Burn copal on a charcoal as an offering to Aphrodite and ask for her assistance:

“Stately Aphrodite, born from the gentle foam of the sea

She who encompasses divine beauty and inspires love in the hearts of men

Mother to the god of love, who embodies feminine perfection, Hear the desire of your faithful devotee.

I call for your aid in revealing the love between myself and (NAME)

That our bond may be an earthly reflection of your loveliness and blessing. By your grace, may the sacred union of heart and hand be ours.”

Light your candles and meditate on your fondest desire coming true. Allow yourself to visualize the highest possibility and best outcome. Speak the following charm as you gaze into the candles’ glow:

“May the goddess hear my plea

If this love is meant to be

Turn my lover’s heart to me

By all the power of three times three

As I do will, so mote it be.”

Bru nà Boinne

In addition to their agricultural significance, cattle also had a divinatory role at Beltane. The appearance of a white heifer was considered very auspicious, a manifestation of Bóand, goddess of inspiration and abundance who is credited with establishing the fertile Bru nà Boinne, the Boyne River Valley in County Meath, Ireland. Her presence signified an assurance of human health as well as the good health of the cattle. One of her particular associations is the white cow. In Nordic culture, Beltane was referred to as thrimilci—the day upon which cows could be milked three times in one day.


The old Celtic name for May Day is Beltane (in its most popular Anglicized form), which is derived from the Irish Gaelic ‘Bealtaine’ or the Scottish Gaelic ‘Bealtuinn’, meaning ‘Bel-fire’, the fire of the Celtic god of light (Bel, Beli or Belinus). He, in turn, may be traced to the Middle Eastern god Baal.


Bannocks are traditional Scottish Beltane fare, dating centuries back. And often paired with a Caudle, also a traditional Beltane drink. Following is a recipe that was taken from Tairis, which is a gaelic polytheistic website


1/2 pt (1 cup) milk

1 tbsp oatmeal

2 beaten eggs

1 tsp sugar or honey


nutmeg or mixed spice

whisky, ale or white wine


1. Heat the milk in a pan with the oatmeal and a pinch of salt. Stir well and bring to the boil, then simmer until it starts to thicken.

2. Stir in the eggs, sugar and spices (added according to taste), and keep simmering for at least five minutes – stir well to make sure the mixture doesn’t burn or stick to the pan.

3. Remove from the pan and add in as much whisky, ale or white wine as you prefer.

4. Serve immediately, either on its own or poured over bannocks or a dessert.

Beltane Recipes,Cheese: Traditional Foods for Celebrating the May Day Festival

Beltane is a traditional Celtic festival that marks the beginning of summer. It is celebrated on May 1st and is known for its joyous and festive atmosphere. One of the key aspects of Beltane is the abundance of fresh, seasonal ingredients that are used in traditional recipes.

Whether you are celebrating Beltane or simply looking for some delicious recipes to enjoy during the summer months, there are plenty of options available. From fresh salads and grilled vegetables to hearty stews and fruity desserts, there is something for everyone to enjoy. Many of these recipes incorporate traditional ingredients such as herbs, berries, and wildflowers, making them a perfect way to connect with nature and celebrate the changing of the seasons.


Cheese is a versatile ingredient that can be used in various Beltane recipes. It can be served as a main dish, a side dish, or as a dessert. Here are a few ideas for incorporating cheese into your Beltane celebration:

Cheese Board

A cheese board is a perfect appetizer for any Beltane celebration. It is easy to prepare and can be customized to suit any taste. A cheese board typically consists of a variety of cheeses, crackers, fruits, and nuts. Here are some cheese options to consider:

  • Cheddar
  • Brie
  • Blue cheese
  • Goat cheese
  • Gouda
  • Feta

Serve the cheese board with some fresh fruits like grapes, strawberries, and apples. You can also add some nuts like almonds, walnuts, and cashews for some crunch.

Cheese and Herb Scones

Cheese and herb scones are a delicious addition to any Beltane meal. They are easy to make and can be served as a side dish or as a snack. Here’s how to make them:


  • 225g self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 50g butter
  • 50g grated cheddar cheese
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh herbs (such as thyme, rosemary, or chives)
  • 150ml milk
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Preheat the oven to 220°C/200°C fan/gas mark 7.
  2. In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and pepper.
  3. Rub in the butter until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
  4. Stir in the grated cheese and chopped herbs.
  5. Gradually add the milk, stirring until a soft dough forms.
  6. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead gently.
  7. Roll out the dough to a thickness of 2cm and cut into rounds using a cookie cutter.
  8. Place the scones on a baking tray lined with parchment paper.
  9. Bake for 12-15 minutes until golden brown.
  10. Serve warm with butter.

