Participants decorated their homes with flowers and plants such as primrose, rowan, hawthorn, hazel, and marsh marigolds to increase fertility and good fortune.
Beltane was also a time in which the aos si the Irish name for elementals like fairies and spirits were most active in the mortal realm. People would leave milk on their doorsteps or at the base of trees as an offering to the fairies. With its heavy focus on costumes and witchcraft, Walpurgisnacht was almost like an old world incarnation of what we now call Halloween. The witches were said to fly around the mountain as the humans harkened the beginning of spring, dancing around bonfires to increase the chances of fertility.
This pagan tradition shifted somewhat with the arrival of Christianity: Hexennacht became Walpurgisnacht, and Walpurgisnacht became a holiday to honor the English Saint Walpurga , who is credited for driving witches out of Germany. Rather than associating the bonfire with spring and fertility, the bonfire was suddenly said to drive out witches. People began to dance around the bonfire in costume, banging pots and pans to scare away spirits.
Introduction to Beltane
Some hung foliage from their homes meant to protect themselves. The history of Walpurgisnacht is the ultimate example of a pagan holiday turned on its head to uphold Christianity. So this May Day, welcome spring with both hope for the future and a backward glance. And good luck keeping your clothes on!
Art by Evie Shaffer. In Dublin and Belfast , May Bushes were brought into town from the countryside and decorated by the whole neighbourhood.
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This led to the May Bush being outlawed in Victorian times. Frazer believes that such customs are a relic of tree worship and writes: Holy wells were often visited at Beltane, and at the other Gaelic festivals of Imbolc and Lughnasadh. Visitors to holy wells would pray for health while walking sunwise moving from east to west around the well.
Spheres Of Light
They would then leave offerings; typically coins or clooties see clootie well. We celebrate sexuality something we see as holy and intrinsic to us as holy beings , we celebrate life and the unity which fosters it. The myths of Beltane state that the young God has blossomed into manhood, and the Goddess takes him on as her lover. Together, they learn the secrets of the sexual and the sensual, and through their union, all life begins.
Beltane is the season of maturing life and deep found love. This is the time of vows, handfastings and commitment.
The Lord and his Lady, having reached maturity, come together in Perfect Love and Perfect Trust to celebrate the joy of their union. This is a time to celebrate the coming together of the masculine and feminine creative energies. Beltane marks the emergence of the young God into manhood. Stirred by the energies at work in nature, he desired the Goddess. They fall in love, lie among the grasses and blossoms and unite. The flowers and greenery symbolise the Goddess and the Maypole represents the God.
Beltane & May Day
Beltane marks the return of vitality and passion of summer. Another common focal point of the Beltane rituals is the cauldron, which represents the Goddess. The Welsh goddess Creiddylad is connected with Beltane, often called the May Queen, she was a Goddess of summer flowers and love. May Day has long been marked with feasts and rituals.
May poles, supremely phallic symbols, were the focal point of old English village rituals. Many people arose at dawn to gather flowers and green branches from the fields and gardens, using them to decorate the village Maypoles. The May Queen and often King is chosen from among the young people, and they go singing from door to door throughout the town carrying flowers or the May tree, soliciting donations for merrymaking in return for the "blessing of May".
This is symbolic of bestowing and sharing of the new creative power that is stirring in the world.
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Jumping over the Beltane Fire, moving through it, or dancing clockwise around it was believed to bring good fortune. Livestock was driven through it or between two fires for purification and fertility blessings. In ancient times Druid priests kindled it at sacred places; later times, Christian priests kindled it in fields near the church after performing a Christian church service. Rowan twigs were carried around the fire three times, then hung over hearths to bless homes. Getting head and hair wet in Beltane rain to bless the head. Blessing springs, ponds, other sacred waters with flowers, garlands, ribbons, other offerings.
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Collecting sacred waters and scrying in sacred springs, wells, ponds, other waters The Art of Scrying There are specific times of the year when it is believed to be easier to gain information from the spirit realm. Most common is the use of a crystal ball or a scrying mirror. Scrying mirrors are concave opaque pieces of glass. They are very beautiful. However, you can gaze on just about any reflective surface; a bowl or pond of water, a piece of metal, a mirror, etc.
You can also scry into smoke, flames, clouds, etc. The purpose of scrying is to gain information. Some people believe this information is given clairvoyantly or psychically.
Others believe the scrying technique simply clears the mind so information from the Universe or the Source can flow more freely. Such a fire was deemed sacred. The people themselves would do likewise. A Case for Astrological Timing of the Sabbats According to one theory, they were meant to mimic the Sun and to "ensure a needful supply of sunshine for men, animals, and plants".
The slices would then be put in a bonnet and everyone would take one out while blindfolded.