In some Wiccan traditions, people choose to honor the God and Goddess, rather than focusing on the harvest aspect of the holiday. If this is something you’d like to do, this ritual welcomes the Goddess in her persona as Crone, and the Horned God of the autumn hunt.
Deity of the Day
The Greek Goddess of Youth
Areas of Influence: Hebe was the Goddess of youth, she personified the beautiful maiden and everlasting life.
Her name means “youth” or “prime of life.”
She was the cup bearer who served nectar to the Olympian Gods to give them immortality.
This Deity was one of Hera’s handmaidens, her job was to prepare the royal chariot.
As a servant she also prepared Are’s bath for him after a battle.
In one myth she granted a man named Iolaus his youth back for one day so he could fight his enemy Eurystheus.
There is controversy over whether Ganymede took over her position as the cup bearer or whether in fact he just represented her male counterpart.
She was one of Aphrodite’s Bridal attendants and is said to be one of three Greek Goddesses associated with marriage.
Hebe was also the Goddess of forgiveness, granting pardons to prisoners.
Origins and Genealogy: the Goddess of youth was Zeus and Hera’s youngest daughter. Her siblings were Ares and Eileithyia.
This Deity married the Hero Hercules who was made into a demi God, together they had two children Alexiares and Anicetus.
Weaknesses: She has less charisma than many of the Greek Goddesses, relying on her gifts to get attention.She was also said to be clumsy.
Temples: Her most famous places of worship were an altar at Cynosarges in Athens and the sacred cypess grove on the Phliasian citadel.
Shown in art either topless or in a sleeveless dress to accentuate her youthful features.
Her ankles were often mentioned , they were described as nicely shaped or neat suggesting the health and fitness of youth.
She carried a pitcher of nectar and a cup to serve the Gods.
Plants: Lettuce as her mother became pregnant without Zeus by eating this plant. Ivy sprigs.
Roman Equivalent: Juventas
The Maiden Archetype represents purity and the innocence of childhood. Where the soul’s dreams, magic and make believe still prevail.
It is also an aspect of the triple goddess, together with the Mother and the Crone they represents the cycles of the moon and the different stages of a woman’s life.
Shadow Maiden is very self centered all, her dreams and energy is expended on achieving her own personal needs and goals.
As a symbol of everlasting youth Hebe is considered to be a Maiden Goddess despite the fact that she is married and is no longer a virgin.
How To Work with This Archetype
The Maiden is one of your Archetypes if you are life still in touch with your childhood intuition and fantasies and have used these to fulfill your dreams. Hence you can still have this archetype at any time of life.
The Maiden reminds you to look after the magical child that lies within us all.
Shadow Maiden asks you to look at whether your dreams and aspirations are selfish and take no account of the needs of others.
Remember to give thanks to Mother Earth today and every day for all she gives to us. When you go for a walk take a small bag with you and pick up trash you come across and then throw the bag away or separate the recyclables properly when you get home.
What are you ideas for helping Earth to become more beautiful once more and able to sustain a better quality of life for generations to come?
Samhain/Halloween October 31st.
All Souls Night, Feast of the Dead, Festival of Remembrance, Feast of Apples, New Year…
Samhain is one of the major festivals of the Wheel of the Year, for many Pagans the most important festival of all. It is the third and final harvest festival of nuts and berries and a fire festival. All the harvest is in, all is complete, it is the end of the cycle of birth and growth, it is the point of death. The seeds of the harvest have fallen deep into the dark earth, they are unseen, dormant, and thus apparently lifeless.
The God, as Sun King is sacrificed back to the land with the seed until the Winter Solstice, and the Goddess, now as Crone, mourns Him until His rebirth at Yule. He travels the Underworld learning its wisdom. This is the time of the descent into darkness, of pre-conception, out of which new life, new ideas, will eventually emerge.
Traditionally the veils between the worlds are at their thinnest now. Boundaries dissolve and all is laid bare. It is time to honour and offer hospitality to, our ancestors.