Cheese and Vegetable Tart

A cheese and vegetable tart is a perfect main dish for any Beltane celebration. It is easy to make and can be customized to suit any taste. Here’s how to make it:


  • 1 sheet of puff pastry
  • 150g grated cheddar cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 150ml double cream
  • 1 red onion, sliced
  • 1 red pepper, sliced
  • 1 courgette, sliced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/gas mark 6.
  2. Roll out the puff pastry and place it in a tart tin.
  3. Prick the base of the pastry with a fork.
  4. In a frying pan, heat the olive oil and sauté the onion, red pepper, and courgette until soft.
  5. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs and double cream.
  6. Add the grated cheese and salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Pour the egg mixture into the pastry case.
  8. Arrange the sautéed vegetables on top of the egg mixture.
  9. Bake for 25-30 minutes until golden brown.
  10. Serve hot or cold.

Cheese is a versatile ingredient that can be used in various Beltane recipes. Whether you’re looking for an appetizer, a side dish, or a main dish, cheese is sure to add flavour and richness to your celebration.

The Beltane Kitchen Witch: How to Celebrate the Sabbat with Magical Recipes

Beltane is a traditional Gaelic festival that celebrates the beginning of summer. It is typically celebrated on May 1st and is often associated with fertility, growth, and renewal. Beltane is also a time when many people honour the goddess and the god, and celebrate the union of masculine and feminine energies.

For many kitchen witches, Beltane is a time to focus on the magic of food and cooking. They may create dishes that honour the season, such as dishes made with fresh herbs and vegetables, or dishes that incorporate traditional Beltane ingredients like honey, milk, and eggs. Some kitchen witches also use this time to honour the spirits of the land, and may incorporate foraged ingredients into their cooking. Overall, Beltane is a time when kitchen witches can connect with the magic of the season and celebrate the abundance of nature.


Beltane Kitchen Witch is all about celebrating the arrival of spring and the fertility of the land. The food served during this time is often fresh, light, and full of seasonal ingredients. Here are some ideas for delicious Beltane-inspired dishes.


1. Beltane Salad

This salad is a celebration of all things spring, with fresh greens, edible flowers, and seasonal veggies. Here’s what you’ll need:

Mixed salad greens



Sugar snap peas

Edible flowers (such as nasturtiums or violets)

Lemon vinaigrette dressing

To assemble the salad, simply mix together the salad greens, sliced radishes, blanched asparagus, and sugar snap peas. Top with a handful of edible flowers and drizzle with lemon vinaigrette.

2. Beltane Brunch

For a Beltane brunch, try this delicious quiche recipe. It’s full of fresh, seasonal veggies and can be made ahead of time for easy entertaining.

1 pie crust

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 small onion, chopped

1 red bell pepper, chopped

1 cup chopped asparagus

1/2 cup chopped mushrooms

4 eggs

1/2 cup milk

1/2 cup grated cheese

Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C). In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, bell pepper, asparagus, and mushrooms and cook until the veggies are tender, about 10 minutes.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, cheese, salt, and pepper. Add the cooked veggies to the egg mixture and stir to combine.

Pour the egg mixture into the pie crust and bake for 35-40 minutes, or until the quiche is set and golden brown.

3. Beltane Bread

This Beltane bread recipe is perfect for celebrating the season. It’s a sweet, spiced bread that’s perfect for toasting and slathering with butter.

2 cups flour

1/2 cup sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 cup vegetable oil

2 eggs

1/2 cup milk

1/2 cup raisins

Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the vegetable oil, eggs, and milk. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Fold in the raisins.

Pour the batter into a greased loaf pan and bake for 45-50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the bread comes out clean.

Enjoy these delicious Beltane-inspired recipes with friends and family to celebrate the arrival of spring and the fertility of the land.

Beltane Origins: Understanding the History and Significance of the May Day Festival

Beltane is a festival that marks the beginning of summer and is celebrated on May 1st in the Northern Hemisphere. The origins of Beltane can be traced back to the ancient Celts who lived in what is now Ireland, Scotland, and Wales. This festival was an important part of their agricultural calendar and was celebrated to ensure a successful harvest.

