Weaving and plaiting are traditional arts at this time of year, for the joining together of two substances to form a third is in the spirit of Beltane.
Foods traditionally come from the dairy, and dishes such as marigold custard and vamilla ice cream are fine. Oatmeal cakes are also appropriate.
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Beltaine (May 1) – Also called May Day, Beltaine merges both Gaelic and Germanic traditions and marks the high point of fertility in the natural cycle. This is a day of love, and has historically been a time for the arrangement of engagements and marriages.
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May 1 was celebrated as Beltane in earlier times and still is today by Pagans and Witches. It is gased in part on the old Roman festival of Floralia, dedicated to Flora, Goddess of Flowers. Many more know it as May Day. A wealth of customs and rites has survived from early times.
May Day was also the date the Romans honored the Lares, or household and family guardians. Wreaths were hung before their altars, incense burned and the family attuned to its spiritual essence.
Lilacs and hawthorn are traditionally brought into the home on May Day, which is unusual because both plants are generally viewed as ill-luck bringers in the house. On this day, though, the spell is broken.
The flowers of May-bluebells, yellow cowslips, daisies, roses, marigolds, primroses and hundreds of others are still brought inside to release their powers and connect the home with the living world outdoors.
To guard your home against the intense magical powers at work on Beltane, mark a cross in the hearth ashes with a hazel twig, or carry elder twigs three times around the house, then hang them up inside or place outside over the door.
At dawn on May Day, go to a garden or out in the woods and gather dew from plants, flowers and grass. Bathe your face in this dew, and it will highlight your beauty.
It is considered unfortunate to give away fire or salt on May Day, since these were at one time the two most sacred substances. Thus, give them away on May Day, and you give your luck away.
Beltane marks the beginning of summer, when all nature reaches a crescendo of power and energy. The day and night were thought to be dangerous for the unprepared pared because of these excessive vibrations. Due to this phenomenon, it was deemed a good practice to sleep at home this night.
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Scott Cunningham; David Harrington.
Celebrate Beltane Lore
Arise at dawn and wash in the morning dew: the woman who washes her face in it will be beautiful; the man who washes his hands will be skilled with knots and nets.
If you live near water, make a garland or posy of spring flowers and cast it into stream, lake or river to bless the water spirits.
Prepare a May basket by filling it with flowers and goodwill, then give it to one in need of caring, such as a shut-in or elderly friend.
Beltane is one of the three “spirit-nights” of the year when the faeries can be seen. At dusk, twist a rowan sprig into a ring and look through it, and you may see them.
Make a wish as you jump a bonfire or candle flame for good luck—but make sure you tie up long skirts first!
Celebrants sometimes jump over broomsticks, especially at Handfastings which are very common during this season, or dance around May Poles, as both of these are symbols of fertility.
Traditional activities include blowing horns, and gathering flowers. Solitary Practitioners might consider the weaving together of ribbons as an alternative to creating and dancing around the May Pole.
Many like to celebrate Beltaine by decorating their homes and themselves with fresh flower garlands, or by stringing up greenery around their homes and places of work.
Sending flowers to loved ones, planting new gardens, cleaning out the cupboards and general spring cleaning are all traditional Beltaine gestures.
Plaiting and weaving straw, creating things with wicker, making baskets and fabrics are traditional arts for this turn in the Wheel of the Year.