Thursday, 15 April 2010

My Beltane Rituals Article

I've written an article on some simple Beltane rituals and traditions and thought I may as well post it here too! Hope you enjoy it :)

For witches, Wiccans and Pagans alike, the important festive time of Beltane is approaching! Here are some traditional Beltane rituals you might like to try for this special day. 

  • Maypole dancing - more associated with May Day for most people but a Beltane ritual all the same! The maypole is a large staff of about 20 feet placed in the ground with long ribbons attached. The merry-makers would then dance with a ribbon in their hand, men going in one direction and women in the other. As they wove in and out of one another the ribbons would cover the pole in an intricate pattern. It’s a ritual related to fertility (which originates from the Germanic tradition) and in the UK it is also associated with Morris dancers, who’s dancing is also associated with fertility rites. 

  • You can also use your own representation of the may pole such as a branch (fallen not cut) from an Oak or Hazel tree. 

  • Washing your face in morning dew - tradition has it that it keeps you beautiful all year. So get up early!

  • Bonfire or fire of some kind - Beltane is to many a fire festival and one version of the origin of the name is ‘bale fires’ which is due to some of the agricultural work at that time of year. It is also connected to the Celtic God Bel, who was honoured on this day. It is part of many Wiccan practices to jump over a small bonfire or a candle flame. Don’t catch on fire though!

  • Flowers, particularly hawthorn - baskets of flowers were made to make the most of the colourful array of nature’s gifts. So as part of your Beltane ritual, make a basket of flowers to give away as a gift. 

  • A chalice for fertility - this symbolises the womb. You can also include a dagger for male symbolism. Dip the dagger into the chalice as part of your Beltane ritual or altar work. 

  • Colours  - white, dark green, red are used to symbolise both the fertility rites and also, because of the return of the sun to the earth, both spring and summer seasons are associated. 

  • Red and white ribbons to braided around a wand to place on your altar. 

  • Lastly, binding is also symbolically very important as this is a time for marriage. You can also use your Beltane ritual to bind your desires to you but bear in mind you will be stuck with them so choose wisely! 

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