Beltane was a time of great celebration and was marked by the lighting of bonfires, the dancing of the Maypole, and the crowning of the May Queen. The bonfires were seen as a way to purify and protect the land, while the Maypole dance symbolised the unity of the community. The May Queen, who was often chosen for her beauty and grace, was seen as a representative of the goddess of fertility and was responsible for ensuring the fertility of the land and the people.

Today, Beltane is still celebrated by many people around the world, although the traditions may vary depending on the culture and location. Some people choose to honour the ancient Celtic traditions, while others incorporate their own modern interpretations. Regardless of how it is celebrated, Beltane continues to be a time of joy and celebration, marking the arrival of the warmer months and the promise of a bountiful harvest.

What is Beltane?

Beltane is a Celtic festival that is celebrated on May 1st. It marks the beginning of summer and is a time to celebrate fertility, growth, and new beginnings. Beltane is one of the four major festivals of the Celtic calendar, along with Samhain, Imbolc, and Lughnasadh.

Origins of Beltane

The origins of Beltane can be traced back to the ancient Celts, who believed that the veil between the worlds of the living and the dead was at its thinnest on May 1st. They would light bonfires and dance around them to ward off evil spirits and bring good luck for the coming year.

Beltane was also a time to celebrate the fertility of the land and the animals. The Celts would drive their livestock between two bonfires to purify and protect them, and would also perform rituals to encourage growth in their crops.

As Christianity spread throughout Europe, Beltane became associated with May Day, a secular holiday that celebrates the arrival of spring. However, many of the traditional customs and rituals of Beltane are still practiced today, particularly in Ireland, Scotland, and Wales.

In conclusion, Beltane is a Celtic festival that celebrates the beginning of summer and the fertility of the land. Its origins can be traced back to ancient Celtic traditions, and it is still celebrated today in many parts of the world.

Beltane Traditions

Beltane is a Celtic festival that celebrates the beginning of summer. It is a day of great importance that marks the transition from the darkness of winter to the light of summer. Beltane is celebrated on May 1st and is one of the four major festivals of the Celtic calendar.

Traditional Beltane Celebrations

In ancient times, Beltane was a time for purification and fertility rituals. People would light bonfires and dance around them, symbolising the return of the sun and the renewal of life. It was believed that the smoke from the fires had a purifying effect and would protect the crops and livestock from disease and evil spirits.

One of the most popular Beltane traditions was the Maypole dance. A tall pole was erected and decorated with flowers and ribbons. Young men and women would dance around the pole, weaving the ribbons into intricate patterns. This was a symbol of the union between the male and female energies and was believed to bring fertility and prosperity to the community.

Modern Beltane Celebrations

Today, Beltane is still celebrated in many parts of the world, although the traditions have evolved over time. Modern celebrations often involve outdoor gatherings, feasting, and music.

One popular modern tradition is the Beltane fire festival, which takes place in Edinburgh, Scotland. This festival involves a procession of performers dressed in elaborate costumes, carrying torches and performing rituals around a large bonfire.

Another modern Beltane tradition is the creation of flower crowns. These are often made from wildflowers and are worn as a symbol of the renewal of life and the coming of summer.

Overall, Beltane is a time to celebrate the beauty and abundance of nature and to honour the cycles of life and death. It is a time to connect with the earth and to remember our place in the natural world.

Beltane Solitary Pagan Witch: Celebrating the May Day Festival Alone

Beltane is a significant festival celebrated by Pagans around the world. It is a time of fertility, fire, and new beginnings. While many Pagans celebrate Beltane in groups, there are also those who choose to celebrate it in solitude.

For solitary Pagan witches, Beltane is a time to connect with the natural world and honour the changing of the seasons. It is a time to celebrate the return of spring and the promise of summer. Solitary witches may choose to perform rituals, create altars, or simply spend time in nature during this time.

Despite the lack of a group setting, Beltane can still be a powerful and meaningful experience for solitary witches. By connecting with the energy of the season and the natural world, they can tap into the magic and potential of this time of year. Whether celebrating alone or with others, Beltane offers an opportunity to embrace growth, change, and renewal.

What is Beltane?

