“In the glow of the dawn,
Welcome a new day,
Greet the golden sunlight or rain,
Nature in all its subtlety.
Whip of the wind,
Softly falling rain,
Growing plants and buds blossoming.
Visions of the earth, with glories of nature,
Beauty of the daffodils,
Sunshine and rain from a rainbow,
Awe! Nature in full bloom.”
– Blanche Black, Springtime
APRIL – THE PINK MOON
April is the fourth month of the year of the Gregorian calendar, and the first month of the astrological calendar. Its astrological sign is Aries, the Ram (March 30 – April 20), a cardinal fire sign ruled by Mars. The name of the month comes from the Latin “aprilis,” which derives from aper, or “boar,” as April was thought to be the month of the boar.
April is truly the deliciousness and glory of spring! In most regions, early flowers begin showing their colors as skies clear and many birds return to their homes. Humans begin spring cleanings, and everywhere, red-blooded creatures begin pairing off for the sacred dance of courtship, whether those pairings last for a lifetime or simply a few hours. This is the month of the Sacred Marriage of the Lord and the Lady, for Beltane or May Eve, occurs at the very end of the month, on April 30th (in some traditions, it’s May 1st), and Pagans everywhere begin to plan romantic and sexy activities, from private rituals involving Great Rites to large public rituals with May gads or a Maypole. Everywhere, we see couplings, new growth, fertility, and eventually, beautiful babies of all kinds.
What will you plan for your spring celebrations Will there be May wine? it’s easy to make—just throw a handful of sweet woodruff and sliced strawberries into a punch bowl with some good white wine or champagne, and let stand for the duration of your ritual. Will you plan a Maypole dance? How about a Great Rite?Whatever you choose, do it with flair and with color and you will be honoring the glory of spring!
Holidays of the month are April Fools’ Day, when we celebrate the trickster, and Earth Day on the 22nd, which makes us aware of environmental issues. The beautiful flowering tree of the month gave April’s Full Moon its charming old-fashioned name–the Pink Moon. Early herbalist and folk magicians used this period to enhance spells concerning health and general well-being.
—Excerpt from Llewellyn’s 2017 Witches’ Spell-A-Day Almanac
Article Entitled “April” by Thuri Calafia
The Pink Moon
In April, about halfway through the month, the thunderstorms of March are beginning to subside, and the wind picks up. Seeds are being blown about on the breezes, spreading life all around from one place to the next. In fact, this lunar cycle is often known as the Seed Moon. Trees have buds on them, spring daffodils and tulips abound, and the birds are nesting once more. Much like March, this is a time of conception and fertility and new growth.
- Bright primary colors such as red, yellow, and blue–and their many combinations–are associated with the ongoing spring season.
- Gemstones like quartz, selenite, and angelite are connected to the element of air. Leave stones outside on a windy day to absorb the energy of the elements.
- Trees, including hazel, forsythia, lilac, and willow, are beginning to bud in April, and represent the beginnings of new life for the coming summer.
- Gods and goddesses like Ishtar, Tawaret, Venus, Herne, and Cernunnos all represent the greening of the earth, and the coming of the fertility season, which is right around the corner.
- Herbs like dandelion, milkweed, dogwood, fennel, and dill are associated with air, in part because their seed pods will blow away and spread on a breezy day.
- The element of air is strongly tied to this month, because of the winds that may pop up out of nowhere to surprise you.
Magic for the Season
This is a good time to work on magic related to new beginnings. Looking to bring new love into your life, or conceive or adopt a child? This is the time to do those workings. It’s the time to stop planning, and start doing. Take all those ideas you’ve had brewing for the past couple of months, and make them come to fruition.
April does tend to be a wet, soggy month in many areas, so now is a good time to gather up rainwater for use in magic and spellwork. Leave a few glass jars outside in the open so you can collect water for different magical purposes. For instance, rain that accumulates during a soft, light drizzle can be used in rituals for calming and meditation. On the other hand, the water that fills your jar in the middle of a late-night, thunder-and-lightning deluge is going to have a lot of energy in it–use this for workings related to power, control, and assertiveness.
Don’t forget, this month’s full moon is also called the Seed Moon. Do some planting magic, plan out your garden, and get your seedlings started. In the weeks leading up to Beltane, do this planting ritual to get new things growing in your garden and in your life as a whole. The very act of planting, of beginning new life from seed, is a ritual and a magical act in itself. To cultivate something in the black soil, see it sprout and then bloom, is to watch a magical working unfold before our very eyes. The plant cycle is intrinsically tied to so many earth-based belief systems that it should come as no surprise that the garden is a magical place in the spring.
