Beltane is a fire festival from the northern European traditions of Wicca and Paganism. Our ancestors who celebrated Beltane called is a fire festival for two reasons:
Beltane roughly translates to bright fire in the Celtic language.
In order to celebrate, a large bonfire was built and the magic and celebration of the holiday centered around it.
It is at this time that most of those countries could see their crops start to grow and pop up. At this festival, we as a community wanted to encourage growth and hardening and fertility of the crops and animals. They were our means of survival.
In this modern era, we’ve kind of lost touch with the seasons and their changes. Celebrating Beltane and many other holidays can feel weird.
When I can get pumpkins, apples, and mangos at any time, it can be kind of hard to reconnect to how our local nature and produce is really doing.
In Texas, we would consider this our first growing season. Halfway through summer, everything will die off in the blazing heat. But then another green growth season will happen shortly after August. (Talk about wonky when compared to Celtic festivals. )
However, there are themes of encouraging growth and life that we can celebrate at Beltane.
Traditions of Beltane
The classic tale of the God and Goddess has them getting married at Beltane. Honestly? May is one of the most popular months to get married in. (With September, October, and June next.)
If your location allows it, make a wildflower bouquet and set it upon the altar for the God and Goddess’s marriage day. Keeping in mind that some wildflowers are protected by law. (Looking at you bluebonnets)
If you are reading this earlier in the year, you can always grow your own wildflower bouquet. Just a couple of seeds, a large pot, and some soil should get you started.
Performing magic on holidays is not unheard of. In fact, I would argue that everything and every ritual should strive to feel magical.
At Beltane, a form of sympathetic magic is to “ride” your broomstick around. Similar to a hobby horse and leap into the air as high as you can.
This essentially shows the crops how high you want them to grow. Most importantly, you’ll want to put all your might into the run and leap. This is a great way to build energy for your plants.
It’s also a great way to wear your kids out too!
Jumping the fire after its burned out a bit is meant to bring fertility. The idea is that the fire would warm you up down south. Jumping the broom is said to do something similar.
The broom creates a threshold for you to cross over and by crossing this you were stepping or jumping into your new life and a new path with your beloved.
Ways of Celebrating Beltane with Kids
Make a Wish
Since Beltane is a fire festival, I like to involve candles since I can’t have a bonfire outside. One of the easiest things kids understand is making wishes. So we will either carve or annoint our wishes on the candle and then blow them out at the end.
Similar to blowing out the candles for your birthday, you can bake cupcakes and put a candle in it. Think of wish you may have for the coming season.
Maybe you want good weather for swimming. Perhaps you want your rosemary plant to do well. (That one is definitely me)
When you’re ready, blow the candle out and enjoy a cupcake!
Creating a silk flower crown can be a fun endeavor. You can spend time with your little one picking out lovely flowers.
You can either attach them to a headband with hot glue and have a flower crown all year round. They make great dress-up pieces and are also good for altar decorating.
Spin in Circles Dance.
Create your own dance by spinning in circles in the field. The idea of Beltane is whimsical fun and sunshine.
Any kind of movement that is heartfelt can build energy for your work and celebration of Beltane.
As stated above, running and jumping in order to show the crops how high you want them to grow is a form of sympathetic magic, or “like attracts like”.
You can easily create a contest of how high or even how far someone can jump.
Beltane Bath Ritual of Self-Love
Like all of my rituals, feel free to adapt any of this to your personal path or in any way that your intuition calls you.
Ingredients: Bath Mixture
1/2 Cup of Epsom Salt
1/4 of dried Rose Petals
2 Tbsp of Lavender buds
5 drops of Lavender Oil
5 drops of Vanilla Extract
3 drops of Rose Oil
Other Ritual Items
Pink or White Candles
Journal and pen
Any gemstones or crystals that exude love.
Combine all ingredients (except for the candle) together and mix really well. Toss into your bath water and stir clockwise really well.
As you are stirring, think and say an affirmation or intention of self-love over the water such as:
“I Choose to Feel Good and To Love Myself Today.”
Then, light your candles and arrange any crystals that you might want.
As you step into your bath, imagine yourself crossing a threshold. As you pass by any candles, imagine the light and fire cleansing you and preparing you for the hardy growth of Summer.
When you take your bath, cleanse yourself of any negativity. As you clean and scrub your skin show yourself with gratitude for what your body can do.
Too often it is easy to criticize ourselves when Beltane should be a time of thanks and of the celebration of life and growth.
Beltane usually has great weather for a ton of outdoor activities. Any of the above can be adapted for inside though.
I truly appreciate Beltane as a holiday because you can easily involve your kids and community.
Also, you can easily celebrate the magic of the fertility and growth and sunshine that is so prevalent in this holiday.