© Copyright 2005-2023 Karen Charboneau-Harrison, All Rights Reserved.
The first day of May: flowers in bloom, budding trees, luxuriant green fields, the blue rush of streams. These are all images of the growing, fertile, life-filled Beltane season. Beltane begins the rule of the life-giving Goddess; personified by Mother Nature, Gaia, the powerful forces of regeneration and renewal. Her powers of growth, fertility and plenty bless us throughout the summer as we tend our gardens, eating just picked sun-warmed tomatoes as we work. Her energies are abundantly present until Her consort begins His rule at Samhain (Hallows Eve) when we become more introspective again, quieting down into Winter.
The symbols of Beltane are those of life in celebration. The May basket filled with the gorgeous flowers of Spring; woven garlands of flowers and vines to adorn the house or made into a wreath for the head; the Maypole decorated with colorful ribbons, erected to dance around in a festival of homage to the Goddess who brings us life!
Create a May basket as part of your celebration! Begin by weaving brightly colored ribbons through the wood of the basket then enjoy the trilling of the songbirds in the leaf-filled trees as you wander the woods gathering flowers, leaves and green vines to fill your basket, remembering to thank the Earth for her beauty and bounty as you pick. Rise at dawn, greeting the vital rays of the Sun, then wash your face in the morning dew, insuring beauty and health for the rest of the season.
Beltane means 'bright fire'. Perhaps you'd like to gather the 9 sacred woods (Birch, Rowan, Alder, Willow, Hazel, Oak, Elder, Fir and Poplar) to create a bonfire in which to bless yourself and special objects for growth and abundance. Or cut and bless a branch of a flowering Rowan tree to hang over your front door to protect your home and bring you health and plenty during the coming season. Thank and attract the fairies and spirits of nature to your home or garden by decorating a living tree or bush with small bells and ribbons to delight them. Blend an intoxicating Beltane incense from the herbs of vervain, spearmint, orris root powder, frankincense resin and the oils of rose and carnation.
Although all of the words in the traditional Charge of the Goddess are beautiful and inspiring, the following stanza captures the true spirit of Beltane:
From the Charge of the Goddess: "I Who am the beauty of the green Earth and the white moon amongst the Stars and the mystery of the waters and the desire of the heart of man, call unto thy Soul. Arise and come unto Me! For I am the soul of Nature, who gives life to the universe. From Me all things proceed and unto Me all things must return; and before My face, beloved of Gods and of men, let thine innermost divine self be enfolded in the rapture of the infinite. Let my worship be within the heart that rejoiceth; for behold, all acts of love and pleasure are my rituals."