At the end of April, we are reaching the seasonal cross-quarter between Spring Equinox and Summer Solstice to celebrate Beltane here in the northern hemisphere.
Beltane is one of the most important festivals of the Celtic wheel of the year and marks the beginning of the ‚‘summer half of the year’, the unfolding of life (while Samhain, which lies opposite Beltane, marks the winter half and thus the beginning of darkness and retreat). This celebration is primarily dedicated to fertility, the boundless growth and free unfolding of nature, sensuality, passion, and the pure joy for life.
In the traditional pagan calculation, Beltane falls on either the 5th Full Moon after Yule or the 2nd Full Moon after Ostara as it is a Moon celebration. So there’s no specific date following our Gregorian calendar (like for example Summer Solstice). In 2021 the Beltane portal opened on the Full Moon on April 27 and will close again around May 5, the Solar Beltane, when the Sun reaches 15 degrees Taurus. Many ancient Celtic traditions began their celebration of Beltane as a full moon festivity, known as Lunar Beltane. Celebrations often lasted over two weeks until the next New Moon. The word Beltane means ‘bright fire’ or ‘lucky fire’ and traditionally bonfires were lit to honor the Sun. Beltane represents the peak of Spring and the beginning of Summer. Earth energies are at their strongest and most active. All of life is bursting with potent richness and potential turns into conception. We gather to celebrate the union of the divine masculine and feminine that creates fertility and abundance. Our inner sacred union, the divine dance. The veils between the worlds are especially translucent these days and we can sense the magic of fertility and creative expression in the air and within ourselves.
At this moment in the wheel of the year, we are invited to celebrate the power of the sun and the vigorous fertility of the earth and ourselves. To celebrate the fullness of life and the gifts we receive each day from Pachamama, our Mother Earth, that nourish and sustain us. We express deep gratitude for Pachamama, for all abundance that surrounds us.
May our thanksgiving activate the field of plenty on this magical portal of Beltane!
~ Good to know ~
Beltane and Walpurgis are not the same celebration. Even if it is often so represented and told today. Walpurgis is the celebration day of the canonization of St. Walpurga, who was a Christian noblewoman and abbess. She died in 779 and was canonized on May 1. She was called as an ‚emergency helper’, and was also, marking the crucial point, the patron saint of the witch-hunters. The church bells ring in the night to May 1 applies to the defense of the witch turnings and is still today called Walpern. So, Walpurgis is not originally the celebration of the witches, but the contrary. When we speak about the great dances and gatherings of the witches, we mean the witches’ Sabbath, which is related to the celebrations on the Brocken, or Blocksberg.
Text by Lena Brandt
Picture Credits: Rodolfo Sanches & Alisa Anton