Beltane, celebrated on the first of May, is the third of the 4 big Celtic celebrations in the Celtic year. It marks the end of the dark season and the beginning of the bright season. The holiday is associated with Belenos (avatar of the sun god Lugh), Lugh (sun god) and Bélisima (“the bright one”, semi-goddess associated with Lugh): all deities representing the sun, light and renewal.
Beltane marks a transition in the year: not only do we move from darkness into light, it’s also a change of life, where our daily activities become more important: it’s the beginning of a lot of agricultural activities for farmers and breeders. It marks the beginning of a period of fertility, the start of the summer season which is celebrated on the first of May or during the first full moon of the month of May. It’s the complete opposite of the Samhain celebration. It’s the perfect period to perform rites of passage symbolising the passing from cold into warm, from darkness to light, from a symbolic psychic death to a spiritual awakening. In short Beltane is the feast that celebrates the change in the rythme of life: we move from winter’s rythme to summer’s rythme. Beltane marks a physical as well as a spiritual change.
The stories insist on 2 fires that are lighted by druids pronouncing magic incantations with cattle being guided between the two fires to keep them safe from epidemics for the rest of the year. The “fire of Bel” (Belemos) is a a fire of beneficial purification created by druids. This powerful, sacred fire can only be lighted by a very radiant person. It’s flames symbolise the purification after winter, the activation of the flower of life. The second element associated with this celebration is water. The water that cleans our being and inspires fluidity in our life’s energy.
Throughout the generations, many traces of Beltane (like other Celtic holidays) can be found in traditions of folklore, like the danse around the Maypole, different kinds of divination, protection rituals for houses, the picking of certain plants, jumping over a fire for protection and fertility….
During the first night of the month of May people used to avoid going to places that were known to house fairies or “spirits of nature” for the vail between our world and theirs is very thin during the night of Beltane. It’s the moment they wake up from their winter’s sleep and inactivity. The month of May is therefor also the month of the Elves.
The month of May is ideal to launch new projects, to try out new things, to discover new places, etc. If you’d like to change jobs, move, make new friends, brake old habits: this is the ideal time to start off with a clean slate and make some room for new events to enter your life. You will benefit from this months’ energy in all your ventures. The month of May is a magical month, a month of wonder.
I wish you all a fruitful month of May!
(Source Wikipedia & Collège Nemet Ana)