April’s showers have given way to a rich and fertile earth, and as the land greens, there are few celebrations as representative of fertility or few pagan sabbats feel more pagan than as Bealtaine. Observed on May 1st (or October 31 – November 1 for our Southern Hemisphere readers) festivities typically begin the evening before, on the last night of April. It’s a time to welcome the abundance of the fertile earth. Bealtaine is all about celebrating the uniting of the Lord and Lady, so it covers things like sex, love, passion, fertility, and romance. Depending on your tradition, there are a number of ways to celebrate Lá Bealtaine.
1. Setting Up Your Bealtaine Altar with Flowers
We decorate our household altars with flowers nearly all year long, but there’s something special about flowers at Bealtaine. For one thing they actually exist in May, not so true at Yule, and there’s something special about seeing something that grew in your front yard on the ritual altar. But flowers are more than altar decorations, you can do things with them in ritual. They are wonderful tokens to pass out (and unlike plastic junk simply decompose by Lammas), but they can also be used magically. Put a flower in your hands and let the power flow through you and everyone else in the circle! Though “seeds” are technically “flowers in waiting” they are also great for magical work. Flowers are also great hair accessories!
2. Celebrate Bealtaine With a Maypole Dance
The tradition of the Maypole Dance has been around for a long time – it’s a celebration of the fertility of the season. If you have a big group of friends and a lot of ribbon, you can easily hold your own Maypole Dance as part of your Bealtaine festivities. Maypoles can be used for just good fun, but they can also be used to raise energy and celebrate the fertility rising out of the Earth.
3. Bealtaine Bonfire Ritual for Groups
Bealtaine is a time of fire and fertility. Combine the passion of a roaring bonfire with the love of the May Queen and the God of the Forest, and you’ve got a recipe for a fantastic ritual. Use your imagination to kick start your Beltane festivities with this group ritual.
4. Beltane Planting Rite for Solitaries
This simple ritual, designed for the solitary practitioner, is one you can use when you’re doing your annual planting. Wait until you’re past the final frost date, and then do this ritual when it’s time to get your seeds planted!
5. The Courtship of the Goddess and God Ritual
For many years most of my Bealtaine rituals revolved around the idea of the young Goatboy (he wasn’t quite the Horned God yet) trying to somehow convince the beautiful, young, alluring, Goddess of Spring to consummate their relationship. Often times the Goddess as Crone would show up to attempt to dissuade the Maiden, and make a few jokes at the expense of the Goatboy (who was generally played by me).
But Beltane isn’t just about hookups between the Goddess and God, it’s about hookups between the Goddess & Goddess, and God & God, and everything in between. It’s about celebrating the union of two different forces and how those unions create new things. And most definitely “God and Hand” is a union of two things, though I probably wouldn’t build a ritual around it.
6. Handfasting Ceremonies
Many people opt to hold a handfasting or wedding at Bealtaine.
7. Have Sex
Bet that got your attention! While there are many interpretations of Bealtaine, this Sabbat is generally regarded as a celebration of the fertility and vitality that has returned to nature, as well as the virility of the God. Turn your love making into an actual great rite, or perhaps do it directly after ritual when the spiritual juices are running the hottest
Why not celebrate fertility with fertility? Of course, if you’re not looking to procreate, take precautions. Because I don’t babysit. You’ve been warned.
Happy 🌹❤️🌹Lá Bealtaine🌹❤️🌹