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Monday, April 30, 2012

Beltane

I had a lovely birthday, really--especially the part I spent at a Beltane celebration with a bunch of Binghamton area Pagans and my pal Ellen. It was cold out, but sunny, and fun was had by all.

Here is the traditional Maypole dance (being done by people wearing way more cloths than usual for this holiday, because it was cold).

Beltane is a holiday with very old roots, which is observed on May Day, the 1st of May (or sometimes May Eve). It is a fertility holiday which celebrates both the fertility of the land and of the spirits of those who live on it. The counterpart to Samhain, this day is also a time when the veils between the worlds grow thin...but instead of speaking to our ancestors, we frolic with the fairy people. And, of course, each other.

A fire festival, Beltane was also used as a time of cleansing, getting rid of the winter funk before moving into summer. People would light two Bel-fires (bonfires) and drive their flocks between then to let the smoke cleanse the animals of illness and negative energy. You can try doing the same thing with two candles, if you like! Other folks would jump the Beltane bonfire for luck and prosperity in the coming year. (If you're going to do so, make sure the fire is small and your garments not too flowy...)

Beltane is all about love, too. Yes, since it is a fertility festival, is has long been associated with the sexual/sensual joining of man and woman (or any variation thereof you prefer). In days gone by, a May Queen and May King were chosen to symbolize the fertility of the land...sometimes quite literally. But these days, I prefer to focus on the holiday as a time to celebrate love and abundance in all their positive forms.

So happy Beltane, and be sure to give the people you love a hug!

Blows kisses to you all!

8 comments:

  1. Happy Beltane to you as well. The celebration looks lovely. All I will be doing is having dinner with my family, nothing special, and lighting all the candles in the house. All followed by a prayer to the Gods when I am alone in the late eve.
    Deborah C.

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  2. We always danced the Maypole when I was in elementary school (in Australia) and absolutely loved it. I really did not know it was a fertility dance. : )

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  3. That maypole must have been beautiful when the dance finished.

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  4. Deborah C--happy Beltane to you and yours!

    Robena--what did you think all that intertwining was about? :-)

    Judy-- Welllll....yes and no. As always, it was a bit lopsided. But still lovely.

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  5. Before Stephen and I hooked up, I had a dream about him at Beltane: we had danced around the Maypole and then found a comfy nook between giant tree roots to curl up in together. In my dream he was quite the gentleman for the rest of the night, and I woke up quite insulted. Falling asleep together, when that's ALL you've done together, simply isn't the proper way to celebrate Beltane ;-)

    Happy Beltane to everybody!

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    1. Heh heh. So what happened on your first real Beltane together...? Never mind--don't tell me!

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  6. nicole alexanderMay 1, 2012 at 5:40 PM

    I enjoy a Beltane with a group this year. You maypole looks bigger than ours was.

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    1. As any guy will tell you at Beltane, Nicole, size doesn't matter :-)

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