Beltane, also known as May Day, is celebrated each May 1. Beltane embodies the peak of fertility season kicked off with Ostara, and embraces continued growth and development.
Beltane leans toward partnerships through it’s sexual undertones and community through it’s public celebrations, such as dancing around the May Pole. While joining in a May Pole dance may be a common association, not all rituals have to be done with others. Beltane is a wonderful time to create personal space and reflect on your individual journey through the year.
Fire is a vital element for Beltane, representing protection and purification. Many ancient rituals utilized fire and incorporated fire into farming and the process of raising and moving livestock. Often 2 fires would be cast and the celebration would occur between them. This notion of the space between fire; seeing the growing flames dance and transform, hearing the crackle of embers and whip of air, feeling the heat resonate throughout your being, tasting and smelling the smoke as if wafts from the flames; resonates in all of our senses.
Sex and sensuality are prime components of Beltane. We are asked to connect with our inner fire and desires as a way to ignite our energy and sow our passions. As the natural world around us continues to replicate, grow, and flourish, we too are called to do the same. Whether your notion of fertility and conception are physical, mental, emotional, or metaphysical, Beltane is ideal for tapping into the cosmic shift to create and nurture.
All of our rituals are unique, personal, and deeply sacred. I’ve put together ritual components to guide you in celebrating Beltane. Work with the elements that resonate with you and honor your connection to this sacred time. Whether your ritual be private or public, I wish you comfort, clarity, and celebration. The following ritual components are intended as a mix-and-match menu so you can engage in the practices that you most connect with and enjoy.
- Colors: Green of all shades, White, Red, Yellow
- Flowers: Lilac, Forsythia, Violet, Dandelion, Cowslip
- Herbs: Coriander, Nettle, Majoram, St. John’s Wort
- Crystals: Garnet, Rose Quartz
- Trees: Birch, Ash, Hawthorn
- Foods: Oatmeal, Dairy, Honey (raw, local is best when available), Mixed Baby Greens, Wine/Mead
In a space that will not be disturbed but is visible and accessible, begin to construct your Beltane altar. Clear the surface of all items and use a natural cleaner to ensure a fresh surface. Drape a colorful cloth, piece of fabric, or decorative paper to designate your altar space. Assemble your altar space utilizing fresh cut or potted flowers, phallic-shaped candles to represent fertility, imagery or figures of honey bees, wreaths or garlands of flowers, and Goddess/God figures. As you place each item, hold it for a moment and connect with the energy it brings to your sacred space. Intuitively place your items on your altar and move them as necessary to accommodate for additional pieces.
This altar space can be used to meditate with, engage in energy work, read tarot, journal, or simply sit quietly and reflect. Speak to your altar and let all the components know what they mean to you and why they are important. Express gratitude freely.
Your altar is an ideal space to burn incense or candles and to charge and protect your energy work tools. Tarot or oracle cards make great additions and can also contribute to the energy at hand.
Those with deeper meditation and energy work practices may find this is a particularly potent space to receive messages, connect with sacred energy, and hear one’s intuition speak. As with all sacred spaces, do guard this area with bright white protective light and ask for divine barriers from anything that may interfere with your work. Open and close your sessions in recognition of this sacred space and use a mantra, prayer, or incantation to welcome energy, call in the 4 elements, and express gratitude.
BELTANE & TAROT
If including tarot into your ritual feels appropriate, the Ten of Cups may be a good fit. The Ten of Cups embodies family, growth, happiness, and the flowering of our efforts into a bright life full of love. The Ten of Cups is also reminiscent of marriage and fruitful relationships. Beltane rituals often incorporate the sacred union of the Goddess and God, thus healthy, happy relationships of all kids, shapes, and sizes are paramount and should be recognized and celebrated.
BELTANE CANDLES & INCENSE
Candles and incense are wonderful additions to any space, altar, or ritual. The flame of a candle or smoke from incense can be a wonderful focal point for meditation while also adding to the visual aesthetic and aroma of the space.
For your Beltane altar candle, begin with a green candle. Chime candles can be gently rubbed with oil and rolled in dried herbs and flowers to dress them. Use a stand to burn them and be aware of any dressing that may catch fire during the burn. 7-day glass candles can have a very small amount of herbs and flowers added to the top prior to burning. Keep the wick trimmed as the candle burns and be aware of dressing that may catch fire, which could lead to glass breakage.
For your Beltane incense blend choose herbs, flowers, and resins that are pleasing and seasonal. Combine your blend with a mortar and pestle, reciting a mantra, prayer, or incantation. Using a charcoal disk on a heat-safe surface, add small amount of your blend. Know that more incense creates more smoke; best to start small and slow.
