Beltane (from the Gaelic word meaning 'Bright Fire') is a fixed date festival, celebrated on the evening of the 30th April to 1st May in the Northern Hemisphere, or the evening of the 31st October to 1st November in the Southern Hemisphere (though some celebrate on its astronomical date, 4th May) - we are at the mid-point between Spring Equinox and Summer Solstice.
The days are noticeably longer and the energies have shifted, as has the landscape. The Earth has been reborn. The veil has thinned once again, and the fairies and spirits have woven themselves into our lives and lands.
It is the time where we come together to rejoice the return to the lighter half of the year and to celebrate the fertility of the land and our May Queen or the Triple Goddess - who is shifting from Maiden to Mother.
Many burn ceremonial fires or decorate Maybushes (traditionally Hawthorn) to celebrate this time, adding ribbons laced with wishes and intentions and setting them to blow in the wind - casting the wishes out into the universe and offering them to the fae.
Bannock cakes are cooked and eaten to guarantee an abundance of crops and bring good fortune, as the Gaelic Celts often had livestock and crops.
Ideas to celebrate Beltane:
* Burn a green candle, hold a ceremonial fire to protect the lands, or burn a selection of the nine woods of Beltane (see below)
* Bake a traditional Bannock (or try the three ingredient oat cookie recipe further down)
* Decorate a Maybush or gather some branches and create a May-posy - use flowers and ribbons and set your wishes and intentions
* Leave out gifts for the Aossi (fairies) - be sure to leave biodegradable and wildlife safe offerings
* Create a Goddess wreath or flower crown (we have gathered some herbs we will utilise in the kitchen after they are finished being used as decorations, and woven a wreath using many of the nine sacred Beltane woods)
* Take some time to check in with your spirits - meditation or whatever feels right
The Nine Woods of Beltane:
Hazel - Wisdom (masculine, ruled by the Sun, Air element)
Holly - Peace (masculine, ruled by Mars, Fire element)
Oak - Endurance (masculine, ruled by the Sun, Fire element)
Rowan - Power (masculine, ruled by the Sun, Fire element)
Willow - Intuition (feminine, ruled by the Moon, Water element)
Ash - Prosperity (masculine, ruled by the Sun, Fire element)
Alder - Protection (feminine, ruled by Venus, Water element)
Birch - Renewal (feminine, ruled by Venus, Water element)
Hawthorn - Magick (masculine, ruled by Mars, Fire element)
Goddess Crieddylad (The May Queen)
The Eternal May Queen, Crieddylad (Cree-thil-ahd), returns each year to watch her lover and her abductor battle for her hand in marriage.
She is the Welsh Goddess of flowers and love (often compared to the Greek Goddess, Persephone) and is represented by Ivy - the power of life.
She comes to remind us that only by loving our true selves, can we be loved by and love others, and that balance and stability are achievable and important aspects of our lives.
A Macrame Interpretation:
Created using Willow energy (one of the nine woods of Beltane), she is held in a triangular shape to represent the love triangle in which she is eternally suspended. Flowing from underneath the flowers, these plaits and cotton represent the ribbons used in Maybush decoration and the leaf detail is a nod to Ivy and it's importance to Crieddylad.
Being the Goddess of Flowers, it seemed only fitting for her to be the first Macrame piece in which I have incorporated them. One holds Carnelian, a stone associated with fertility and the other holds Green Flourite - bringing harmony and balance and a spring like freshness to the chakras.
For requests or recreations, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Grab yourself a pen and paper, find a quiet space and get ready for some gentle reflection and manifestation.
Don't overthink it, take a few breaths and allow the words to flow onto the paper.
There is no right or wrong here.
- What is bringing you great joy in your life? Write out a list of three thing per day for however long feels right (doing this regularly can really help to create a positive mindset)
- Where can you find peace? Is it a place? A person? Something else?
- If you were to listen, what message would the spirits have for you?
- How can i acknowledge and honour the fertile energies?
- Are you connected to your own sexual energies? How can you harness and embrace these?
- Write a list of what 'self care' and 'self love' mean to you, and ways in which you can build on this for yourself.
Crieddylad wants to remind you that balance and peace can be found, joy is out there.
You deserve it.
You are (more than) enough.
But always remember...
To love others, you must first love yourself.
Three Ingredient Oat Cookes:
150g Rolled Oats
2 Tablespoons Raisins
1- Using a blender or mortar and pestle, grind the oats a little to break them up slightly.
2- Peel and mash the bananas
3- Combine all ingredients
4- Spoon into approximately 12 cookie shapes on a greased baking tray
5- Bake for 12-18 minutes at 180 degrees centigrade (less for chewy, more for crunchy)
-Photos, words and macrame by Hayleigh Walker of Lyra&Atlas. All rights reserved.
-Creiddylad, Welsh Goddess of Flowers and Love, Judith Shaw, https://feminismandreligion.com/2013/04/28/creiddylad-welsh-goddess-of-flowers-and-love/
-What is Beltane?, Erin Bruce, theseasonalsoul.com
- Cunninghams Encyclopedia of Magickal Herbs, (2nd ed, 2018), Scott Cunningham, Llewellyn Publications.
- Wicca - a modern guide to witchcraft and magick, (2018), Harmony Nice, Orion Books.