At Samhain the dark half of the year commences. It is a truly magical time. Death is always followed by rebirth and while this is the end of the old year, it is the beginning of the new year. For the Celts the day did not begin at dawn, it began at sunset, it began with darkness. Light is always born out of darkness, they are inseparable, interdependent, and necessary. Darkness is fertile with ‘all potential’. With the beginning of this dark phase comes the opportunity to rest and reflect on the past and to dream of new beginnings. The seed now hidden in the earth will germinate in its season. Look for the seeds in yourself!
Honouring The Ancestors
Honouring your ancestors is a very special thing to do at this time and can be done in many simple ways. Think about all those departed souls from your life, both family and friends, children may wish to remember pets even – place photographs of them on your altar. Offer them your hospitality, welcome their presence into your home. At your Samhain feast, consider laying an extra place for them to join you at the table – cook and eat their favourite dishes, talk about them – re-member them, bring them closer. You and your children can make an offering for departed pets by leaving some dog food outside on Halloween night, many night creatures appreciate this offering. Be careful what you put outside – we used to put out bread and milk but are dismayed to find that this is fatal to hedgehogs – and we lovehedgehogs!
Candle Ceremony for The Ancestors
This is a wonderfully simple ritual which can be shared with both friends and family, or worked alone. You can include children in it – it begins in darkness and ends full of light.
It’s a great balance to trick or treating!
You will need a supply of small candles, either black or white, or a supply of night lights. You need a heat proof container or tray of sand or earth to put them in. Place one in the centre of the container from which all the others will be lit. Switch off all the lights and sit gently in thedarkness. Allow the darkness to enfold you. Ask for the presence of your ancestors to come to you. When you are ready, light the central candle saying “We welcome our departed loved ones into this home and honour your presence amongst us”. Allow each person in the circle to spontaneously remember someone who has passed to the Summerlands and remember something about them and light a candle for each person from the central candle: ‘I remember Great Aunt Sheila and her generosity of heart….’. Allow this to continue for as long as it takes to complete the re-membering. You will end with a tray full of radiant candles. When all is complete, give thanks, and allow the candles to burn to completion.
Seed Scattering Charm for the Ancestors
This simple charm is designed to honour the Spirit of those who have passed onto the Summerland. The seeds you scatter will grow in memory, a gift of remembrance to the Earth.
You will need:
A packet of seeds of your choice
A small dish
A small white candle in a suitable holder
A pouch or bag for your seeds
The night before your Seed Scattering Charm, pop the seeds into the dish and light the candle. Think about the person or people you wish to honour and remember, and as you do so say ‘gone from sight but not from the heart. Merry Meet Merry Part.’ Or you can use your own words. Leave the seeds in the dish overnight and let the candle burn down completely – always taking safety precautions. When you are ready place the seeds in your pouch and hold the pouch in your right hand on the way to a place of your choosing. On arrival take the seeds and scatter them, saying ‘You are remembered and held in my heart’. Repeat three times.
Where to do this? You can go to a favourite special place of your choice, a place that holds fond memories of the people you are honouring, or even your own garden – the idea of watching the seeds germinating and growing in honour of people you love is very special. The charm works just as well if you plant the seeds in a small pot.
This charm works very well as an offering of thanks to Spirit of Place. The instructions are exactly the same, except that when you prepare the seeds the night before the words are ‘ I give thanks for your beauty, it warms my heart. Merry Meet Merry Part.’
Charm donated with generous heart by the Counter Enchantress.
The Isle of Avalon, Isle of Apples, Isle of the Dead.
Glastonbury, where we are based, is also known as the Sacred Isle of Avalon, or Isle of Apples, and also the Isle of the Dead.
In mythology, here the entrance to the Underworld is found, ruled by Morgan, Queen of the Dead. There are many apple games played at Samhain which grew out of the belief in the Apple as a sacred and magical fruit. The Apple is a symbol of life and immortality. In Celtic tradition, apples were buried at Samhain as food for those souls who are waiting to be reborn.