Some herbal allies for your candles and incense that correspond with Beltane include: Rose, Calendula, Sandalwood, Rosemary, Bay, Dragon’s Blood and Copal. Let your intuition guide you as you choose your blend; there is no wrong combination when your intention is pure.
If you prefer incense cones, our Hand-Rolled Incense • Beltane are ideal for all your Beltane rituals.
NOTE: Always burn candles and incense responsibly using heat-safe surfaces in well ventilated areas. Never leave burning items alone for any amount of time. Be aware of pets and children that may be nearby.
Beltane Tea from Nor’Eastern Herb Company
INGREDIENTS: Lemon Balm and/or Hibiscus (Feminine). Nettle and/or Peppermint (Masculine).
DIRECTIONS: Mix dry ingredients in equal parts or to taste to create an herbal blend. Add 1-3 TBS of the herbal blend to a tea filter or steeping insert. Pour boiling water over tea into a mug and cover for 5-7 minutes. Remove tea blend and press liquid from the herbs. Add a scoop of local honey and mix to incorporate. Allow to cool. Finish with milk of choice to taste. Enjoy!
MORE WAYS TO HONOR BELTANE
- Focus on Fertility – Being fertile is so much more than pregnancy and procreation. Fertility lives in our minds as new ideas, flows through our hands in starting projects, and thrives in our spirit as the desire to grow, learn, and develop. Make time for yourself to plan and chart out what you are most wanting to achieve over the next few months. Create tangible benchmarks and open yourself to inspiration. Planting these proverbial seeds now and tending to them over the coming weeks will yield the most beautiful summer flowers that you’ve never been more proud of.
- Host a Bonfire – Fire can be cleansing, protective, and also destructive (when not harnessed appropriately, always burn with care). Invite some friends over or attend an evening fire. Burn paper listed with what you are releasing or burn bay leaves with your wishes inscribed on them to draw in new energy. Feel the heat and observe the power of the flames knowing that that intensity also lives within us. Consider having 2 fires or flames with space to move between them. Start at one end and walk through the space between the fires to symbolize your transition out of Winter and into Spring. Let the fires energetically cleanse and rid you of emotional baggage from the past season. Move only in one direction, not going backwards, and feel this sacred transition deeply within you. (Always follow fire safety rules and laws. Burn with care!)
- Write – Putting pen to paper can be a wonderful way to set intentions, express emotions, or explore ideas. Allow your mind to be fertile with new ideas and conceive ways to put your desires into motion. Whether it be prose, poems, songs, journaling, or a to-do list, writing transforms our ideas and thoughts into action and tangible outcomes. Consider our Beltane Reflections (section below) for writing prompts to get you started and have your creative juices flowing.
- Picnic with Wildflowers – A huge part of enjoying and celebrating Beltane is getting outside and experiencing the season. Pack a picnic and find a spot to spend some time outdoors. Whether it be a local park, hiking trail, or your backyard, spending time taking in the sights, smells, and sounds of the season truly connect us to it. Having this time to open yourself and take in all the Earth offers helps us to understand Beltane, Spring, the world around us, and everything that grows and lives. Having a deep appreciation for the land leads us to feel more passionately about protecting and preserving it which is the highest way to honor our global home.
- Explore your Sensual Side – With Beltane arriving at the peak of the fertility season, there’s no doubt it is the sexiest sabbat. Whether with a partner or alone, devote some time to connect to your sexual energy and exploring what feels good for the sake feeling good. While many Beltane rituals have focused on the hetero Goddess/God sexuality, embrace who you are and connect with your inner Goddess or God to celebrate the sexual fire in you.
- What are you ready to release this season?
- What wisdom can you share with others?
- How can you welcome more love and compassion into your life?
- What does stability mean to you and how can you achieve that state?
- What have you left behind to bring you to this moment?
PAYING IT FORWARD
If advocacy is part of your personal rituals, I ask you to consider talking action long side the
Alt National Park Service for our national parks and monuments. Part of honoring our environment is doing all we can to protect it and ensure the health and well being of all animals, wildlife, plants, trees, and water sources. Visit the Speak Up For Our Parks section of their website to learn how you can advocate for our national parks.
(I do not have any affiliation with the Alt National Park Service other than supporting their work and appreciating their advocacy.)
When you have completed your ritual, take a few moments to sit with the emotions, and images that came to you. Journal your experience or take notes that you can return to as Spring progresses. As you move from your sacred space drink a large glass of water and wash your hands in cool water. Express your gratitude for these moments and know you have participated in an ancient and sacred tradition.
I wish for you all a very blessed Beltane. With love and light, Kristen