The Magic of Wind
Because April’s moon is associated with the winds–for obvious reasons–now is a good time to explore the winds that blow from each of the cardinal directions. For instance, the North Wind is associated with cold, destruction, and change–and not always the good kind of change. If you’ve got some bad stuff looming on the horizon, now’s the time to work through it. Do this not just by changing yourself, but also the way you respond to other people and to events that are taking place in your life.
The South Wind, in contrast, is connected to warmth and the element of fire, which in turn is associated with passion and power. Fire is a destroyer, but it also creates, so if there is a passion that you’ve lost in your life–whether it’s romantic or something else–work on doing what you need to do to rebuild it.
The winds of the East are often associated with new beginnings; in particular, focus on new careers, education, or other aspects of your life that are related to communication and your intellect. Finally, the West Wind is tied to the cleansing and healing powers of water, so if you need to get rid of things that are causing you heartache or pain, let the wind blow them right out of your life.
Colors: Bright primary colors – crimson red, gold, royal blue, also Pastel colors
Gemstones: Quartz, selenite, angelite, Ruby, Garnet, Sard, Diamond
Zodiac: Aries (1-20) Taurus (21-end)
Symbols: Ram / Bull
Planets: Mars / Venus
Trees: Hazel, forsythia, lilac, willow, Pine, Bay
Flowers: Daisy and Sweet pea
Scents/Oils: Pine, Bay, Bergamot, Patchouli
Deities: Ishtar, Tawaret, Herne, Cernunnos, Venus, Kali, Hathor, Anahita, Ceres, Bast
Herbs: Dandelion, milkweed, dogwood, fennel, dill, Basil, chives, dragon’s blood, geranium
Element: Fire / Earth
Nature Spirits: Plant Faeries
Animals: Bear and Wolf
Birds: Hawk and Magpie
Power Flow: Creating and Producing, Balance to the Nerves, Self Confidence, Take advantage of opportunities, check anger
—Hedgewitch Book of Days: Spells, Rituals, and Recipes for the Magical Year
Symbols for the Month of April
April’s Festivals: Beltane Eve, May Day Eve.
Symbols include blossom, May baskets, honey and garlands.
April’s Sign of the Zodiac
Aries (March 21– April 20)
Taurus (April 21 – May 20)
April’s Celtic Tree Astrology
Fearn (Alder) (March 18 – April 14)
Saille (Willow) (April 14 – May 12)
April’s Runic Half Months
Ehwaz (March 30 – April 13)
Man (April 14 – April 28)
Lagu (April 29 – May 13)
April’s Birth Flower
Daisy, dandelion, bluebell, primrose and comfrey
Other: April Fool’s Day, Easter(depending on the date), Primrose Day, St. George’s Day (England)
“April showers bring May flowers.”
“If early April is foggy, then rain in June will make lanes boggy!”
“When April blows its horn, ’tis good for hay and corn.”
“April wet, good wheat.”
“Till April’s dead, change not a thread.”
Folklore Courtesy – Hedgewitch Book of Days: Spells, Rituals, and Recipes for the Magical Year
Calendar of Events for April
- 6: National Tartan Day
- 14: Celtic Tree Month of Alder ends
- 15: Celtic Tree Month of Willow begins
- 16: Birthday of author Margot Adler
- 22: Earth Day
- 23: Wiccan pentacle is officially added to the list of VA-approved emblems for gravestones, 2007
- 28–May 3: Floralia, honoring the goddess of spring flowers and vegetation.
- 29: Full moon–Wind Moon at 2:09 am. April is a month of pending rebirth, as the earth and soil prepare for new life to sprout. Watch as the natural world around you begins to change.
- 30: Walpurgisnacht celebrated by German witches
Celebrating May Day
Beltane kicks off the merry month of May, and has a long history. This fire festival is celebrated on May 1 with bonfires, Maypoles, dancing, and lots of good old fashioned sexual energy. The Celts honored the fertility of the gods with gifts and offerings, sometimes including animal or human sacrifice. Cattle were driven through the smoke of the balefires, and blessed with health and fertility for the coming year.
In Ireland, the fires of Tara were the first ones lit every year at Beltane, and all other fires were lit with a flame from Tara.
The Romans, always known for celebrating holidays in a big way, spent the first day of May paying tribute to their Lares, the gods of their household. They also celebrated the Floralia, or festival of flowers, which consisted of three days of unbridled sexual activity. Participants wore flowers in their hair (much like May Day celebrants later on), and there were plays, songs, and dances. At the end of the festivities, animals were set loose inside the Circus Maximus, and beans were scattered around to ensure fertility.
The fire festival of Bona Dea was also celebrated on May 2nd. This celebration, held at Bona Dea’s temple on the Aventine Hill, was a festival of women, mostly plebian, who served as priestesses and sacrificed a sow in the fertility goddess’ honor.