The Apple, cut crosswise, reveals the five pointed star, or pentacle at its core, a symbol of the Goddess.
Symbols of Samhain
Pumpkins are very much an American tradition which has been successfully marketed in the UK and Europe. Everyone loves them, especially of course, children. If you consider that the Celts regarded the human head as the Seat of the Soul, the concept of the carved pumpkin with a candle inside it as the Light shining from the Soul, it becomes just about acceptable……..
The Cauldron or Holy Grail is closely associated with Samhain. It is feminine, and is the cosmic container for all life and death, of transformation and rebirth.
The Besom Broom
The besom is used as this time both practically and symbolically. It sweeps away the last of the Autumn leaves, but is also used ritually to sweep out the old, to clean and clear away old energy, creating space for the new. Traditionally besoms are made from birch twigs – the birch is associated with purification and renewal.
You can make a besom at this time of year by gathering a large bundle of birch twigs tied together. Drive a broom handle into the middle of the bundle – ideally hazel or ash.
The Acorn is the seed of the great Oak, representing wisdom, longevity, rebirth – a promise of strength to come. An acorn in your pocket is an amulet of good fortune to come. All nuts from our indigenous trees – walnuts, hazelnuts, conkers and so on – are pure potential and carry the attributes of the mother tree.
Colours of Samhain
Black for death and endings, orange for the vitality of life within death, purple for wisdom, insight and inspiration.
The Samhain Altar
A cauldron. Apples, nuts and berries. Black candles to honour the passage to the Summerland and the Ancestors. Photographs of deceased family and friends.
Buttermilk Bread Charm for Samhain.
You will need:
3 mugs of strong white flour
500 ml of Buttermilk (available from the supermarket)
I teaspoonful of bicarbonate of soda
Samhain ribbon in black or purple.
A handful of rye flour
A scattering of oats
twig of rosemary for remembrance
Place the flours in a large bowl. Make a well in the centre. Sieve in the blended salt and soda and pour in the buttermilk. Mix well with a wooden spoon until the dough feels springy. If it feels too sloppy just add a little more flour. Turn it onto a board and cover with a fine dusting of flour. Pat it with your hands until you have a round shape. Take a sharp knife and score lightly into eight sections, one for each festival. Our picture shows the bread scored five times to make a pentacle.
Place onto a greased baking tray and pop your buttermilk bread into a moderate oven for about 20-25 minutes. Keep and eye on it. When the bread is ready it will change colour and it will sound hollow when you tap the bottom. Cool completely on a wire rack. When it is cool, place the rosemary on top and tie it with Samhain ribbon.
Take time to concentrate on the bread you have created and turn the loaf three times saying
“From the fields and through the stones, into fire, Samhain Bread, as the Wheel turns may all be fed. Goddess Bless.”
Now take your bread and share it with your family and friends and pass on the generous blessings of this festival of completion and beginning. Eat it fresh, as soon as it is made if you can.
Recipe donated by the Counter Enchantress. Adapted by the Boss Lady with permission.
The Counter Enchantress is discovering that you can add almost anything appropriate to this simple bread recipe and it STILL WORKS beautifully. You can decide for yourself what the appropriate additions are for a particular festival, in this case rye flour. oats and rosemary, and just do it. There is much kitchen magic in working with one recipe through the Wheel of the Year just changing it a little as the wheel turns…..
Honour the ancestors, have fun and enjoy………..
All information offered is checked to the best of our ability, and whilst every effort has been made to make it accurate, no responsibility will be accepted for errors and omissions.
Any information displayed on our web site(s) or other printed matter from the shop is not regarded to be authoritative or certified as the best practice and is only considered to be useful supplementary advice to other certified codes of practice. All information on our web site is updated regularly. From: http://www.goddessandgreenman.co.uk/samhain
Beltane April 30th – May 1st
Sunset to Sunset.
