XV - Sabbats: Beltane

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Pronounced BEL-tayne, Beltane is one of the eight Sabbats. Beltane is in the beginning of May, and it's related to "May Day", a holiday some countries celebrate.

Beltane
- Other names: Beltaine, Bealtaine, May Day.

- Date: May 1st (Northern Hemisphere), October 31st (Southern Hemisphere).

- Some consider Beltane the beginning of Summer, but for some Summer begins later on Litha.

- On Beltane the Goddess and the God celebrate a sacred marriage. The Goddess becomes pregnant and on Yule she will give birth. Beltane is a popular time for pagan weddings ("Handfastings") because of the lore associated with Beltane.

- On Beltane bonfires are lit to honor the Sun. People often "jump the fire", i.e. jump over the bonfire, to purify, cleanse, and to bring fertility. Couples may jump the fire together to pledge themselves to each other. A similar tradition – jumping the broomstick – is also common. A couple jumps over a broom laid on the floor, the broom symbolizing a threshold: moving from an old life to a new one.

- Along with Samhain, Beltane is believed to be a highly magical Sabbat – even more so than the other six. On both Beltane and Samhain, divination is a common practice and is believed to work better than on other days. This is because the veil between our world and the spirit realm is thin, so witches can "peek" behind the veil to see the future. You might also experience strange things or see spirits or other magical beings.

- Symbolism and meaning: abundance, fertility, growth, joy, love, passion, sensuality, sexuality, vitality.

- Colors: brown, green, pink, red, silver, white.

- Symbols: all flowers, baskets, birch tree, bonfires, brooms, butterflies, daisies, daisy chains, eggs, hawthorn, Maypole, mirrors, plants, ploughs, ribbons, roses, rowan tree.

- Stones: amber, aventurine, bloodstone, clear quartz, emerald, malachite, orange carnelian, red jasper, rose quartz, sapphire.

- Incense: cedar, frankincense, jasmine, lilac, meadowsweet, musk, neroli, peach, rose, sandalwood, vanilla, woodruff, ylang ylang.

- Herbs: almond, birch, clover, dittany of Crete, elder, foxglove, hawthorn, ivy, lily-of-the-valley, marigold, meadowsweet, mint, mugwort, rose, rowan, sorrel, thyme, woodruff, yarrow.

- Foods & drinks: berries, bread, cakes, cereal, cookies, dairy products, honey, mead, oat foods, sweets, wine.

- Spells recommended for Beltane: beauty, divination, fertility, healing, love, safety, wishes.

- Animals associated with Beltane: cat, dove, faeries, goat, honey bee, leopard, lynx, rabbit, swallow, swan.

Beltane activities and ways to celebrate:
• Gather dew or spring/stream water to wash your face or bathe in for beauty, or drink for health.

• Go out in nature and make flower crowns or braid some into your hair. Collect flowers to decorate your house and altar. You can also gather branches of hawthorn, rowan, and birch for decor, but remember to ask permission from the tree before you take anything and maybe leave a little gift in exchange. This can be a crystal, food, or just pour some water on its roots.

• Start a new project that you've had in your mind for a while.

• Jump the fire. If you make a real bonfire, remember fire safety. You can also make a simple indoors one: gather some stones or crystals, and put them in a small circle on the floor. Place sticks in the center, in the shape of a cone, as if you were making a bonfire. Put small Christmas lights on top of the sticks. Turn them on, and you have a tiny bonfire that you can jump!

• Dance around the Maypole if there's such celebration in your community. If not, you can make a tiny one for decoration, or weave together colorful ribbons as an alternative.

• Hold a food drive and make food baskets. Bless them by chanting:
"Fire of Sky and Fire of Sun,
End all hunger – be it done."
Take the baskets to those less fortunate than you. Deliver them to homeless shelters or to people living on the streets. You can also contact local Church personnel for lists of families needing food.**

Sources:
"Beltane", site: wicca.com

"Beltane", site: goddessandgreenman.co.uk

"Beltane Correspondences", site: witchery.wordpress.com

"Symbols of Beltane", author: ladyoftheabyss, site: witchesofthecraft.com

**"Beltane, May Day, Activities, Lore", author: Raven and Crone, site: ravenandcrone.com

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