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Burning for Beltane

beltane bonfire

Does anyone else step into Beltane with their finest Julie Andrews impression prancing about and singing "May, it's May, the lovely month of May!" Or is it just me?

Beltane is the Gaelic May Day festival generally held on the first day of the month (or about halfway between the equinox and the solstice) and celebrates the start of summer. Historically, these celebrations are reminiscent of a modern-day spring cleaning party featuring cleansing fires, decorating everything with flowers, and then feasting (because no holiday is complete without a feast).

The roots of Beltane symbolically recognize our connection to the natural world. It is the reminder to care for our food sources, from fields of crops to herds of animals. It celebrates our water sources and mastery of fire. It is coming together as a group and creating a natural bounty for everyone to have enough to take home. How dope is that?! Could there be a more powerful message relevant to us now?

The ancient bonfire ritual was to extinguish all the personal hearths and cooking fires. Starting a new Beltane bonfire in the communal gathering space, everyone would re-light their own fires from this one shared flame. During the dark, cold months of winter, when folks would huddle up to their fireplaces, the knowledge their warmth came from the whole community would keep the spirit warm as well as the flesh. It was the constant reminder that the community would come together again.

This promise of hope speaks to me powerfully after a solid year of communities physically separating for the good of all to try and stop a pandemic. Throughout all of 2020, we spent time focusing on hearth and home, finding solace in unpopulated parts of nature when we dared venture into the wider world. In recent years, Beltane has been more about general merriment and laughter than a refocusing of intentions on communal society's base fundamentals. Still, I hope this year we take time to get back to basics:

  • Care for the land upon which we live.

  • Protect our food and water chains so they can continue to provide not only for us but for those that come after us.

  • Recognize that we are strong individuals, but we can create things bigger than any one of us could achieve alone when we come together in joyous union.

Today's celebrations have become diversified and personalized, though bonfires, flowers, and the general spirit of merriment at the arrival of summer remain at the core of the festivities. I urge those gathering (safely) in celebration this year to create something together that everyone can take a piece with them when returning home, such as:

  • A physical token to remind us throughout the year of the basics and our connection to each other

  • A small craft incorporating colorful ribbons or yarn such as the God's Eye

  • A giant piece of paper everyone paints or draws upon that can be divided into smaller pieces

It's also in the spirit of Beltane to make a small contribution to the craft, so be sure to let your invitees know in advance which supplies are needed. If everyone brings a couple of colors of paint, the whole rainbow will be available.

If you are celebrating this year, please share pictures of your gatherings and what you made together! Tag Freya's Fire on Facebook and Instagram so our community can celebrate with you.

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1 commentaire

amazing :)

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