Beltane is the Celtic fire festival
…that sits between Ostara and the Summer Equinox.
It’s usually celebrated on May 1st, sometimes April 30th depending on the year.
Like most of the Celtic festivals, Beltane (also Bealtane and Beltaine) been adapted, adopted, and absorbed by both Christian stories AND local folk traditions all over Europe. This means not all rites are the same, but many do share threads. Celebrations range from raising before dawn to pick fresh flowers, to dancing around maypoles, to burning fires and feasting.
Beltane’s roots are said to have grown from the mythology of the Celtic Sun God Belenos.
This is the day when the young God enters manhood and falls for the beautiful maiden Goddess. They lie together. And as the force of Eros that is SO clearly moving through the natural world at this time moves through them, the Goddess becomes pregnant.
So Beltane is a Celtic fertility festival – a celebration of sex, of love, and the heady fires of passion!
All of nature is BLOOMING! The pollen-laden stamen reaching out for the caress of a bee, whilst vulva-esque flora are beckoning within…
Yet Beltane also shares an axis with Samhain – the festival of the dead, and the autumn portal into the underworld. And this potent liminality that both Beltane and Samhain share is an invitation to dance with the Spirits, the Fae, and the devas of the Earth.
The Fae weave a strong thread through the Shamanic Path I tread.
Ancestors of these ways are said to have worked with the Fae directly, learning their magic and their mysteries. And they’re not all delicate flower fairies or tiny winged creatures like in the Cicely Mary Barker books (who didn’t LOVE those books growing up!?) YES, some are that, but many are mistresses of shadow, sex, and magic.
I feel the Fae to be seductive, playful, and tempting. They want us to come to our edges. And they want us to see how far we can stretch them… The Fae are beings who can move through limitations of time and space, they cross the web of life like shifting shadows. There is a mischievousness I sense in the Fae, a dance that’s impossible to grasp, like a plume of smoke…
These Celtic cross-quarters – these fire festivals (Imbolc, Beltane, Lughnasadh, and Samhain) – remind me of that intangibility. That’s one of the reasons it’s so important to stop, to pause, and take a breath. Because then it’s far easier to gaze into the mystery, to see (and feel and sense) through the veil and touch the untouchable.
I don’t think it’s any coincidence that Beltane and Samhain are twins here – sitting facing each other like loops of the lemniscate on the wheel of the year. Both share the same liminality, but the access points through the veil are different.
Samhain drops us deep with focus and the dark.
Beltane lifts us up, with Eros, sex and pleasure (a sacred rite that the ancients knew was a way into the spiritual mysteries of nature, a reminder that the body is a sacred instrument).
So after reading this, do you want to commune with the Fae?
It’s mostly a matter of YOU, your intuitive trust, and your ability to perceive beyond the ordinary. Here are 5 ways in:
1. Get embodied
Consciously turn up the volume on your sensuality – not necessarily in a sexual way, but for your own pleasure. Feel. The presence of the Fae is subtle and tapping into small sensory changes will help attune you to their playful presence.
2. Leave the land Spirits an offering
- Some incense (smoke is a great bridge into the realm of the Fae),
- a posy of flowers
- a drop of honey
- a mandala of leaves…
The Fae love gifts (who doesn’t?!) You wouldn’t go into someone’s house expecting a good time, without bringing a gift, and it’s the same with nature… Nature is the ‘house’ of the Spirits. Offerings aren’t optional when you enter into the Spirit realm, they’re respect.
3. Dance in the shadows
Actual shadows – go into a forest glade and play in the dappled light.
4. Follow a bee
This is fun! And harder than you’d think. Bumble bees tend to be a little easier to follow as they’re bigger and a little slower. See how long and how far you can go.
5. Light a fire
Yep, it must be done – it’s Beltane! In the evening, sitting around a fire outside with friends, you’ll cast shadows all around you. Beckon in the Fae and they’ll come close.
Do you have Fae connections?
I would LOVE to hear your stories – will you leave me a comment below?
Beltane blessings, friends!