Beltane is a Pagan festival that celebrates the arrival of summer and the fertility of the earth. It is traditionally observed on May 1st, which is halfway between the spring equinox and the summer solstice. Beltane is a time of joy, celebration, and renewal, and it is often marked with bonfires, feasting, and dancing.

The History of Beltane

Beltane has its roots in ancient Celtic traditions, and it was originally celebrated as a fire festival. The word Beltane comes from the Irish Gaelic “Bealtaine,” which means “bright fire.” In ancient times, Beltane was a time when the cattle were driven out to summer pastures, and the fires were lit to protect them from harm.

The Significance of Beltane in Paganism

In modern Paganism, Beltane is seen as a time of fertility and abundance. It is a time to celebrate the coming of summer and the growth of new life. Many Pagans see Beltane as a time to honour the goddess and the god, who are often associated with fertility and the forces of nature.

Beltane is also a time to celebrate the union of the masculine and feminine energies, which are seen as essential for the creation of new life. This is often symbolized by the Maypole, which is a tall pole decorated with ribbons and flowers. The Maypole is danced around by the community, with each dancer holding a ribbon, which is woven around the pole.

Overall, Beltane is a time to celebrate the beauty and power of nature, and to honour the cycles of life and death. It is a time to connect with the earth and with the divine, and to celebrate the joy of being alive.

Solitary Practice

Why Practice Solitary?

There are many reasons why a Pagan Witch may choose to practice Beltane alone. Some may not have a coven or group to celebrate with, while others may prefer the intimacy and flexibility of solitary practice. Practicing alone can also allow for a deeper connection with one’s own spirituality and personal beliefs.

Preparing for a Solitary Beltane Celebration

Before beginning a solitary Beltane celebration, it is important to take time to prepare both physically and spiritually. This can include:

  • Cleansing the space: Clearing the area of negative energy and setting up an altar or sacred space can help create a peaceful and focused environment for the celebration.
  • Gathering supplies: Collecting items such as candles, incense, flowers, and other symbolic objects can help set the tone for the celebration and honour the spirit of Beltane.
  • Planning the ritual: Creating a plan for the ritual, including any specific prayers, chants, or actions, can help ensure that the celebration is meaningful and effective.
  • Setting intentions: Before beginning the ritual, take time to reflect on personal intentions and goals for the celebration, and set these intentions with positive affirmations or visualisations.

By taking these steps, a Pagan Witch can create a powerful and meaningful Beltane celebration, even when practicing alone.

Thoughts of Beltane

Celts used the cross-quarter days to mark the change of the seasons and their midpoints rather than the Solstices & the Equinoxes.

The ancient Celts divided the year into two main seasons.

Winter (Samhain) and Summer (Beltane) with Imbolc and Lughnassadh representing the midpoints of these seasons.

At Beltane, the ancients would perform rituals to protect the cattle, crops, and people as well as to encourage growth and fertility.

It is believed that during these two points of the year, Samhain and Beltane, the veil between our world and the Otherworld thins.

This allows the spirits of the dead, fairies and other supernatural beings roam freely.

To prevent people from ending up in the Otherworld, crop failures, and livestock mischief, protection rituals were traditionally practiced against the enchantments of supernatural beings to protect those of this world.

On the Beltane cross-quarter day the ancients Celts would build two bonfires and herd all their cattle and other stock between them as a cleansing and purification ritual to protect them against supernatural forces before being set loose on their new spring pastures.

A Beltane Ritual For Fertility And Earth Energies

Such a ritual can be used to encourage creativity and growth of all kinds. It may be performed either alone or in a group, with everyone present joining in the chants.

Use as many kinds of wood as possible in the kindling for your fire. Traditionally the magical trees were oak, ash, thorn, willow, birch, rowan, alder, holly, and yew, but you can use wood indigenous to your region.

An arboretum will offer a variety of fallen twigs.

*Light a small fire. (This may be either a small bonfire out of doors or a fire in a hearth indoors. Barbecue pits are easily adapted.)

If you are working in a group, each person can ignite the fire at a different place.

If you cannot light a fire, choose a really large, fat, dark green candle as your focus.

Place it on a wide, deep fireproof tray, secured in the sand.

If you are in a group, stand in a circle around it, with each person holding a taper.

The first person lights their taper, then the flame is passed from one taper to the next until the person holding the final taper lights the central candle.

Each person can say the chant, with one voice after another joining in.

