Falling between the spring equinox and summer solstice, the vibrant Celtic festival of Beltane celebrates fertility and rebirth. It marks a fruitful, nourishing new beginning and takes place when the Earth’s energies are at their strongest.
In anticipation of the budding trees, sprouting grasses and unfolding flowers, and the bounty and golden harvests of summer, Beltane is the opposite of autumn’s Samhain, which marks the shift into the cold, dark winter months and celebrates death. It takes place on May 1, although if you wish, keep an eye out for the first Hawthorn flowers – these traditionally herald the start of the festival – and pick the next pleasant evening from then on to celebrate it.
Green is heavily associated with Beltane. It represents nature, vitality, fertility and growth – but it’s also the colour of the heart chakra, healing and money. And of course, fertility isn’t only about procreation – our creativity, career, health, relationships and finances could all benefit from a zesty boost in abundance and potency.
The emergence of flowers – the reproductive system of plants – is of great importance to Beltane since the new blooms represent fertility, birth and growth. So, now’s the perfect time to harness the power of flowers – and a great way to do so is to use them to inject potency into your career.
Bach Flower Remedies are mixed from the essences of 38 blooms. Each remedy targets a different emotional and physical problem and aims to bring about self-healing. Mix the essences in water and drink, add them to your bath or apply them topically – see the bottle for guidance.
Cerato helps with life choices and decision making, giving us faith in our own judgement.
Clematis grounds those whose minds float to the future instead of existing in the present. This remedy draws us out from our inner world, allowing us to make practical changes to manifest our dreams.
Elm is for people who take on too much responsibility and are despondent and tired as a result. This essence gives us the confidence to know that we can cope.
Wild oat is a remedy for those who want to do something worthwhile and fulfilling with their life, but are not sure which occupation to choose – or, who feel that their current career isn’t in tune with their destiny.
If you are an artist, writer, dancer, singer, reporter, journalist or work in any other role that involves communication, call on Gabriel to help you to advance in your chosen field, and encourage you to act with passion and vitality to reach your goals. Doreen Virtue created the following invocation for Archangel Gabriel in her book Archangels & Ascended Masters: “Archangel Gabriel, I ask for your presence as I [describe the project]. Please open my creative channels so that I may be truly inspired. Help me open my mind so that I may give birth to unique ideas. And please help me to sustain the energy and motivation to follow through on this inspiration. Thank you, Gabriel.”
Cakes played an important role in Beltane customs. This Scottish ritual can be called upon for protection and to encourage abundance – but you need to get cooking, first!
The cake is baked in a round formed into nine knobs, each of which is dedicated to a deity, spirit or animal. Surrounding a fire, folks would gather together and pass the cake around the circle. Each person broke a piece off and threw it over their left shoulder into the fire and asked for protection, saying, for example:
“This I give to you fox, spare my chickens”. Today, we could say, “This I give to you economy, spare my career.”
- Pre-heat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/gas mark 4 and grease a round 9 x 13-inch baking tin.
- Take a saucepan and mix 12fl of milk with 3.5oz oats, 4oz butter and a pinch of sea salt. Heat slowly until the mixture thickens.
- Stir in 14oz brown sugar, 2 eggs and 1tsp vanilla essence.
- Add 7oz plain flour, 1tsp baking powder, 1tsp ground cinnamon, ¼ teaspoon ground ginger and ½ teaspoon ground cloves.
- Place the mixture in the tin and bake the cake for 30 minutes, or until a long toothpick or skewer comes out clean.
Bring a boost to your finances by using the ancient Chinese practice of feng shui. First, identify the southeast corner of your home or office as this area is associated with money. Then, place lots of lush, green plants in that spot, accompanied by a water feature – even a fish tank, if you wish! – or failing that, a picture of water. You should now have a corner filled with greens, browns and blues – keep it tidy and clean, and take care not to allow clutter to accumulate, since that will block the flow of energy.
Bonding at Beltane
Give your relationships a boost with these traditional Beltane customs:
- Roses are symbolic of deep, passionate and unending love, so present your soul mate, lover or one you care ardently about a bouquet of deep red blooms.
- If you live in a rural area, visit a well or small pond before the sun rises and walk around it three times clockwise, asking the spirits for healing – either for yourself or a loved one.
- Find a Hawthorn tree and weave or tie strips of coloured cloth through its branches while asking for help in achieving your wish. For example, if you want to improve your health or that of a family member or friend use blue cloth. Tie strips of green cloth for financial desires, and red for romantic dreams. Spend time connecting with the tree’s spirit before you begin, and while you tie, visualise your wish coming true. Thank the tree when you have completed your ritual.
The cup of love
There are two sweet drinks traditionally served at Beltane: honey mead, and May wine. You can make May wine at home; drink it with the one you love.
- Take one bottle of young, white wine – German works well. Find a jar or carafe and pour it in.
- Pick 12 springs of woodruff and place them in the wine, adding a 1tbs of sugar.
- Cover and allow it to sit for at least one hour but ideally overnight.
- Strain, add some halved strawberries and serve chilled.
- If you can’t find sweet woodruff in the wild, you can buy a pot online from crocus.co.uk.
For those who are single and looking for romance, you can perform a love spell harnessing the power of cosmic ordering to attract that special someone – this ritual could be done with a ground of friends. Gather red rose petals and pink writing paper. Think carefully about the physical, emotional and spiritual characteristics you want your lover to have and then write them down on the paper, visualising them as truths. Next, sprinkle the petals onto the paper and fold it up, and throw it into the bonfire while saying: “Power of fire, bring to me my heart’s desire. So mote it be.”
