchemy of the spiritual nature of Mother Earth, in whose bosom the springs and streams represent her female organs with their healing properties.
The goddess of the Earth (Mother Earth), was the wife of the Sun, both deities, givers of life.
It was and is a time of celebration, joy, marriages and sexual magic with which we tried to perpetuate the season.
Our spirit brothers of those times chose a “Flower Maiden” also called “Queen of May”, who was the symbolic representative in this feast, of the Goddess in one of her triple aspects of the transformation from virgin to mother.
In the middle of a ritual of music and dance the copulation of the goddess with the May tree was simulated, which according to the location of the tribe, could be a birch trunk as in Wales, a hawthorn in certain parts of Brittany, or a holly as in Eire, in addition to the willow, but all of them representing a phallic attribute. As a feast of fertility and sexual liberation, it was also dedicated to the union between couples or marriage. The newly united couple consummated this union somewhere in the forest.
The newly united couple consummated that union somewhere in the forest, with the approval of the entire tribe, which on several occasions joined their respective partners to the celebration.
In some Celtic tribes there were days of sexual freedom at this time, in which new couples were formed on trial, which lasted until the next Beltane, date in which the vows were renewed or ended up separating.
Beltane is also the night that we dedicate to the God Belenos, Belenos also has other names such as Borno or Grannios of continental Keltia, or Balor or Beltayne of the keltia Irish or Beli or Balor of the Welsh Celts or Bel or Belenos of the Celts of the Isle of Man or Bile or Belenos of the Scottish Celts, thus being a god of wide Celtic scope.
The Celtic festivities in general and Beltane in particular, in addition to the above, had other objectives, such as the healthy intention to strengthen the ties of tribes and clans. The Celts gathered at these events massively, which served to foster alliances between tribes and strengthen ties between clans and families. During such celebrations there was not a single scuffle between them and weapons were banned. Added to this was the magical component with its ritual liturgies that made Beltane a communion that went beyond the simple feast.
Nor should we forget the god Cernunnos, who in Beltane is dismissed to become a real part of the world of plants and animals in our own environment. Thus becoming the lord and spirit of all things wild.
The festival of Beltane is a joyful, extrovert, fun, encouraging celebration. The energy it gives us is more active than reflective. It is the expansion that will be in us as the Summer gallops to its climax. (*) Thank you Iolair!
Correspondence from Beltane
Meaning: fullness of spring, ideal time to defend against evil…
Plants: Willow, hawthorn and other spring flowers.
Herbs: Angelica, rose, jasmine, strawberry, mint.
Incense: Jasmine, vanilla, strawberry, mint.
Oils: Jasmine, vanilla, willow, strawberry.
Colors (see the meaning in the color correspondences): Orange, yellow, red, white.
Stones: Coral, jade, pearls, sapphires and rose quartz.
Typical foods of Beltane: Cereals, strawberries, raspberries and other red fruits of forest, or that take dairy…if you want something rich can be vanilla ice cream.
Drinks: whatever you want to make with seasonal fruits!
The Mother Goddess, Cernunnos, the Pachamama, solar Gods of the different pantheons, Goddesses of fertility and love.
Materials that can be used for decoration
Seasonal buds and flowers
Lots of candles! (we can’t make a campfire at home!)
Food and drink. (they are described above)
Activities in Beltane: (the famous “what we do”)
Some traditional Beltane practices are braiding and weaving or other activities that show the union of 2 parts to form a third, as this is the spirit of Beltane.
Beltane’s meals can be all those with milk, barley, wheat or oats or if you want something more sophisticated vanilla ice cream.
Other things you can do in the ritual:
Make bags of flowers or herbs. (Look at the correspondences)
To make the pendant or souvenir of the Union of Goddess and God.
As far as possible we should celebrate Beltane in a forest or near a tree. If this is not possible, it is a good idea to bring a small tree in a pot to the circle. We should create a pendant or memorial for the wedding of God and Goddess, which we will hang from the branches of the tree.
These can be bags with flower petals, garlands, carved pieces or anything else we can think of. Then we recite the song of Blessing, and invoke the Goddess and God.
Standing in front of the altar, with one hand raised, we say:
Mother Goddess, Queen of Night and Earth,
God the Father, King of the day and of the woods
I celebrate their union while nature rejoices
in spirited flames of color and life.
Accept my gift, Mother Goddess, Father God
in honor of Su Union
We put the pendant in the tree:
From your renewed union will be life
a profusion of living creatures
will cover the fields and the winds will blow pure and sweet
Ancient Gods, I celebrate with You!
We will light a small bonfire, since it is a festival of Fire.
In it we can burn some previously consecrated paper where we will write down what we want to ask for or thank.
We celebrate the simple feast, celebrating the Union of the Gods.
Remember that at the end, you must say goodbye to the Gods, to the Guardians and open the Circle.