As you build and light your fire or candle, say:

fire of Bel, the fire of the summer Sun and the ascending light, flame in my heart, my soul, my loins, that my life and light may be kindled and flare upwards to greet the summer Sun.

Take a twig, if possible oak, ash, or thorn, and circle the fire or candle deosil, saying,

fires of healing, fertile fires, bring what is needed, not desired.

Heal the planet, bless the corn.

Lord of Light, we greet your dawn.

Carefully light the twig and allow it to smolder and then hold it momentarily upwards, saying,

fire of Bel,

join with my fire and with all fires in all places on this day at this hour,

rise in a web of glorious flame to empower the Sun,

to be empowered and to flame within my heart forever.

*Cast the twig into the flames, then leap high in the air, crying: Ascend and bring fertility, power, and creativity.

I do not suggest you try to emulate our ancestors and leap across the flames, as presumably, the casualty rate was horrendously high.

*If you are using a candle, each person can in turn hold the end of the twig in the flame until it smolders, then rest it on the tray and allow it to burn slowly down or go out.

* End the ritual by taking scarlet ribbons and spiraling around the fire or candle, waving them like flames, as you chant.

Finally throw them into the air, away from the flame.

Allow the fire or candle to burn down.

Afterward, make up small posies of flowers to leave on the doorsteps of people who you know would appreciate them – perhaps the ill or lonely.

Beltane, Correspondences 

Candle colours: Dark green, silver and red

Symbols: Fresh greenery, especially hawthorn; any flowers that are native to your region, placed in baskets; dew gathered on May morning (girls should bathe their faces in it), coloured ribbons, twigs from the three trees sacred to the festival (oak, ash and thorn) or any other woods from your own area

Crystals: Clear crystal quartz, golden tiger’s eye, rutilated quartz and topaz

Flowers, herbs, oils and incenses: Almond, angelica, ash, cowslip, frankincense, hawthorn, lilac, marigold and roses for love.

Beltane, The Festival Of Fire

This Celtic festival of summer is also called Bel-fire, the festival of Belenus, the Celtic god of light.

Time: Sunset 30 April-sunset 2 May (31 October-2 November in the southern hemisphere)

Focus: The fertility of the Earth, creatures, crops, people, and animals; the instinctive energies that can be manifest as passion whether in sexual terms or for any cause; the interconnectedness of all existence and the mutual dependency of one life form on another.

Beltain, which has survived as our modern May Day festival, marked the beginning of the Celtic summer when cattle were released from barns and driven between twin fires to cleanse them and invoke fertility as they were released into the fields.

Sundown on May Eve heralded the signal for Druids to kindle the great Beltain fires from nine different kinds of wood by turning an oaken spindle in an oaken socket.

This was carried out on top of the nearest beacon hill, for example, Tara Hill, County Meath, in Ireland, home of the Tuatha de Danaan, the hero gods of old Ireland.

Every village would have its Beltain fire, which was attributed to both fertility and healing powers.

Winter was finally dead at midnight on May Eve, when Cailleac Bhuer, the old hag of winter, cast her staff under a holly bush and was turned to stone.

She would be restored six months later on  Hallowe’en.

Young men and girls made love in the woods and fields on May Eve to bring fertility to the land as well as to themselves; they gathered flowers and blossoms from the magical hawthorn tree to decorate houses and to make into May baskets which were left as gifts on doorsteps.

This custom lasted well into Victorian times and is recalled in Rudyard Kilping’s poem Oak, Ash, and Thorn, which begins:

Do not tell the Priest our plight,
For he would think it a sin,
For we have been in the woods all night,
Bringing summer in.

This echoes the woodland wedding of the Goddess, the first May Queen, whose name came from Maia, the Greek goddess of flowers, whose festival occurred at this time and who also gave her name to the month of May.

She married Jack o’ Green, the god of vegetation -another form of the Green Man – and the deity of the green crops as yet unripened.

He became Robin Hood to her Maid Marian.

Once again, there is also a Christian connection here: the name Marian is a form of the name Mary, and St Bridget was called Mary of the Gaels.

The maypole, which we still recognize today, once symbolized the ancient cosmic tree and was the focus of fertility dances whose origins are unknown.

Red, blue, green, yellow, and white ribbons, representing the union of Earth and Sky, winter and summer, Water and Fire, were entwined and the spiraling dance stirred up the life force and fertility of the Earth.

