Welcome to another celebration of the sacred wheel of the year.
Beltane, the festival of fire, is traditionally celebrated on the last day of April and the first day of May. As you can imagine, it’s a time to honor the peak of Spring and put the final kibosh on the winter season.
But there are some beautiful nuances to the celebration of Beltane. And while our ancestors celebrated this time by jumping over small fires and broomsticks, we can always find modern ways to honor the holiday and usher in a new season. (Although if you want to jump over brooms, I’m definitely not going to stop you!)
What is Beltane?
Beltane is an ancient holiday with roots in the British Isles but has been celebrated in different forms all over the world. It falls between the Spring Equinox and the Summer Solstice, usually around April 30 and May 1.
If Spring Equinox (around March 19) was the planting of the seeds, Beltane is the celebration of new life peeking from the ground and beginning to root. It’s a transitional season, between the equinoxes, but no less important to those who keep in touch with the shifting energies of the year.
European and Pagan celebrations usually start on the night of April 30th and go into the day of May 1. People traditionally gather to light fires, dance, sing, eat, and perform rituals for a fruitful Spring and Summer.
Beltane Energies, Gods, and Goddesses
The energy around this time is one of love, passion, and fertility. Ancient Romans honored Flora, their goddess of flowers, while other cultures observed rituals for gods of fertility, motherhood (hello, Mother’s Day the Sunday after Beltane…), gods of the forest, and gods of agriculture.
Beltane falls well into Taurus season, giving it an earthy, grounded feel, and an opportunity for us to commune with the earth and even get more in touch with our bodies.
Of course, observance and offerings weren’t just for the fertility of the earth, but for the fertility of the womb! Which is why plenty of marriages and handfastings are done around this time.
6 Modern Ways to Celebrate Beltane
#1: Create a Beltane Altar
Creating an altar is a beautiful way to honor a season or holiday. Use bright, rich colors in honor of spring flowers, add an abundance or fertility candle to represent the element of fire, and add anything symbolic of nature, like seeds, flowers, sticks, or other found objects.
Unsure how to create an altar from scratch? Check out this post. You can also make your garden or a tree or bush your altar by decorating it with twinkle lights and flowers. Think of it like a Spring-style Christmas tree.
#2: Bake Bread
Time to jump on that sourdough bread train! Baking is incredibly grounding, asking us to work and knead the dough with our hands. Plus, many ancient holidays include baked goods of some sort that we can create and share with loved ones.
Not into bread? Lovingly crafting a green salad or another type of baked good will also work. The secret is in keeping your intention for fertility, abundance, and gratitude strong while you cook.
#3: Plant Seeds and Starts
It’s not too late to start a Spring or Summer garden in most parts of the Northern Hemisphere. I’m still starting seeds for herbs and lettuce, and I’m planning on grabbing some veggie starts this weekend. Bonus points for researching plants that will bring pollinators and butterflies to your garden!
Plant everything with intention and love. You can even give each plant a special intention by writing words or drawing sigils on the sides or bottom of the pot. For instance, “health,” “creativity,” or “energy.”
#4: Light a Bonfire
Beltane is known as the Festival of Fire and a beautiful time to bring some fire energy into your life. Light a bonfire and dance around it. Purify and burn off the last stagnate energies of winter! I like to sit and stare into the fire, feeling its warmth and setting the intention to have the energy I need to get through big projects or maybe bring some fire into the bedroom! If you can’t light a fire, a candle will do!
#5: Celebrate in Style
Beltane is such a lovely time to feel more in your body. At a time when many of us are stuck at home, it’s common to stay in your PJs all day and avoid getting dressed up. Celebrate Beltane in style by dressing up and setting the table for dinner. Or, eat around the fire. Yes, even if you live alone. Perhaps you can even plan a Zoom dinner date with friends.
#6: Do an Abundance or Fertility Spell
Do a spell for abundance as we leave old energies behind and embrace a brand new season. Here’s a Prosperity Spell Bath for you to try. Remember: fertility doesn’t just mean baby-making. It could also mean birthing a new project, idea, or just conjuring the inspiration to work out more.
You could also do an abundance spell for the collective, asking that everyone has all the food, warmth, and love they need.
That’s it for these modern ways to honor this beautiful in-between season. Check back often and share with your friends so you can celebrate the wheel of the year together!