Beltane is the midpoint between the Spring Equinox and the Summer Solstice, and is traditionally celebrated on May 1st. However, the astronomical midpoint is usually a few days later. While Beltane Day is very sacred to me, I also celebrate a whole Beltane season, which, for my personal practice, involves a fortnight of festivities centered on May 1st and astronomical Beltane. A Joyous Beltane Season to You!
As you may have guessed (since I am a priestess of the Goddess of Love and all), Beltane is my favorite holiday. It has been ever since I first learned about it as a preteen. In the beginning, I was enamored with the idea of a holiday about the spiritual side of love—a literal holy day, untouched by candy and greeting card companies. As I got older, I embraced Beltane as a celebration of physical love in a society where shame debases physical expressions of love as somehow “lower” and “less than.” It baffled me how any expression of love could be “wrong.” In college, Beltane was the beginning of summer—when the natural world came alive, the forest was lush and green, and flowers were in full bloom. When I started celebrating Beltane with my Pagan group, I rediscovered the sense of wonder and playfulness of childhood, and I donned the sparkly pink fairy wings I never had as a kid. The meaning of Beltane for me has evolved over time, as I am sure it has for you as well.
Beltane is about ecstatic union. The traditional story of Beltane is about the union of the Goddess and the God. The concept of union can be applied much more broadly. It is a time of our personal union with the Divine, of union with nature, of the union of thoughts and ideas, and of the union of people into a community.
Beltane is about laughter and joy. My favorite part of the Charge of the Goddess has always been this verse:
Let my worship be within the heart that rejoiceth, for behold:
All acts of love and pleasure are my rituals.
I just think there is something so beautiful about that. Whether you love to dance, cook, paint, go for a run, hang out with friends, write stories, sing in the shower, blog, cheer on your favorite team, cuddle with your cat, or play music, these are all acts of love and pleasure to be divinely enjoyed. And it doesn’t necessarily have to be something you “do”. It could be appreciating the beauty of a sunset, enjoying a good book, or literally stopping to smell the roses. ALL acts of love and pleasure, even the tiniest ones, even the superficially mundane ones, can be divine.
Beltane is about glitter and fun. It’s about embracing play and making sure we don’t work too hard. It’s appreciating beauty of all kinds. It’s about being silly and ridiculous, and laughing until you pee a little. It’s about dreaming with reckless abandon and being true to yourself.
Beltane is about magick. It’s about bringing the magickal into the mundane. It’s about the magick in all things. Beltane is opposite Samhain in the wheel of the year. This is a time when the veil between the worlds thins, and we can make contact with the Otherworld. Instead of communing with the past and our ancestors, we can commune with ideas and things yet to come.
But most of all, Beltane is about love. All kinds of love, for everything and everyone. In a world rife with oppression, shame, and hatred, we need Beltane now more than ever. There are so many kinds of love: romantic love, familial love, love of friends, love of things, love of ideas, love of activities, spiritual love, and love for the Earth. Love that is all encompassing and never-ending. Love that touches you at the core of your being.
I invite you to make this love and joy the focus for your Beltane Sabbat. We want the energy that we raise in these delightful days to radiate out to the world—to nourish ourselves and our global community. We want to send out love that heals and transforms. We want our infectious laughter to spread to everyone we meet. We want our hearts to sing with the unity of all things.
With the energy we raise as we celebrate Beltane, let us honor the love and joy in all things. Let us see the magickal in the mundane. Let us embrace play and remember to have fun. Let our laughter fill the air as we dance and make merry! Let us rejoice in our deep connection with the Earth. Let us celebrate the Divine within ourselves.
For more posts on modern Paganism and serving the Goddess of Love, visit www.priestessofaphrodite.com