The maypole formed a central phallic symbol that could be forty feet high and echoed the rising potency of the Sun, or Corn, God and the
growing corn.

Fires were lit and it was believed that the height the young men could leap over the fires would indicate the height the corn would grow and, since for safety reasons this deed was performed without clothes, the festival was one of joyous, unbridled sexuality.

In modern times, this festival has a global significance and survival issues are to the fore.

These may concern endangered species or the fight for the rights of indigenous peoples, for freedom of speech, action and belief everywhere.

Also involved are the struggle to discover more natural forms of medicine and Earth-friendly products with fewer side effects, and all matters of the countryside.

On a personal level, Beltane is a festival potent for fertility magick of all kinds, whether to conceive a child or aid financial or business ventures to bear fruit.

It is good for an improvement in health and an increase in energy as the Sun’s light and warmth also gain intensity, and for enthusiasm and creative ventures of all kinds.

It will assist the consummation of love matches, travel and job moves and all matters concerning young adults, especially those making commitments.

Beltane Rites and Rituals for a Hedgewitch

This is another traditional time when the veils between the worlds are thin, and we can encounter beings from the Otherworld easily as we slip between the worlds.

It is traditionally a time to honour the Fair Folk, as well as the fertility of the land in hopes of great abundance in the autumn.

We can work with the Fair Folk to ensure that our endeavours are successful.

In your liminal place, call to the Fair Folk, to allow you to communicate with all those who are in tune with your intention.

Your Lowerworld guides may appear, as well as others who can impart wisdom and information on the work that you are doing.

It is a good time to allow the awen, the inspiration to flow and to open yourself to new possibilities.

The flowers of hawthorn (a known Faery Tree) are out, and you can take a sprig and wear it upon your person (with the tree’s and the Fair Folk’s permission first) as you weave your magic in the world. Be open, but also beware.

You must decide for yourself what information you will use, and whether it is for the benefit of the whole.

Not all of the Fair Folk have your best interests at heart, for they are creatures of nature with their own agenda.

This is a good time of year to communicate with them and learn more of their work, how you can help them and vice versa to bring about harmony in all the worlds.

Ask them what they would like to see happen in your world, and tell them likewise what you would like to achieve.

You might just find the Fair Folk comply.

Kitchen Witch: Beltane, May the First

We still observe May Day, a contemporary version of an ancient European Pagan religious celebration. In earlier times, Beltane was connected with the dairy, and so ice cream, yoghurt, cheese, custard, quiche, and all other dairy foods are appropriate fare.

Oatmeal cookies and oatmeal bread also fit the symbolism of Beltane, the high point of spring. This customary food comes from Scotland. Many centuries ago, oatmeal cakes known as bannocks were used in Scottish rituals.

May wine is a tasty drink. It is made from white wine, fresh woodruff, and strawberries.


Also: May Day, Walpurgis, Roodmas

Beltane, celebrated at the peak of spring around early May, is one of the four main fire festivals native to Celtic culture. The other festivals, commonly referred to in Neopaganism as the “Greater Sabbats” are Imbolc, at the peak of winter, Lammas, at the peak of summer, and Samhain at the peak of autumn. Beltane is usually celebrated on May 1st and the night prior to it, although some celebrate the festival on its alternate date, astrologically determined by the sun’s reaching 15-degrees Taurus.

Origins of Beltane

In Irish mythology, the beginning of the summer season for the Tuatha Dé Danann and the Milesians started at Bealtaine. Great bonfires would mark a time of purification and transition, heralding in the season in the hope of a good harvest later in the year, and were accompanied with ritual acts to protect the people from any harm by Otherworldly spirits, such as the Aos Sí. Like the festival of Samhain, opposite Beltane on 31 October Beltane was also a time when the Otherworld was seen as particularly close at hand. Excavations at Uisnech in the 20th century provided evidence of large fires taking place.


In Irish Gaelic, the month of May is known as Mí Bhealtaine or Bealtaine, and the festival as Lá Bealtaine (‘day of Bealtaine’ or, ‘May Day’).

