Apr 28, 2010
Beltane , Maypole Dance , Bonfires and Fairy lore
Beltane is a pagan holiday traditionally falling ( and celebrated ) on 1st and 2nd of May.
The name Beltane came from old Bealtaine ( Irish name for the May ) and is merely an anglicized spelling of the same.
Even though we celebrate it on the first day of May it could be ( astronomically speaking, with some historical reference ) celebrated on 6th of May, or even like among them Scots between 11th and 15th ( due to change from Julian to Gregorian calendar )
Bealtaine is a cross-quarter day, marking the midpoint in the Sun's progress between the spring equinox and summer solstice. Since the Celtic year was based on both lunar and solar cycles, it is possible that the holiday was celebrated on the full moon nearest the midpoint between the spring equinox and the summer solstice. The astronomical date for this midpoint is closer to May 5 or May 7, but this can vary from year to year. Nowadays , some Celts celebrate this Holliday “on the Full Moon day when the Hawthorns are in bloom” or the day closest to it. This year ( 2010th , may ) Full Moon in Europe conventionally falls on 30th of April.
Like the festival of Samhain , opposite of Beltane, celebrated on October 31, Beltane was also the time when the Otherworld was seen as particularly close at hand, and traditionally on this day Fae are close to humans , walk among them , thus are easy to contact. That is why I shall discus s few tips on how to see, or contact them on this very day. Another popular Beltane custom suggeststs make, and send petitions and leave offerings to Spirits of the Well.
Some, well known rites and practices associated with this day include Maypole dance and Bonfires. So let’s proceed with a word or two on them here
Bonfires and Need Fires
On Beltane, Wicca practitioners , Covens and elders make large bonfires using branches of Blessed trees and ones used for purification , such as Oak , hazel* , Juniper* , and other.
This custom probably originates from practice of the Celtics , where the Druids or Farm-men would take the village cattle on some elevated hill , and then kindle what they called “Need fire” or a bonfire trough which the cattle would pass through to be cleansed of evil, hexes and all other ill-will. The term “need-fire” is even today sometimes used among Irish people , though to describe seemingly endless situation or problem.
Nowadays practitioners , usually skyclad dance around the fire and through it to cleanse themselves of personal negativity, bane and all ill and to attract the Good Fortune , health and of course , to socialize.
Wiccans that celebrate Beltane after Ostara and before Midsummer associate this day with fertility and union of the Lunar “goddess” and Forest “god”, and light bonfires as suggested.
Another Wiccan practice associated with this day, is similar to German May day practices. It is German originated practices to erect semi-permanent poles ( often for whole Year ) with symbols on top and threads ( usually of two colors ) attached to the top of the pole. The poll was decorated with flowers and the top with occult symbols such as Triangle , Pentacle , Rayed Sun and many others. The maypole dance has many variations but all include going around the pole ( dancing in a way ) usually men and women ( boy or girls in some parts of the world ) holding the threads ( often in two colors , male holding one color , female other ) and going around the pole.
So technically pairs of boys and girls (or men and women) stand alternately around the base of the pole, each holding the end of a ribbon. They weave in and around each other, boys going one way and girls going the other and the ribbons are woven together around the pole until the merry-makers meet at the base.
Maypole dance as we know it today is not that old practice really , is a relatively recent development of the tradition, probably derived from the picturesque, Italianate dances performed in mid-19th century theatricals, well according to some historians and anthropologist
The rite is preformed in one or other version almost all over the world, even in American Higschools .
The symbolism attributed to this ritual differs. Can be a fertility celebration of a kind where maypole is considered somewhat a phallic symbol , or it can be cosidered a representation of Yggdrasil symbolic axis connectin’ world of the living with underworld , Heavens and some other realms, or even Thor’s Oak according to some accounts on German Folklore .
Now I promised some Fae Lore , that is suitable to perform on this day, and here ( not to say I do not keep my promises :P ) :
Fae Offerings and Petition ritual
Make some simple cookies , maybe with Fairy sugar, and take those, along with some wine and honey into some clearance in deep woods, or some place in Nature that You know is not too often visited by people. Leave all the offerings ( cake You made , Wine , Honey , and maybe some flowers or even song written for Fairies ) there saying :
Beloved folk hidden in Night ,
I call upon You lovely sight
Accept this humble gifts of mine
So over my wishes Your light may shine
And If ( it's ) will Yours ( is ) to help my task
Help me get what I shall ask
State Your petition. Wish etc
Spell and potion to see Fairies
- Cowslip flowers 1-3 of them , roots can lack
- Poppy petals, as fresh as possible , some , 1/3 of a handful shall do
- Thyme in a good teaspoon
- Lavender in same amount, with a pinch of Mugwort too, and Rosemary branch
- Teaspoon of Honey or pinch oh Fairy sugar
Make an infusion/potion with ½ - 1l of boiling spring water, pouring it over the herbs. Bless, bottle and use to dress eyes, and to drink some to inspire Fairy sight. If You use Honey, You can use some that stood exposed to Full Moon's light.
The potion contains 7 ingredients since it is a number of Spirit .
After using the potion , make a ring of Hawthorn or Rowan branch and carry, looking through it for faeries.
If Your heart is without ill intention, and Your aims are right, do this and You shall see the Fairies!
Spell to Commune with Fairies , Fae dream charm
You will need
• some Poppy
• few Cowslips ( Primula veris )
• some Thyme
• Sachet material ( preferably purple)
• a small Amethyst or Fairy Cross crystal or a Sodalite
Sachet should preferably be indigo color . Hold it in Your hands and recite :
Tiny brothers and sisters of mine
I call upon Your lovely shine
Be You fare or be You near
In my dreams I welcome You here
And with this charm I hold in hands
Let me meet You in dream lands !
You may anoint the sachet with some rosemary or jasmine oi l and
place it under Your pillow and go to sleep and Fae will visit Your dream .
There , all these spells and potion were written by myself so If You are to use them elsewhere online, feel free but give credits such as by Shadowemail@example.com or Shadow or Shadows Magick Place
Happy Beltane and many Blessings