Beltane honours Life. It represents the peak of Spring and the beginning of Summer. Earth energies are at their strongest and most active. All of life is bursting with potent fertility and at this point in the Wheel of the Year, the potential becomes conception. On May Eve the sexuality of life and the earth is at its peak. Abundant fertility, on all levels, is the central theme. The Maiden goddess has reached her fullness. She is the manifestation of growth and renewal, Flora, the Goddess of Spring, the May Queen, the May Bride. The Young Oak King, as Jack-In-The-Green, as the Green Man, falls in love with her and wins her hand. The union is consummated and the May Queen becomes pregnant. Together the May Queen and the May King are symbols of the Sacred Marriage (or Heiros Gamos), the union of Earth and Sky, and this union has merrily been re-enacted by humans throughout the centuries. For this is the night of the Greenwood Marriage. It is about sexuality and sensuality, passion, vitality and joy. And about conception. A brilliant moment in the Wheel of the Year to bring ideas, hopes and dreams into action. And have some fun…..
Traditions of Beltane
Beltane is a Fire Festival. The word ‘Beltane’ originates from the Celtic God ‘Bel’, meaning ‘the bright one’ and the Gaelic word ‘teine’ meaning fire. Together they make ‘Bright Fire’, or ‘Goodly Fire’ and traditionally bonfires were lit to honour the Sun and encourage the support of Bel and the Sun’s light to nurture the emerging future harvest and protect the community. Bel had to be won over through human effort. Traditionally all fires in the community were put out and a special fire was kindled for Beltane. “This was the Tein-eigen, the need fire. People jumped the fire to purify, cleanse and to bring fertility. Couples jumped the fire together to pledge themselves to each other. Cattle and other animals were driven through the smoke as a protection from disease and to bring fertility. At the end of the evening, the villagers would take some of the Teineigen to start their fires anew.” (From Sacred Celebrations by Glennie Kindred) Green Man – Beltane
As Beltane is the Great Wedding of the Goddess and the God, it is a popular time for pagan weddings or Handfastings, a traditional betrothal for ‘a year and a day’ after which the couple would either choose to stay together or part without recrimination. Today, the length of commitment is a matter of choice for the couple, and can often be for life. Handfasting ceremonies are often unique to the couple, but include common elements, most importantly the exchange of vows and rings (or a token of their choice). The act of handfasting always involves tying the hands Handfasting(‘tying the knot’) of the two people involved, in a figure of eight, at some point in the ceremony and later unbinding. This is done with a red cord or ribbon. Tying the hands together symbolises that the two people have come together and the untying means that they remain together of their own free will.
Another common element is ‘jumping the broomstick’ – this goes back to a time when two people who could not afford a church ceremony, or want one, would be accepted in the community as a married couple if they literally jumped over a broom laid on the floor. The broom marked a ‘threshold’, moving from an old life to a new one.
Mead and cakes are often shared in communion as part of the ceremony. Mead is known as the Brew of the Divine, made from honey which is appropriate for a love ceremony (and is the oldest alcoholic drink known to humankind).
Handfasting or not, both young and old went A-Maying… Couples spent the night in the woods and fields, made love and brought back armfuls of the first May or haw thorn blossoms to decorate their homes and barns. Hawthorn was never brought into the home except at Beltane – at other times it was considered unlucky. Young women gathered the dew to wash their faces, made Flower Crowns and May B askets to give as gifts. Everyone was free to enact the Sacred Marriage of Goddess and God, and there was an accepted tradition of Beltane babies arriving nine months later!
The Maypole is a popular and familiar image of May Day and Beltane. A phallic pole, often made from birch, was inserted into the Earth representing the potency of the God. The ring of flowers at the top of the Maypole represents the fertile Goddess. Its many coloured ribbons and the ensuing weaving dance symbolise the spiral of Life and the union of the Goddess and God, the union between Earth and Sky.
