The spiritual significance of Beltane
WHAT IS BELTANE?
Beltane is a festival in the Celtic Wheel of the Year. It takes place on 1st May in the northern hemisphere and on 31st October/ 1st November in the southern hemisphere, about halfway between the Spring Equinox and the Summer Solstice.
At Beltane we celebrate the return of light and warmth as spring starts to turn into summer. It is a joyful time in the Celtic year, marking the increasing fertility of the land as we see greenery returning and beautiful floral displays appearing.
Beltane is one of three nights during the year when the veil between the spirit world and ours is said to be at its thinnest; the other two are the Summer Solstice and Samhain. Many believe that at such times of the year, a portal also opens between the fairy world and our own, making connections with magical beings possible.
Historically, Beltane was widely observed throughout Ireland, Scotland, and the Isle of Man. In Britain and Northern Europe it has merged into May Day.
THE WHEEL OF THE YEAR
The Wheel of the Year is celebrated by many spiritual seekers all over the world, including pagans, Wiccans, witches of all kinds, and also nature-lovers who do not follow a specific spiritual tradition.
It celebrates the turning of the seasons, and those who follow its rhythms mark its seasonal festival days or ‘Sabbats’. The dates for these celebration days are different in the northern and southern hemispheres.
Beltane is one of the ‘Greater Sabbats’ or ‘cross-quarter days’ in the Wheel of the Year. The Greater Sabbats are fire festivals that were often celebrated at the time of the new or full moon, with communities coming together to celebrate around a great fire.
For more information about and rituals to honour the Wheel of the Year, you can join my membership here.
WHAT DOES BELTANE MEAN SPIRITUALLY?
The spiritual themes of Beltane are truly beautiful. One of its key themes is weaving the soul, or the sacred, back into the physical. I resonate with this concept so much, and it’s actually one of the main goals of my work.
Beltane is also about keeping your heart open and recognising and celebrating love in all its forms. Other themes include sacred union, fertility, beauty and the balancing of opposites. And as a festival day at a time when the land is becoming ever more fertile and lush, it also has a quality of sensuality, reminding us to reconnect with and take care of our physical bodies.
This is the perfect time of the year to consider what energises us and lights us up. What fills you with passion and inspires you?
If you’d like some inspiration on how to celebrate Beltane, you can find a special module in my Membership focusing on this topic. It includes ideas for marking this festival day and a special meditation with Flora, the Roman goddess of spring and flowers called Experience Rapture with Flora.
Flora had her own flower festival, Floralia, which was held between April 28th and May 3rd, around the same time as Beltane, and she symbolises sensuality, love, devotion, romance, fertility, youth, ecstasy and pleasure.
Many patriarchal religions have placed a shameful cloak around sensuality, sex, pleasure, ecstasy, rapture, and sexuality. One of the most natural, pleasurable parts of life has become conditional and judged. Flora wants us to heal from this, and to remember that pleasure, sensuality, sexual preference, and expression of desire can be some of the most sacred, miraculous things about being a human on Earth.
The Experience Rapture with Flora Meditation is focussed on helping you to reconnect with your sensuality and experience your sensual nature and energy in all its glory at this time of the year.