Beltane is one of the most important Sabbats throughout the ages of paganism and neo-paganism. Honoured as the date when the God and Goddess come together in union and become with child together. This means that the importance of Beltane as a sacred Sabbat, imperative to the rest of the wheel of the year is incredible. Fertility is the name of the game at Beltane.
Believed by many to be one of the oldest Sabbats, Beltane has its roots in ancient Celtic culture and religion. It was widely worshipped throughout the British Isles and Ireland and is a time to focus on fertility – both of self, the world and the Lord and Lady as well as to focus on the coming summer and what one would like to achieve. It’s one of four seasonal festivals and is regarded as one of the most important, as this is the point when the God and Goddess come together in union and become pregnant with the young version of the God which will be reborn at Yule. As it’s almost exactly opposite in the calendar to Samhain, Beltane is also a time when the veil is thinnest, allowing celebrants to confer with deceased relatives and ancestors more easily. Two of the primary ways to celebrate Beltane included the construction of large bonfires which would be leapt over to usher in a fruitful summer, as well as the dancing of the maypole, a physical representation of the phallic male, typically wrapped in ribbons of red and white to symbolise the man and woman coming together.
Deities Associated With Beltane
There are many deities associated with Beltane throughout the world. Predominantly, if the deity has to do with fertility, sex or crops, they’re considered a Beltane deity. Here are a couple of deities you may wish to honour at this time.
Artemis is a maiden deity, ruler of forests, hillsides and general land and representative of the waxing moon. She carries a bow and arrow for hunting and while she’s not specifically matched up to any god in her story, she’s considered a Beltane deity due to her presence in forests and places where wild nature grows.
The Roman counterpart to the Greek Dionysus, Bacchus is considered a deity of good times, wine, parties and general frivolity. As he is also considered a deity of crops and agriculture, he’s honoured at Beltane as well as during later Sabbats like Lughnasadh. In March of each year in Ancient Rome, women would attend secret celebrations held in his name known as Bacchanalia, a general free for all of wine, sex and general debauchery.
A rustic type of god, typically depicted having the hindquarters of a goat and the upper body of a man with horns, Pan is considered a fertility god due to his associations with forests, fields and agriculture. As he typically would watch over fields of livestock, this makes him the perfect spring and fertility deity.
Foods For Beltane
The foods associated with Beltane varied depending on the location in which the festival was being held. Many of the foods that you can use in your rituals and celebrations today include cereals, early fruits and vegetables such as strawberries or dandelions in salads and as decoration. Green salads are actually a popular dish to serve at Beltane feasts, alongside freshly baked bread or rolls. Dairy products like milk and cheese are popular options as well, along with wines and honey.
For those looking to get more in touch with the energies associated with Beltaine, these correspondences will help tune you in and get you ready for the holiday and the general season:
- Colours: Greens, red, white, yellow, pink, brown, blue
- Deities: Dionysus. Pan, Hera, Gaia, Artemis, Aphrodite, The Green Man, The Horned God,
- Maiden goddesses, Persephone.
- Herbs: Dandelion, sage, mugwort, wormwood, ash, bluebells, clover, hawthorn, meadowsweet, thyme, yarrow, daisies, and primrose.
- Animals: Lambs, bees, doves, swallows, robins, bluejays, cattle and livestock
- Crystals: Citrine, aventurine, carnelian, rose quartz, malachite, green moss agate, blue agate, red jasper, white agate, ruby, emerald, green apatite.
- Incense: Rose, sage, passionflower, marigold, frankincense, lilac.
- Rituals: Make daisy chains for decoration in your home or garden, write spells for personal growth, protection or fertility. Bless your garden or nearest field. Plant later seeds in the ground. Collect morning dew for spellwork. Hang prayer ribbons on trees or your bushes.
If you enjoyed this blog all about Beltane, stay tuned for our next blog, all about the Summer Solstice, also known as Litha!