Northern Hemisphere Beltane
The traditional date for the Northern Hemispheric Beltane Eve is April 30th and 'May Day' is May 1st, this year astrologically it May 4th/5th. The climax of Spring! The reason these dates are different is the first is the traditional day, the day decided long ago by our ancestors and the second date is the actual time when the Earth and Sun line up to create the moment within such sundials as Stone Henge, and its different because the earth and the sun and everything else in our galaxy hasn’t moved in a consistently predictable way. Surprise, surprise!
The moon on May 1st is in the Gibbous phase and that brings feelings of increased and increasing creativity, and a building in intensity and excitement, headed toward the full, peak energy of the full moon. The moon on May 5/6 is the day after the full moon and this brings feelings of peak energy with an urgency to share the creative process with others. The lunar energy and the earth season energy for the northern hemisphere are in alignment and combine to perhaps bring a 'turbo' charged experience of intensity and building creativity and a desire to be out and about in the world.
Beltane is the peak of Spring, a celebration of fertility. In ancient times it was the Beltane Rites that reconnected each year the King to the Goddess, the masculine to the feminine. It is a time for us to give thanks for our fertile lives, our creativity and our gender specific gifts and roles. Its a time to notice and honour the difference in the masculine and feminine. It is a time of increasing growth, building to almost full potential, of beauty and heightened passion.
The energy of Beltane, the peak of Spring, is so evident in our garden. Nature in her flowering form is so beautiful, so seductive, alluring, and juicy! being as attractive as possible to the birds and the bees to ensure pollination!
The new growth of earlier Spring has well and truly taken hold, and now if the conditions support it, this growth will go to full bloom and then onto fruiting in the autumn. And of course, this being the wisdom of the cycles, it holds great teachings for us. The equivalent time in a woman’s and man’s life to Beltane energy is 25 years old or so, the time in our lives when we peak in our youthful allure before we shift into the next phase of our lives.
We talk a lot about the Beltane equivalent life phase in my Moonsong workshops, its our modern cultures favourite version of the feminine and the aspect that our culture holds up as the judge for all else. Preteens are encouraged to grow up fast (with bras and provocative clothing available in most shops for this age group) and older women are encouraged to look as youthful as possible (with plastic surgery and botox injections being one of the fastest growing industries)!
Our culture often encourages us to rush through things, however if we do that we may miss the moment, and Beltane is one of those moments not to miss!
Spring Spiritual Practice
Your being, as part of the Earth, part of the cycle of the seasons, will be influenced by this energy whether you’re paying attention to it or not. If you pay some attention, you will feel it, and you can be in flow with it. Think like the gardener, and align with the Earth energy of now, contemplate the growth that is peaking in your life, that is getting all the attention…if conditions support its final growth phase, this is what will eventually fruit.
So, how can you best nurture what is blossoming in your life now so that it will bear fruit?
What do you know you must do? And if you are not doing it, why aren’t you?
Where is your desire leading you?
Sit in Nature, amongst the very essence of this, and ask this and the next questions that arise for you. Move, sing and flitter around as you feel too, answers come in all sorts of ways….Be sure to journal what comes.
Suggested Ceremony for Beltane
Our community gathers at Beltane to honour and celebrate the rites of passage of our young folk as they grow from children to fertile young adults and to express ceremonially the specific and very different roles of the masculine and the feminine. It’s a joyous time, much looked forward to. We camp for the weekend, sitting on the Earth. We live as a community together, all helping each other. We have separate women’s and men’s circles to conduct the rites of passage for the teenagers and then reunite as the sun sets dancing around a big fire, welcoming the new young adults back to the group in their new roles and status.
The next day, ‘May Day’, we have a May Pole ceremony. The May Pole is a beautiful ceremony for young and old and has deeper levels of significance the more you lend yourself to the symbology of all that it represents. For the children it is a fun and playful game with their parents, dancing and singing, for the adults it is a re-enactment of the union of the masculine and the feminine and a chance to weave magic and love into that aspect of yourself within and without.
Here’s a suggestion for a simple ceremony to honour the Beltane energy with your family or by yourself.
Do what you do to make sacred space, call for protection, guidance and support and focus. Go around the circle and each person can give thanks for all that is growing in their life, if you are alone, take your time and really feel this giving thanks process. Choose one or two or three, you’ll know how many, specific things that are growing that you would like to focus on. You could put something on your altar that represents this/these and light a candle for it/them. Ask those there with you if they would be willing to support you in seeing this particular thing come to its fullness, and you could ask them for specific help if appropriate. If you are doing this with your children it would probably be a good time to offer suggestions to them for what could help them.
And it is said that at Beltane, the veils between the worlds are thin and so you can see the fairies, so be sure to look out for them!