Trees of Beltane
Hawthorn is a deeply magical tree and is one of the three trees at the heart of the Celtic Tree Alphabet, the Faery Triad, ‘by Oak, Ash and Thorn’. Traditionally Beltane began when the Hawthorn, the May, blossomed. It is the tree of sexuality and fertility and is the classic flower to decorate a Maypole with. It was both worn and used to decorate the home at Beltane.
Birch is regarded as a feminine tree and Deities associated with Birch are mostly love and fertility goddesses. It is one of the first trees to show its leaf in Spring. Eostre/Ostara, the Celtic goddess of Spring was celebrated in festivities and dancing around and through the birch tree between the Spring Equinox and Beltane. Birch twigs were traditionally used to make besoms (a new broom sweeps clean). Maypoles were often made from birch and birch wreaths were given as lover’s gifts.
A tree of protection and healing. Branches of Rowan were placed as protection over the doors of houses and barns at Beltane to protect from increased Faery activity as they woke from their winter slumber. Sprigs were worn for protection also. Rowan berries have a tiny five-pointed star on the bottom reminiscent of the pentagram.
Colours of Beltane
The colours of Beltane are green, red and white/silver. Green represents growth, abundance and fertility. Red represents strength, vitality, passion and vibrancy. White represents cleansing and clearing and the power to disperse negativity.
Nana Violet’s Egg Charm For Beltane.
Think carefully what you wish for! The general rule of thumb is a brown egg for wishes involving animals and white for wishes involving people and plants, for example healing a sick animal, person or plant. Eggs with white shells are difficult to come by now as chickens are generally given feed which produces the desired brown shell, but in recent years some of the supermarkets are making white eggs available at this time of year so they are worth looking out for.
1. Blow the egg. Using a fat needle, pierce a hole in both ends of the egg, making one hole larger than the other. Using the needle pierce the egg yolk gently and swirl it around to break up the yolk. Place a small drinking straw in one end and gently blow through the other hole to help gravity do its work.
2. Paint Your Egg Talisman. When your egg has thoroughly dried out place it on top of a little mound of blue tack to hold it in place and you are ready to go! Choose a symbol to represent your wish – a heart for love, coin for prosperity, a candle for wisdom, whatever is meaningful for you. Or you can paint the whole egg in a corresponding colour – red for love, green for prosperity, purple for wisdom and so on. Another way to do it is to stick rose petals on for love, or feathers for fertility – again it is what is meaningful to you that is important.
3. When it is ready find a suitable place for it and prepare for it for hanging by threading a thin thread (embroidery thread, thin wool) through the two holes and secure it with a large knot, a bead, or even a matchstick at the bottom to hold it steady.
4. Clear your mind and focus on your desire for abundance/fruitfulness and its place in your life:
‘Little charm made of shell as I hang you here may all be well. May all things grow. May all things flow. Blessings for the turning of the Wheel.”
Use these words or any others that you are comfortable with – remember this is all about your intention.
Egg charm donated by our Counter Enchantress from her own family traditions.
Making a Wish Box Charm
Beltane is a good time for bringing hopes, dreams and aspirations to life, and here is a truly beautiful charm to help you bring these into manifestation.
You will need:
A small shallow cardboard box. Shoe boxes are good.
Sunflower seeds and/or poppy seeds
A piece of willow bark or piece of willow, an acorn or oak leaf
Something that represents your wish (see below)
Take a piece of paper and write your wish on it while visualizing your wish coming to life and growing. You can do this alone, with friends, or as a family. If you want to, decorate the lid of the box, with a triple moon, pentacle, heart, or any symbol of your choice. Poke a few holes in the lid – this will help your wish/plants, to grow. Take your box and sprinkle some earth into it. Put in your paper wishes, wish symbol (see below), and seeds/bark/acorn. Cover with another layer of earth. Mix the rose petals with the seeds and scatter them on top. Cover with a final layer of earth and place the lid on top, leaving enough of the rose petal/seed mixture to scatter on top of the box when you are planting it.
