May is one of our favorite months, for lots of reasons! May brings fresh energy, new growth (both literally & figuratively), better weather, and lots of beautiful sunshine! What’s not to love?! One thing we always look forward to in May, also happens to be– Beltane Day – which celebrates the midpoint between Spring Equinox and Summer Solstice
When is Beltane?
In the Northern Hemisphere, Beltane is celebrated on May 1st. Although for much of the world, they will know this as May Day, May 1st actually marks a major celebration, a tradition of the Pagan religion.
And while we’re dancing around the Maypole in the Northern Hemisphere, this date coincides with the arrival of Samhain in the Southern Hemisphere, and for our friends down South, nights are drawing in and the time of Shadow is rising.
For tips on how to mark and celebrate the turning of the opposite side of the wheel of the year,
What is Beltane?
Beltane is a declaration that Spring is at its peak, and the Earth is blooming! Her creative, sexual energy is pulsing and the Earth’s fertility is at a high. And because of that juicy, fertile energy, our ancestors celebrated this festival as a powerful time of union between the divine masculine and divine feminine principles.
Love, wellness, renewal, and the ecstasy of life would have been encouraged and celebrated at Beltane, and our ancestors had specific Beltane rituals and ceremonies they would perform. And whilst the grounded earth energy of Taurus can be palpably felt at this time, Beltane is a fire festival, and this sacred element of transformation and renewal would also have been honored.
This Pagan festival is the celebration of the goddess and through rituals, dancing and Beltane bonfire, Pagans the world over give thanks to the Celtic deities.
Even though we live further from the land and the natural cycles of the Earth in these modern times, celebrating festivals such as Beltane can have a profound impact on our own wellbeing and sense of connectedness to our own vitality. Even the simplest, intentional act can completely shift your perspective of life and our planet.
So here are 10 ways to mark this sacred, euphoric, and intensely joyful time even if you don’t practice paganism.
1. Build a Bonfire
Our farming ancestors would light a fire and then have their cattle jump over it to ensure protection from disease, and from the troublesome fae for the rest of the year. Leaping over your fire could be a fun activity to call in purification and protection (though keep it safe!)
As a festival of sensuality and pleasure, dancing is a great way to run that springtime energy through your body and energize, like the Earth around you.
3. Make a Mandala
Create a mandala out of natural objects, as an offering of gratitude and respect to Mother Nature. These are so much easier to make than they look! And so satisfying!
4. Practice a Pleasure Ritual
What brings you pleasure? Eating expensive chocolate, or juicy, ripe peaches? Swimming naked? Lounging between silk bed sheets? Make a point of doing that one thing today, and enjoying every last second.
5. Be an Amplifier for Joy
Set an intention to radiate joy. Make the people around you smile, give them compliments and perform random acts of kindness wherever you go. Amplify the joy and love that is present in the natural world through your own presence for a day, and see how life feels.
6. Gather Flowers
Fill your home or working space with fresh flowers. Adorn your hair, clothes, desk, coffee table, even your car dashboard! Bring the most beautiful manifestations of life’s fertility and abundance into your life.
7. Collect Rainwater
But what if it’s raining?! Sure, rain can make some Beltane celebrations tricky, but rain is sacred too! Collect the rainwater and use it as an elixir for washing or anointing yourself, your home and your sacred spaces.
8. Have Sacred Sex
Many pagan practices involve rituals of sacred sex, but on Beltane, this festival of fertility and ecstasy, any sex can be supercharged, especially by doing it outside! If you have a willing partner and an adventurous spirit (and somewhere you’ll be undisturbed!) why not go wild?!
9. Create a Fertility Altar
It doesn’t need to be concerned with conceiving children. Your fertility altar could be in service to creating a life of ideas, opportunities, adventure, holidays, the growth of investments or a burgeoning spiritual practice … honor and invite in more of whatever you wish, at this time of annual abundance.
10. Plan and Plant your Garden
What better day to till the soil and plant some seeds? Make gardening a ritual act, as you co-create with nature. Connecting with the elements – the earth, water, fire (sun and heat) and air will help you bring more of their essence into your life, and alchemize your ongoing transformation.
What are you planning for Beltane?
If you have more ideas to add to these, then please share below!
What About The Other Festivals In The Wheel Of The Year?
This is just one festival in the 8 Pagan/Wiccan festivals (or sabbats) which are held throughout the year. These celebrations follow the Wheel of The Year and you can read about them here. Alternatively, click the links below for an more in depth look at each festival…
- February: Imbolc
- March: Ostara (Spring Equinox)
- May: Beltane
- June: Litha (Summer Solstice)
- August: Lammas
- September: Maron (Fall Equinox)
- October: Samhain
- December: Yule (Winter Solstice)