Tonight is the eve of powerful magic. In the morning, witches and pagans of all walks will wake and greet the dawn of a glorious spring morning. Gardens may be tended, planted or weeded, incense may be made and ground with care, and arms will be upraised towards the sun, feet planted barefoot on the warm green Earth.
When night falls, fires will be lit in many a backyard, vacant lot, beach or forest, dedicated couples may handfast (some of the more traditional among them may even be found jumping over the smaller fires), music will be played on hand held instruments, and feet will pound the Earth in grand and glorious celebration of the Horned God and the Goddess coming together to bless the Earth.
This is Beltane.
One of the most important festivals in the Wiccan wheel of the Year, Beltane is a fire festival, celebrated to mark the arrival of summer. In ancient times, two fires were kindled from nine sacred woods. The cattle would then be driven between the two fires to bless them during the upcoming year. Growth, progress, light and fertility are all important aspects of what Beltane represents. In the sacred fire, the last traces of winter are burned away and the Earth and her inhabitants ready themselves for the full bounty of summer.
Beltane is also thought of as an extremely auspicious and magical time. In Ireland, it is said that the Tuatha De Daanan first landed on the shores of Erin on Beltane night. This is also the time when the Horned God and the Goddess come together to bless the land and ensure a bountiful harvest and healthy offspring to both man and beast. Perhaps it comes as no surprise that Beltane is a traditionally seen as a very auspicious time for hand-fastings and for women who are attempting to conceive a child.
Beltane is one of the two nights (Samhain is the other) when the veils between the worlds are considered to be very thin. It is even said that Beltane is a ‘time without a time’- and when a night like this comes around, one can be sure that great and powerful magic will be visible everywhere. The Fairy Court is said to ride out on Beltane, with the Queen leading them all on a white horse. Sit underneath a tree and you might see her passing by or hear the bells that hang from her horse, but unless you desire a visit to the Otherworld, be sure to hide your face. This will ensure that she passes you by without notice. On the other hand, if a visit to the land of Fairy is what you desire, by all means watch the passing of the Court!
This holiday celebrates light, and the triumph of the sun over the bleak darkness of winter. It is a time for feasting, storytelling, flower gathering, May pole wrapping, drinking, and Maying (those who wander about on May-eve singing to welcome summer). Garland making, creating flower wreaths, and braiding ribbons together (or into one’s hair) are all traditional activities that can be easily incorporated into one’s Beltane celebration.
Try making this fiery incense on May morning and burning it on Beltane Eve in celebration this year!
*3 Parts Frankincense
*2 Parts Sandalwood
*1 Part Benzoin
*1 Part Cinnamon
*A few drops of Patchouli essential oil.
Mix together until well blended and burn the powder over self-igniting charcoal blocks. The incense can also be tossed into your Bel-Fire.
**To attract the attention of the Fair Folk, try adding a bit of thyme and a few dried rose petals to your bathwater.**