Planting Your Wish Box
The best time for planting your Wish Box is just after a fresh cleansing rainfall as this gives you a bright new start, but if the season is dry just give the earth a good watering the night before. Dig a hole two inches deeper than your wish box and lower it into the earth carefully while concentrating on your chosen wish, visualizing it coming to fruition. Imagine your wish growing with the flowers reaching skyward. As you cover the box with earth say:
“Dream that lies within the earth awaken now. Hope that sleeps awaken now. The stars await as so do I. Grow true, grow strong, toward the sky.”
If you don’t have a garden you can make a mini wish pot that can live on a window ledge and it works just as well. Just replace the box with a terracotta pot – one wish and one symbol per pot following exactly the same instructions as above. Remember that wishes are only to be used for positive motives.
Suggested Symbols For Your Wish Box:
Love & Marriage – gingerbread
New Job – copper coin
Abundance – silver coin
Difficult Task – glove
Hearth & Home – thimble
Seeking the Truth – sprig of rosemary
Health, Healing, Renewed Strength – blue & green ribbon entwined
Happiness, Good Luck – cinnamon stick
Seeking Knowledge – apple
To Find A Lost Item – feather
Protection – key (an old iron key is best if you have one)
Charm donated by our Counter Enchantress from her own family traditions.
Beltane Bread As Only Debs Knows How
You will need:
Things To Do
Whatever you do, remember this is the Great Wedding! Dress in your best, especially in green, and wear a flower crown.
Stay out all night, gathering the green, watch the sunrise and make love. Wash your face in the morning dew.
Conceive a new project, grasp that idea, and get on with it.
Dress your home and/or altar with greenery – especially with hawthorn, rowan and birch branches. Ask permission from the tree before you take anything.
Dress a tree. This is the perfect time to go out and celebrate a tree. Especially a hawthorn, rowan or birch – but the tree spirit will welcome you attention whichever kind of tree it is. Sit with it, talk to it, dance around it (maypole), honour the tree and its fertility. Hang ribbons from its branches, each ribbon represents a wish or prayer.
Flowers, flowers and more flowers. This is the festival of Flora. Make a flower crown to wear – the daisy chain in the simplest of all. Make a traditional flower basket. fill it with Beltane greenery and all the flowers and herbs you can find. Think about, and honour, their magical and healing properties while you do so. Give it someone you love.
Make some Hawthorn Brandy. You will need a bottle of brandy and at least one cup of hawthorn flowers, plus a little sugar to taste. Mix the ingredients together and leave away from direct light, for at least two weeks. Shake occasionally. Strain, bottle and enjoy. Hawthorn is renowned as a tonic for the heart.
Above all, have fun!
ll information offered is checked to the best of our ability, and whilst every effort has been made to make it accurate, no responsibility will be accepted for errors and omissions.
Any information displayed on our web site(s) or other printed matter from the shop is not regarded to be authoritative or certified as the best practice and is only considered to be useful supplementary advice to other certified codes of practice. All information on our web site is updated regularly. From : http://www.goddessandgreenman.co.uk/beltane
Deity of the Day
Of The Fair Hair
In Irish mythology, Clíodhna (Clídna, Clionadh, Clíodna, Clíona, transliterated to Cleena in English) is a Queen of the Banshees (fairies) of the Tuatha Dé Danann. Cleena of Carrigcleena is the potent banshee that rules as queen over the sidheog (fairy women of the hills) of South Munster, or Desmond. She is the principal goddess of this country.
In some Irish myths Clíodhna is a goddess of love and beauty. She is said to have three brightly coloured birds who eat apples from an otherworldly tree and whose sweet song heals the sick. She leaves the otherworldly island of Tir Tairngire (“the land of promise”) to be with her mortal lover, Ciabhán, but is taken by a wave as she sleeps due to the music played by a minstrel of Manannan mac Lir in Glandore harbour in County Cork: the tide there is known as Tonn Chlíodhna, “Clíodhna’s Wave”. Whether she drowns or not depends on the version being told, along with many other details of the story.