A Pagan Martyr
May 6 is the day of Eyvind Kelda, or Eyvind Kelve, in Norse celebrations. Eyvind Kelda was a Norwegian martyr who was tortured and drowned on the orders of King Olaf Tryggvason for refusing to give up his Pagan beliefs. According to the tales of the Heimskringla: The Chronicle of the Kings of Norway, one of the best known Norse sagas compiled by Snorri Sturluson around 1230 c.e., Olaf announced that once he had converted to Christianity, everyone else in his country needed to be baptized as well.
Eyvind, who was believed to be a powerful sorcerer, managed to escape Olaf’s troops and make his way to an island, along with other men who continued to believe in the old gods. Unfortunately, Olaf and his army happened to arrive there at the same time. Although Eyvind tried to protect his men with magic, once the mists and fog cleared, they were exposed and captured by Olaf’s soldiers.
A week later, Norwegians celebrate the Festival of the Midnight Sun, which pays tribute to the Norse sun goddess. This festival marks the beginning of ten straight weeks without darkness. Today, this celebration of music, art, and nature is a popular spring celebration in Norway.
The Greeks and Plynteria
Also in May, the Greeks celebrated the Plynteria in honor of Athena, the goddess of wisdom and battle, and the patroness of the city of Athens (which was named after her). The Plynteria includes the ritual cleansing of Athena’s statue, along with feasting and prayers in the Parthenon. Although this was a fairly minor festival, it was significant to the people of Athens.
On the 24th, homage is paid to the Greek moon-goddess Artemis (goddess of the hunt and of wild animals). Artemis is a lunar goddess, equivalent to the Roman moon-goddess Diana–she is also identified with Luna, and Hecate.
The Green Man Emerges
A number of pre-Christian figures are associated with the month of May, and subsequently Beltane. The entity known as the Green Man, strongly related to Cernunnos, is often found in the legends and lore of the British Isles, and is a masculine face covered in leaves and shrubbery. In some parts of England, a Green Man is carried through town in a wicker cage as the townsfolk welcome the beginning of summer. Impressions of the Green Man’s face can be found in the ornamentation of many of Europe’s older cathedrals, despite edicts from local bishops forbidding stonemasons from including such pagan imagery.
A related character is Jack-in-the-Green, a spirit of the greenwood. References to Jack appear in British literature back as far as the late sixteenth century. Sir James Frazer associates the figure with mummers and the celebration of the life force of trees.
Jack-in-the-Green was seen even in the Victorian era, when he was associated with soot-faced chimney sweeps. At this time, Jack was framed in a structure of wicker and covered with leaves, and surrounded by Morris dancers. Some scholars suggest that Jack may have been a ancestor to the legend of Robin Hood.
Ancient Symbols, Modern Rites
Today’s Pagans celebrate Beltane much like their ancestors did. A Beltane ritual usually involves lots of fertility symbols, including the obviously-phallic Maypole dance. The Maypole is a tall pole decorated with flowers and hanging ribbons, which are woven into intricate pattern by a group of dancers. Weaving in and out, the ribbons are eventually knotted together by the time the dancers reach the end.
In some Wiccan traditions, Beltane is a day in which the May Queen and the Queen of Winter battle one another for supremacy. In this rite, borrowed from practices on the Isle of Man, each queen has a band of supporters. On the morning of May 1, the two companies battle it out, ultimately trying to win victory for their queen. If the May Queen is captured by her enemies, she must be ransomed before her followers can get her back.
There are some who believe Beltane is a time for the faeries–the appearance of flowers around this time of year heralds the beginning of summer and shows us that the fae are hard at work. In early folklore, to enter the realm of faeries is a dangerous step–and yet the more helpful deeds of the fae should always be acknowledged and appreciated.
If you believe in faeries, Beltane is a good time to leave out food and other treats for them in your garden or yard.
For many contemporary Pagans, Beltane is a time for planting and sowing of seeds–again, the fertility theme appears. The buds and flowers of early May bring to mind the endless cycle of birth, growth, death and rebirth that we see in the earth. Certain trees are associated with May Day, such as the Ash, Oak and Hawthorn. In Norse legend, the god Odin hung from an Ash tree for nine days, and it later became known as the World Tree, Yggdrasil.
If you’ve been wanting to bring abundance and fertility of any sort into your life — whether you’re looking to conceive a child, enjoy fruitfulness in your career or creative endeavors, or just see your garden bloom — Beltane is the perfect time for magical workings related to any type of prosperity.
Getting Ready to Celebrate Beltane
April’s showers have given way to rich and fertile earth, and as the land turns green, Beltane celebrates the coming new life and growth. Observed on May 1st in the Northern Hemisphere (or October 31–November 1 in the Southern Hemisphere), festivities typically begin the evening before, on the last night of April.
Originally a tradition found in the Celtic-language lands, Beltane is observed by many Pagans today as a time for lighting a bonfire, dancing, and performing rituals.