Since the early 20th century it has been commonly accepted that Old Irish Bel(l)taine is derived from a Common Celtic *belo-te(p)niâ, meaning “bright fire” (where the element *belo- might be cognate with the English word bale [as in ‘bale-fire’] meaning ‘white’ or ‘shining’; compare Anglo-Saxon bael, and Lithuanian/Latvian baltas/balts, found in the name of the Baltic; in Slavic languages byelo or beloye also means ‘white’, as in Беларусь (White Russia or Belarus) or Бе́лое мо́ре [White Sea]). A more recent etymology by Xavier Delamarre would derive it from a Common Celtic *Beltinijā, cognate with the name of the Lithuanian goddess of death Giltinė, the root of both being Proto-Indo-European *gʷelH- “suffering, death”.

In middle Europe, May 1st is celebrated as Walpurgisnacht, named after the English missionary Saint Walburga. As Walburga was canonized on 1st of May, she became associated with May Day, especially in the Finnish and Swedish calendars. The eve of May day, traditionally celebrated with dancing, came to be known as Walpurgisnacht (“Walpurga’s night”).


Fertility is the major theme of this festival, as it is a reflection of the fertility of the earth at this time of year. Maypoles, which are phallic symbols, are wrapped in ribbons through a weaving dance on this day.

Purification is another theme of this festival, and the fires associated with it. Saining, the process of ritually purifing something by exposing it to open flame, was common during this time in the form magnificent bonfires that are lept for luck, prosperity, and fertility. Saining also takes place with the livestock, which was traditionally driven between two bonfires to bless and protect them.

The bonfires hold the secondary role of “burning away” the last remenants of winter, that summer may come in. The old English round “Sumer Is Icumen In” is often sung with this in mind as the bonfires blaze high.

Sumer is Icumen in,
Loudly sing, cuckoo!
Grows the seed and blows the mead,
And springs the wood anew;
Sing, cuckoo!
Ewe bleats harshly after lamb,
Cows after calves make moo;
Bullock stamps and deer champs,
Now shrilly sing, cuckoo!
Cuckoo, cuckoo
Wild bird are you;
Be never still, cuckoo!

Also on this day are parades with mummers in traditional roles such as the ‘obby ‘oss, the May Queen, and the Puck. The May Queen is chosen each year from the Maidens of the area to represent the Goddess in her youthful springtime aspect.

May bushes are decorated with eggs, ribbons, and garlands. These May bushes were usually the hawthorn, which blooms in May, and which is famously collected when “going a maying”. May bushes gave way to may boughs, which are also of hawthorn. Usually bringing hawthorn indoors is considered bad luck, but it is worse luck to not “bring in the may” on this day!

Bannocks, which are fire-cooked oat cakes, are made an eaten in celebration of Beltane. These are known as belcakes. Morwynn of House Shadow Drake writes of their own family’s bannock traditions (and includes a recipe!) here:

In addition to the promise of spring, and prognostication, other neopagan themes common to Beltane include the transformation of the Goddess from Maiden to Lover (this is often celebrated by enactment of the Great Rite in the fields) and the wooing of the sun God. These differ according to various traditions.

The Spiral Castle Tradition

In our tradition Beltane is one of the two times of year when we pay homage to Tubal Cain. This is Qayin in his fiery aspect, rising in the east. He is the Morning Star, the bringer of light and enlightenment to mankind.

The Spiral Castle is turned to face the East Gate, place of Fire, Spring has risen triumphant in our area of the country, and the Lord of the fiery forge of creation holds sway. The Wheel is turning to the bright promise of summer once again, and there is great rejoicing.

Beltane Chant (by Rudyard Kipling):
O do not tell the priests of our arts,
for they would call it sin!
We will be in the woods all night
A-conjuring conjuring summer in.
And we bring you good news by word of mouth.
For women, cattle, and corn:
The sun is coming up from the south,
By oak and ash, and thorn!
(Continue chanting ‘by oak and ash and thorn’)


Colors: Deep green, white, red, pink, orange, violet
Herbs: Mandrake, Damania, Basil, Patchouli, Violet, Vanilla, Rose, Frankincense, Lilac
Foods: pork, beef, red fruits, wine, mead, oat and barley pancakes

Things To Do at Beltane, 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 them away from direct light, for at least two weeks.   Shake occasionally.   Strain, bottle and enjoy. Hawthorn is renowned as a tonic for the heart.

Things To Do at Beltane, 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 your attention whichever kind of tree it is.

Sit with it, talk to it, dance around it (maypole), and honor the tree and its fertility.

Hang ribbons from its branches, each ribbon represents a wish or prayer.