Host a Beltane party
Invite family and friends over for an early evening bonfire to strengthen and invigorate relationships. Serve May wine and honey mede and encourage everyone to dress in bright colours. And, decorate the table with flowers, flowers and more flowers! At the end of the night, each person should jump over the embers to manifest fertility and abundance in their lives – this is especially powerful for anyone getting married. Why not serve foods that act as aphrodisiacs? Try almonds, honey, chocolate, asparagus, figs, cherries and garlic.
- Garlic is traditionally placed around the home to ward off evil spirits. This pungent allium is also great for the heart and circulatory system and the immune system – it’s also thought to be an aphrodisiac.
- Some believe that eating lentils will bring good fortune. They help to lower cholesterol and are rich in dietary fibre – and since they go with most meats, vegetables and fish there’s no reason not to enjoy them regularly.
- Fish, highly nutritious and packed with healthy oils, have long been considered lucky – perhaps that’s because their scales look a little like coins.
Yoga for fertility
- The Baddha Konasana is an excellent posture for stretching the groin, opening the hips and stimulating the ovaries.
- Sit down, and then bring your heels together, opening your knees outward.
- Soften your breathing and inhale to fill the space between your pubic bone and belly button, where your womb sits, and then as you exhale, pull your belly in towards your lower back.
- Still holding your feet, press your knees into the floor with your elbows, elongating the spine, and stay there for three breaths.
The magical, beautiful, deeply sacred Hawthorn tree blooms at this time of year – Beltane traditionally begins when its shower of delightful, delicate white flowers blossom. The blooms represent fertility and sexuality; they were taken into the home as decoration and also adorned the top of the birch Maypole.
Create a Beltane alter
One of the most powerful ways to capture the fertility and abundance of Beltane is to create an alter in your home. Use red, white and green, the traditional colours of the festival, and adorn it with garlands of beautiful spring flowers and herbs gathered by your own hand.
The green represents abundance, growth and fertility; red, vitality and passion; and white symbolists purity and cleansing. Forage for the white hawthorn flower, clusters of red rowanberries, bunches of green elder leaves and birch twigs. If you go out in the early morning, you can wash your face and hands with dew so your beauty will flourish throughout the coming months.
Represent the elements by placing on your alter a feather to symbolise air, a candle for fire, a shell for water and a stone for earth. You could also add crystals – try green stones such as jade for abundance and protection, green tourmaline to heal the heart and malachite for business success.
Crystals for Beltane
Citrine: financial prosperity
Emerald: domestic matters, patience and positivity
Beryl: healing disputes
Sapphire: wisdom and balance
Carnelian: calmness and grounding
Black tourmaline: psychic protection
Rose quartz: unconditional love
Ruby: strengthen the root chakra and improve confidence
- Have a picnic in the forest. Dress in greens and bright colours, and make daisy chains and weave them into your hair.
- Go out in the evening and collect flowers with the one you love – hawthorn flowers, daffodils, elder leaves, roses, yellow cowslip, bluebells, daisies, ivy, marigolds, primroses and woodruff are all Beltane plants.
- Enjoy dairy foods, honey, sweets, strawberries and oats – you could bake oatcakes, eat vanilla ice cream, make candied petals or flowers, such as violets.
- Daffodils represent forgiveness and honesty. Present a bunch of daffodils to someone you wish to thank for their forthrightness, or to offer an olive branch and a token of forgiveness.
- Prepare a basket filled with May flowers and present it to an elderly friend or someone in need of love and care.
- Use an essential oil to anoint your candle or tools before you begin your spell or ritual, or burn it while you work. Frankincense, jasmine, rose, musk, ylang ylang, vanilla, lilac and sandalwood are all perfect choices – you could also burn their incense.
Wish box manifestation
Beltane is a perfect time for bringing hopes, dreams and aspirations to life; here is a truly beautiful charm to help manifest them.
You will need:
- A small shallow cardboard box, such as a shoebox, decorated if you wish with a triple moon, pentacle, heart or any symbol of your choice
- Rose petals
- Sunflower seeds and poppy seeds
- A piece of willow bark or piece of willow, and an acorn or oak leaf
- A charm that represents your wish (see below)
- Write your wish on a piece of paper while visualising it coming to life.
- Poke a few holes in the box lid to help your wish to grow and sprinkle some earth into it.
- Place in the box your paper wishes, wish symbol (see below), and seeds, bark and acorn. Cover with another layer of earth.
- Mix the rose petals with more seeds and scatter them on top.
- Cover with a final layer of earth and place the lid on, leaving enough of the rose petal/seed mixture to scatter on top of the box when you are planting it.
- After rainfall, dig a hole 2 inches deeper than your wish box and lower it into the earth while concentrating on your chosen wish, visualising it coming to fruition. Imagine your wish growing with the flowers reaching skyward. As you cover the box with earth say: “Dream that lies within the earth awaken now. Hope that sleeps awaken now. The stars await as so do I. Grow true, grow strong, toward the sky.”
Charms for your wish box:
- Love and marriage: gingerbread
- New job: copper coin
- Abundance: silver coin
- Hearth and home: thimble
- Health, healing and renewed strength: blue and green ribbon entwined
- Happiness and good luck: cinnamon stick
- Protection: key
By Debs from the Goddess and Green Man, goddessandgreenman.co.uk