Beltane

On or around 1st May in the northern hemisphere and 1st November in the southern, Beltane represents the beginning of Summer or the height of Spring.

It is thought that the ancients only recognised two seasons, these being Summer and Winter. Beltane is the time when the Earth is literally buzzing with fertility. Life springs forth in all of its richness, and the land is covered with beautiful flowers; the freshly opened leaves of the trees are a quality of green that they only show at this time of year. At Beltane the Lady of the Land takes the hand of the Horned God. Some celebrate Beltane on the dates given above, whilst others look to the flowers of the May tree as their signal that Beltane has, at last, arrived.

Spiral triskelion (formed from mathematical Archimedean spirals), occasionally used as a Christian Trinitarian symbol

Deeper into Beltane

Beltane (Beltaine, Belltaine, Bealtaine, Beltain, Beltine, Bealteine, Bealtuinn, Boaldyn), meaning ‘bright fire’ or ‘lucky fire’ is held on May 1st (May 15th in Scotland) and celebrates the start of summer, the crop and pasturing season. Although scholars are non-commital, many of us believe Beltane honors the ancient continental Celtic sun and healer God, Belenus.

At Beltane, we open to the God and Goddess of Youth. However old we are, Spring makes us feel young again, and at Beltane we jump over the fires of vitality and youth and allow that vitality to enliven and heal us. When young we might use this time as an opportunity to connect to our sensuality in a positive creative way, and when older the mating that we seek might well be one of the feminine and masculine sides of our nature. Integration of the male and female aspects of the Self has long been seen as one of the prime goals of spiritual and psychotherapeutic work, and Beltane represents the time when we can open to this work fully, allowing the natural union of polarities that occurs in nature at this time the opportunity to help us in our work – a work that is essentially alchemical.

Nurturing growth
Father Sun shines brightly
Warming mother Earth
Joining in creation

 
 
 

First Beltane as a Bard

Bluebell Woods, Order of Bards, Ovates & Druids.

Oh those wonderful brown packages of light carried on the waves of modern transportation to be cradled in my mail box just waiting for my eager hand to pluck them out with pure delight. Ever so gently I break the seal and remove the contents spreading them out so I can gaze at each article with childish curiosity and an overwhelming sense of Awe. This was just the third OBOD course package that I had received, but already they were teaching me how to dance with my Soul. The depths, the lengths that these few lessons had taken me is something that I could not have fathomed in the years prior. Simple, eloquent guides for life. Rituals for my years. A song that I can call my own. Poetry that was written for me.

 

This third packet of mine gave me the gift of a ritual for Beltane. This is a season that I was familiar with already. The May Pole. The flowers. The month of May holds a special place in my heart anyway. May ushered in the birth of my mother and my daughter whom I named after the Spring Goddess, Maia. I was even married to my beautiful wife during the first week of May. So on top of all that joy that I had already be given by May, I now have a ritual to do that honors her in a way that is most certainly deserving.

Blossom into Druidry

Druidry is a vital and dynamic nature spirituality that the world needs now more than ever before Begin an exciting journey of spiritual inspiration and deeper connection to all of nature
In ancient times a Bard was a poet and storyteller who had trained in a Bardic college In modern times a Bard is one who sees their creativity as an innate spiritual ability and who chooses to nurture that ability partly or wholly with Druidism
In ancient times a Druid was a philosopher teacher counsellor and magician the word probably meaning A Forest Sage or Strong Seer In modern times a Druid is someone who follows Druidry as their chosen spiritual path or who has entered the Druid level of training in a Druid Order
maypole ribbons, Order of Bards, Ovates & Druids.

I started to read the lessons that my third packet contained and right away the ritual of the dance came out to play. My soul and I twirled around each other in graceful, flowing movements that could have won a blue ribbon in a ball room dance contest. The walls of my domain turned to trees of glory. My carpet grew lush green grass, and my ceiling gave way to a star-filled night sky. Then I realized that it was not just me and my soul dancing in my lush, dewy, sacred grove, but another couple had to join in as well. Beltane and Samhuinn. Two couples that were of completely different lights. One bright, one dark. Two different temperatures. One hot, one cold. In fact they were different in every way possible, but there they were in front of me. No longer embodied in just a point of time, but as two manifested figures enjoying the same dance as I in our sacred grove. He, Samhuinn, tall dark and mysterious. She, Beltane, bright and beautiful. My soul and I took a seat on the grass so we could watch this most amazing of dances. The music seemed to be played by the leaves of the willows. A haunting violin melody with a mixture of pure joyous flutes. The flowers swayed as the couple passed. With each step they took the stars grew brighter. Nothing but peace and love radiated from their being. Two elements that were so different came together to complete a circuit that was so whole, so right.

beltane julia jeffrey, Order of Bards, Ovates & Druids.

Our Beltane Recommendations

If you are keen for more information about the spiritual path of modern Druidry, why not have a browse through the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids online store?! Here you will find a wide variety of fantastic books on Druidry, ancient history, sacred sites, mythology and much more.

Time again slipped into the world of my grove and the couple, still dancing, faded into the air. The veil lifted. And I again was back in the world that my body inhabits. The grass that I was sitting on turned back to carpet. The Oaks, willows, and elms turned back into the walls of my residents. And my soul once again took up occupancy inside this shell of a man. But the wonder of it all stayed behind to keep me company like it always does. And the dance of it all was still being played inside me, inside you, and inside the world and universe. My wish is that we all find our dance this Beltane.

Peace and Love from my sacred grove.

Frederick Casey- OBOD Bard

March 2004

bluebell 919709f5 8f96 4e6f 8f7d 65ec198cbef0, Order of Bards, Ovates & Druids.

More About Beltane:

Read posts from fellow Druids and OBOD members with musings, experiences, songs and stories about Beltane.


Sacred Sex and The Goddess and God of Beltane – Maria explains that Beltane is the festival of the Sacred Union of the Goddess and God, a deeply joyous affair, celebrating sexuality on many levels.

Beltane Pilgrimage – A real life account of the Beltane celebrations and procession that take place in Padstow, Cornwall.

Hawthorn Tree – Find out why the hawthorn, once known simply as ‘May’, is the tree most associated with this month in many parts of the British Isles.

Beltane, St Teresa and the Greening – Maria describes the joy and emotion connected with the emerging colour of green at Beltane with quotations from St Teresa.

Solo Beltane Ritual No.1 – If you are by yourself this Beltane but would like to take part in a ceremony, find out how in this solo ritual.

Beltane Ritual No.2 – An alternative solo ritual to celebrate Beltane.