Thursday, April 30, 2009, is Beltane, a “cross-quarter” celebration on the Wheel of Life. Solstices and equinoxes are quarterly events; the cross-quarter events mark the midpoints between them. Beltane falls between the Vernal Equinox and the Summer Solstice. Another name for this festival is May Day. If it is more convenient for you to plan your celebration for Friday, May 1, that is also a good date. If at all possible, plan to celebrate outdoors.
Beltane is a fire festival, a fertility festival, a time to take action on the activities and projects you planned at your Vernal Equinox celebration. Decorations and activities at Beltane honor the union of God and Goddess; it is the last of the three spring fertility festivals of Imbolc/Candlemas and Ostara/Vernal Equinox. Braiding, plaiting, weaving in a May Pole dance all represent the union that will generate “a good harvest” in every sense of that phrase.
All colors are appropriate to wear and to use in your decorations. Any fire is appropriate, be it in the charcoal grill, as many candles on the table, or a bonfire in a field. It is good to add blessing, prosperity, fertility, and/or protection incense to your fire (or in a separate cauldron if you are lighting only candles). You and your guests should process or dance through the smoke, waving it towards each other. Include household pets in this blessing.
If you have a large group, select a man and woman to represent Robin Hood and Maid Marian. Crown them with wreaths of fresh (not artificial) greenery and/or braided ribbons. At Robin’s invocation, Maid Marian blesses all living beings that walk/dance through the smoke. Then, she and Robin Hood kiss, symbolizing the Blessed Union.
Feast on sweets of all kinds, dairy foods, all red fruits, green salads, all breads and cereals. Make toasts with red or pink wine punch. Be sure to recognize all household guardians, brownies, and garden sprites. Serve them small tidbits from the table and decorate a living tree or shrub with bells, wind chimes, and pretty ribbons. Keep in mind that red carnations will attract to your garden faeries who enjoy healing animals, clover is wildly attractive to faeries, rosemary protects the property from baneful faeries, and lobelia attracts winged faeries.
This is a joyful time. Ring bells, blow horns, make a Joyful Noise!