The hills have gone green in rolling waves and the apple trees are full of blossoms. Morning comes early with the sound of birdsong and golden light. Woven shawls and hot tea are still necessary accoutrements but warm sun and more daylight beckon us outward and thaws our bones.
Baby animals hold close to their mothers, birds return from their winter migration, and all the plants seem to be waking up. The shrill cold of winter has passed and slowly we begin to shed our own winter's layers.
All the land seems to be filled with flowers that serve one purpose and that is to please the fairies. All of Mother Nature seems to be flirting with our senses.
We have arrived at Beltane, traditionally celebrated on the night of April 30- day of May 1st. Many rituals were performed at this time to ensure the health and well being of crops, livestock, people and homes.
The spirits and fairies were given offerings of Beltane bannock and fires were lit across the countryside. Feasts were held and rites performed to ensure the fecundity of the land.
Beltane is a beautiful time when the entire world seems to be filled with such aliveness. It is the perfect opportunity to gather inspiration from the color, life and fire of the natural world and turn it into something compelling and creative within.
Now is a perfect time to stoke the flame of our own passions and creativity. Beltane is a time for freeing the fire within. Stoke the embers of all five senses with food, play, pleasures, delights, sensuality and beauty.
How to Celebrate Beltane
1. Take a Bath in Spring Blossoms
There is nothing quite like a bath filled with spring blossoms, to awaken a connection to your sensuality. The scent of the blooms along with the warm, soft water, insights....stirrings....(ahem)....
What a beautiful way to honor the water element as well. Beltane celebrations often included rituals and blessings at sacred wells. Pretend that your bath tub is filled with water from one of these wells.
How: Go outside and take a look around your neighborhood, you will see trees full of lilacs, apple blossoms, crabapple buds, violets, tulips, honeysuckle and more.
Take a bowl to collect the flowers and as you collect them thank the plant for its offering. Sing the tree a song as you gather. Breathe deeply.
When you get home, draw your bath and scatter all the flowers into the warm water. Pretend you are the Green Man or the Queen of May and step into your delightful, and blessed bath.
This is an exciting time of year, as the plants that we love and eat and who have slumbered underground, are beginning to return.
Arugula, dandelion, lettuce, tarragon, lemon balm, nettles, yellow dock and more are reaching their arms up in your direction.
There is no better way to honor the earth element of Beltane than through making foods and recipes that include the plants that are showing up in our gardens and in the springtime landscape. Of course, we are not limited to these foods only, make a feast that includes some of your favorite recipes.
How: Make things that can be eaten with your fingers, make lovely dipping sauces, savory pies, bright salads, decadent desserts. Eat things that make your eyes roll back in your head!
There is something about the green, fresh and new countryside that inspires one to adventure. The wind tickles us to play, to go seeking newness and joy. An image of people laughing as they dance around the May pole comes to mind.
What excitements exist just over that hillside or what new discoveries can we find within ourselves? It is time to find out.This is the air element of Beltane, the lightness, the curiosity, the spontaneity!
How: Find some new or favorite games to pay outside. Take a road trip or go for a hike in a new place and see as many new things as you can. Frolic with a lover or with yourself. Tune into pleasure. Laugh. Dance to your favorite song. Sing at the top of your lungs with the windows down in your car.
It is a dark night and the last quarter moon has not yet risen. As far as you can see there are bonfires lit, scattered across the hillsides. It is Beltane night. What mischievous plans have you?
Just as at Samhain, the veils between the worlds are thin at Beltane, making it easier to connect to nature spirits, fairies, angels and other beings that walk between worlds. A wonderful way to make contact with them is through an outdoor fire, whether it be candles or your backyard fire pit. You can ask for blessings, how to connect to your creative spark or for a healing from these beings.
Fires were considered sacred and many Beltane fires were lit in the "purest" way possible, using a hand drill or in some places, the energy from the sun.
How: Take a walk outside at dusk and notice the sounds of the night birds and the wind in the trees. Take your candles to, or light your fire in a safe place. Feel the energy of the ripe and verdant earth. Notice what stirs in you. Ask for your blessing, healing or a way to connect to your creativity. Listen. Enjoy. Delight. Breathe it all into your body. Feel the spark of life within you grow into a dazzling light.
Lark Fox is a Priestess, an herb wyfe, Seer, intuitive healer, writer and ceremonialist.
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