In other cultures, such as the ancient Romans’ Floralia celebration and the ancient Norse festival for Eyvind Kelda, there are similar traditions around May Day.
One common theme is that of the abundance of the fertile earth. For some, the history seems almost blush-worthy, but Beltane can be celebrated by everyone, young and old, and in a number of ways.
Beltane, or May Day, has been marked by many cultures, over many centuries. This celebration is surrounded by a large number of the legends and lore surrounding ways to become more fertile during this time. Typically, this is a sabbat or holiday to celebrate deities associated with Beltane, such as the gods of the hunt or of the forest, and goddesses of passion and motherhood, as well as agricultural deities.
Beltane is a season of fertility and fire, and you’ll often see this reflected in the magic of the season.
In many traditions, this is the time of year for ritual sex and fertility magic, and for the magic found in gardens and nature. Depending on what kind of spellwork you’re exploring, this can even be a good time to go collect some graveyard dirt. If you want to get your herbal magic on, be sure to include some of the sacred plants of the Beltane season in your workings, and open yourself up to learning about the magic to be had surrounding this season.
In many Pagan traditions, including some forms of Wicca, it is believed that on Beltane the veil between earth and the faerie world is thin. There is plenty of faerie lore that makes the connection between Beltane and the mischievous fae. Plant flowers, herbs, that welcome faeries to your garden. Butterflies are mystical and magical and tied to the fae world, too.
Rituals and Ceremonies
Set up your Beltane altar for the season using rich greens and colors reflecting the spring flowers. Incorporate a candle signifying the Beltane fire. Fertility symbols from nature like horns, seeds, and flowers, and a mother goddess symbol can round out the altar.
There are many different ways you can celebrate Beltane, but the focus is nearly always on fertility. It’s the time when the earth mother opens up to the fertility god, and their union brings about healthy livestock, strong crops, and new life all around.
Read up on a few rituals you may want to think about trying. These can be adapted for either a solitary practitioner or a small group, with just a little planning ahead. For example, you can honor the sacred feminine with a goddess ritual; if you are alone, you can perform the Beltane planting ritual for solitaries, which will get you into the spirit of the season.
You can hold a bonfire ritual if you’d like to celebrate the fiery aspects of the Beltane sabbat. The Bale fire of Beltane is a tradition believed to stem from early Ireland. Each community lit a giant bonfire and shared the fire with everyone, in order to light their home. Similarly in Germany, during Beltane, German Pagans celebrate Walpurgisnacht, a giant bonfire celebrated much like a May Day celebration.
If you’re not quite ready to hold a full-on ritual, think about hosting a Maypole dance instead. The Maypole dance is a time-honored tradition. Maypoles have a rich history; men dance in one direction, women go the other. Each holds a ribbon, and they weave them together to sheath the Maypole, another symbol of fertility.
Celebrating Beltane with Children
If you’re raising little Pagans, try these fun ways to embrace the Beltane season with your kids.
The Family Abundance Ritual is a good place to start. Children love the Maypole and wrapping it with ribbon, too. Get the children involved with simple crafts like decorating the house or making floral wreaths.
If you are a planning a special ceremony, some appropriate prayers include the “Beltane Blessing,” a prayer to the horned god Cernunnos, prayers to Mother Earth and the gods and spirits of the forest, and the May Queen.
Handfastings and Weddings
Handfastings and weddings are popular during Beltane, the traditional season of fertility. Once popular in the British Isles, and now seeing a resurgence, the traditions of the handfasting go back a long way. In some areas, jumping the broom is a way of reconnecting with ancestral customs. Handfasting cakes, once provided by guests, are now presented by the wedding couple.
Decide if you want a ceremonial handfasting or if you want to get official with a marriage certificate–and be sure you know who can perform your ceremony! Either way, there are a few tips to keep in mind if you’re planning on a magical way to tie the knot!
Crafts and Creations
As Beltane approaches, you can decorate your home (and keep your kids entertained) with a number of easy craft projects. Start celebrating a bit early with fun floral crowns and a Maypole altar centerpiece. You can do some meditative braiding or make some faerie-size furniture for your garden.
Beltane Recipes & Cooking
No Pagan celebration is really complete without a meal to go along with it.
For Beltane, celebrate with foods that honor fertility of the earth. Bake a Green Man cake to celebrate the lusty fertility god of the woodlands, mix up a light early summer salad, and stick some traditional Scottish oatcakes in the oven.
We walk the path of the Old Gods
From this moment forth
We will not walk alone
Together, we will worship
Together, we will practice our Craft
Together, we will learn and grow
We vow to work, from this day forward
In perfect love and perfect trust
According to the free will of all
And for the good of all
Creating only beauty
Singing in harmony
Our song upon the Earth
Love is the law and love is the bond
In the name of the Goddess and the God
So do we vow, and so mote it be.
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