Beltain if the Festival of the rising light and heat, of Rising Energy, of celebration of the mating of the Goddess and the God, of sexual energy and fertility, of exuberance. We are coming into the Light part of the Year.
Our Druid Group in N W Ireland is part of OBOD, and we celebrated Beltain in May 2020, and I’m telling you about it now as part of our June 1st Starwheel Astrology and Healing Newsletter.
We met at the wonderful remote splash pool of the waterfall on the little River Ballymeeny in County Sligo where for 12,000 years the river has cascaded over the hidden waterfall, then through a little meadow of thousands of yellow irises. And a couple of hundred yards later, it floods into the Atlantic Ocean on a hidden beach in full sight of Ireland’s most ancient sacred core landmarks including Ben Bulben Mountain which is one of the locations for our Sacred West of Ireland Tours, and where W B Yeats wrote The Hosting of the Sidhe and also Knocknarae. And across the bay is Slieve League Mountain in County Donegal.
We attuned and connected to the land spirits of the waterfall and the nearby gnarled root area of ancient trees, and then cast the circle, calling the directions and connected with and benefited from the energies of the elements. The Great Rite was celebrated, and intentions stated for the months ahead and blessings for these gained. We sought to let go of what we no longer wanted in our identity or life. we closed the circle and direction and thanked the elements.
Beltain is named after the great god Baal, who was venerated across Celtic Europe and in Phoenicia (but the Old Testament isn’t so keen on him). Baal is the ‘Bright One’ – the god of light and fire, and hilltop fires were let on May Day in many parts of Ireland. In 433 CE St Patrick lit a fire on Slane Hill, ten miles from Tara, before the High King had lit his, heralding the adoption of the official religion of the (just destroyed by the German Tribes) Roman. He could not have made a more dramatic symbolic gesture of his usurping of spiritual leadership.
A major feature of the Betaine festival in many lands was jumping over the Beltain Fire, for example to make a vow of marriage. fertility is the main theme: May Day is the time for dancing around the Maypole, itself a phallic symbol, and for ritual dances, games and races through mazes. May Eve games were held. As Samhain marks the beginning of Winter, Beltain marks the beginning of Summer. As Samhain marks the beginning of Winter, Beltain marks the beginning of Summer.
On May 1st, the cattle were taken to the summer pastures until Samhain, having been driven through the Beltain fires to ensure their fertility. On May 1st, the cattle were taken to the summer pastures until Samhain, having been driven through the Beltain fires to ensure their fertility.
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