The Magic of Beltane

May 1, 2018

Beltane Altar at the Goddess Temple Glastonbury, England
The Ancient Celtic Pagan Festivall!

By: Donna Virgilio

What is Beltane? Beltane is the Celtic pagan holiday celebrated at the midpoint between the Spring Equinox and the Summer Solstice. This is the season of the lover.  Fire and passion explodes into ecstasy. The Goddess chooses her consort and they make fervent love.  The sacred fires are lit, and we dance, sing, wrap the Maypole and jump the cauldron of the Beltane fire.

Time to re-light the fires of love and passion!

In the Northern Hemisphere, Beltane is usually celebrated on or around May 1st. Beltane is a fire festival that falls between the spring equinox and the summer solstice. In the Northern Hemisphere, the astronomically correct midpoint between these two festivals is when the sun moves 15 degrees into Taurus.  In the Southern Hemisphere, down under, they celebrate this season when the sun is 15 degrees of Scorpio.

The Goddesses of the Season are Rhiannon, and in the United States we celebrate the Goddess Pele of the Big Island of Hawaii!

The Colors of the Season: Red, White, and Green!

The Celtic Festival of Beltane marks the time when the livestock were moved into the summer pastures and the Hawthorn trees began to blossom.  Druids tended to follow the stars, to mark this day.  Beltane is the time of vitality, strength, and growth.

A May Day Queen and King is chosen to preside over the festivities. She traditionally wears a white gown to represent her purity and she is crowned with a circlet of flowers.  She represents fertility, beauty, and maidenhood.  The May King accompanies her, as they are a symbol of fertility, companionship, love, sexuality and sensuality.

Symbols of the season include: the maypole, may baskets, cauldron or bonfire, the White Mare, flowers.

The fire was set ablaze upon the hillside by the ancient Celts.  Cattle were led between the flames to protect them from disease.  Household fires were extinguished at Beltane and relit from community bonfires.

Beltane fires were believed to hold great magical properties. All components of the fires were considered magical, from the ashes, coals, even the smoke could be used for magical purposes

The modern tradition of jumping the Beltane fire with someone you love will bring good luck and love for a lifetime.

Wrapping the Maypole is a symbol of fertility.  The maypole is a phallic symbol inserted into the Goddess of the Earth.  Intercourse and union between the masculine and the feminine, earth and sky.  The poles are decorated with ribbons.  While dancing, drumming, laughing, chanting, and music commence, individuals weave, braid, and dance round the pole until the pole is entirely wrapped in a rainbow of colors.  Held tight are the communities’ prayers to the Goddess for fertility, abundance, happiness and the ripening of the land.

The Goddess Rhiannon, is our lady on the White Horse.  She is the Queen of Wales!  The True Goddess of love.  She is lover, enchantress, mistress of magic.  Manifesting her dreams of love into reality.

We see her with her white mare riding along the sea or upon the waves, surrounded by magical birds.  She is the fairy queen who rides her mare between the worlds. She is completely free and unattainable.

We fuse our U.S. Goddess Pele, and celebrate Lei day!  Goddess Pele is the fire Goddess of the Big Island of Hawaii.  She is the hot steamy breath of the Volcano Kilauea.  She is the protector of the island.  She is unpredictable and impulsive; a destroyer and creator.  With every explosion she creates more land.  The Big Island becomes larger size each year.

May Day is Lei Day in Hawaii and has been celebrated since 1927.  Each island has it’s own special flower.  The importance of the lei to the Hawaiian cultures is that is represents the unspoken expression of aloha.  Aloha can mean farewell, greeting, love, hope or joy.  The idea is that although flowers can only last a little while, the thought lasts forever.  Giving someone a lei is a sign of affection.

To celebrate Beltane, create your own altar with flowers, candles, honey, wine, and herbs of the season.  Recite prayers and invocations to the Goddess and infuse your altar with prayers of love for the future.





Donna on the Big Island of Hawaii. 2009


Donna at Beltane in Glastonbury, England. 2015

Happy Beltane!