Text Box: Whispering Lake Grove, ADF
Erie, PA
Text Box: Ritual & Liturgy

Beltaine

 

Of the Irish Celtic fire festivals Beltaine is perhaps the most widely celebrated, though often today disguised as May Day. In more recent times, Beltaine has been celebrated beginning on the eve of May 1st, but like many of the other Celtic high days was probably originally celebrated as the crops, trees and plants were coming into full bloom and greenery.

 

Like Samhain, Beltaine is a magical time when the veil between this world and the Otherworld becomes thin, allowing for easy passage and communication between the world of the living and that of the spirit. Beltaine is a celebration of fertility, new growth and prosperity. It is a time of hope, joy, life and love.

 

For the Celts, Beltaine marked the coming of Summer and the lengthening of day light hours, as well as, the time when livestock would be returned to their summer pastures. Warriors went off to battle. Farmers planted and tended their fields and fishermen went to sea.

 

Beltaine, though a time of fertility, was also a time of birth. Human babies conceived at Lughnassadh were born at this time, as were the young of livestock and other animals. Unlike the activities of the winter months of game playing and storytelling, Summer was a time of work in preparation for survival of the winter that inevitably lay ahead. Sacrifices were offered at this time to ensure that crops and livestock would not be destroyed and thus reach maturity.

 

Beltaine was the season when young men were given weapons, new weapons were named and dedicated, as well as, oaths on weapons sworn. Hiring fairs were also a regular event. Landlords and farmers would hire hands for the summer months from these fairs. It was traditional in Ireland during Beltaine that two large bonfires be kindled from nine sacred woods at Tara each year and all other fires to be extinguished. It was said that from the great fire at Tara all others were lit. It was customary to drive cattle between these two fires as an act of purification and protection before returning them to summer pastures. Commoners would also leap the fires for self-purification.

 

 

 

 

Rituals

 

           Beltaine Ritual 2004

           Beltaine Ritual 2005

           Beltaine Solitary Ritual 2005

           Beltaine Ritual 2006

           Beltaine Ritual 2007

           Beltaine Solitary Ritual 2007

           Beltaine Ritual 2008

           Beltaine Ritual 2009

           Brushwood Beltaine 2009

           Beltaine Ritual 2010

           Beltaine Ritual 2011

Dancing the Maypole at Beltaine

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