She had her palace in the heart of a pile of rocks, five miles from Mallow, which is still commonly known by the name of Carrig-Cleena, and numerous legends about her are told among the Munster peasantry.
In general, it has been observed that Cleena is especially associated with old Irish families of Munster. Cleena has long been associated with the lands that had been the territory of the Ui-Fidgheinte (O’Donovans and O’Collins) during their period of influence (circa 373 A.D. to 977 A.D.), or were later associated with what had been the Ui-Fidghente territory (MacCarthys and FitzGeralds).
Cleena is referred to as an unwelcome pursuer in Edward Walsh’s poem, O’Donovan’s Daughter. And, in an ode praising Donel O’Donovan upon his accession to the chiefship of Clancahill, Donal III O’Donovan he is referred to as the “Dragon of Clíodhna”.
Clíodhna is also associated with the MacCarthy dynasty of Desmond, who adopted her as their fairy woman, and the O’Keeffes and FitzGerald dynasty, with whom she has had amorous affairs Clíodhna appears in the name of one O’Leary in a medieval pedigree, as Conor Clíodhna or “Conor of Clíodhna”, and it is notable that the family were originally based in the area of Rosscarbery, very near to Glandore, before moving north to Muskerry. The O’Learys belong to the ancient Corcu Loígde.
The most traditional story of the famous Blarney Stone involves Clíodhna. Cormac Laidir MacCarthy, the builder of Blarney Castle, being involved in a lawsuit, appealed to Clíodhna for her assistance. She told him to kiss the first stone he found in the morning on his way to court, and he did so, with the result that he pleaded his case with great eloquence and won. Thus the Blarney Stone is said to impart “the ability to deceive without offending”. He then incorporated it into the parapet of the castle. To be fair, Clíodhna does not take credit for all the blarney of the MacCarthys. Queen Elizabeth noted in frustration that she could not effect a negotiation with Cormac MacCarthy, whose seat was Blarney Castle, as everything he said was ‘Blarney, as what he says he does not mean’.
It has been suggested that Clídna derives from the Gaulish goddess Clutonda or Clutondae.
Deity of the Day
Atlas was one of the Titans, son of Iapetus and Clymene, and brother of Prometheus, Epimetheus and Menoetius. During the Titanomachy, the War between the Titans and the Olympian gods, Atlas and his brother Menoetius sided with the Titans, while Prometheus and Epimetheus helped the Olympian gods. Atlas was the leader in the batttle; however, being on the losing side, Zeus condemned him to eternally stand on the western side of Gaea (the earth) holding Uranus (the sky) on his shoulders. Therefore, the contemporary depiction of Atlas holding the Earth on his shoulders is a misconception.
He was the Titan god of astronomy and navigation and he was married to his sister, Phoebe. He had numerous children, including the Hesperides, the Hyades, Hyas, the Pleiades, Calypso, Dione and Maera. He was associated with the Atlas mountains in northwest Africa. According to a later myth, when Perseus went to that region, a giant named Atlas tried to drive him away. So, Perseus revealed Medusa’s head, whom he had already killed, thus turning Atlas into stone (the Atlas mountains themselves).
In the myth of the Twelve Labours of Heracles, the demigod was sent to bring the golden apples from Hera’s garden, tended by the Hesperides and guarded by the dragon Ladon. Heracles asked Atlas to bring the apples to him; during that time, he would replace him in holding up the sky. Atlas went and brought the apples to Heracles; he then attempted to trick him into holding the skies forever. However, Heracles managed to evade the trick and left with the apples.
Beltane Rites and Rituals-Beltane is a time to celebrate fertility and the greening of the earth. Try some of these celebrations and ritual ideas at Beltane to honor the arrival of spring and new life.