Beltane - May Day
Arise at dawn and wash in the morning dew: the woman who washes her face
in it will be beautiful; the man who washes his hands will be skilled
with knots and nets.
If you live near water, make a garland or posy of spring flowers and
cast it into stream, lake or river to bless the water spirits.
Prepare a May basket by filling it with flowers and goodwill, then give
it to one in need of caring, such as a shut-in or elderly friend.
Beltane is one of the three "spirit-nights" of the year when the faeries
can be seen. At dusk, twist a rowan sprig into a ring and look through
it,and you may see them.
Make a wish as you jump a bonfire or candle flame for good luck—but
make sure you tie up long skirts first!
Make a May bowl —wine or punch in which the flowers of sweet
woodruff or other fragrant blossoms are soaked—and drink with the one you love.
Celebrants sometimes jump over broomsticks, especially at Handfastings
which are very common during this season, or dance around May Poles, as
both of these are symbols of fertility.
Traditional activities include blowing horns, and gathering flowers.
Solitary Practitioners might consider the weaving together of ribbons as
an alternative to creating and dancing around the May Pole.
Many like to celebrate Beltane by decorating their homes and themselves
with fresh flower garlands, or by stringing up greenery around their
homes and places of work.
Sending flowers to loved ones, planting new gardens, cleaning out the
cupboards and general spring cleaning are all traditional Beltane
Plaiting and weaving straw, creating things with wicker, making baskets
and fabrics are traditional arts for this turn in the Wheel
Of the Year.
The first of May is Beltane or May Day, a time to celebrate the leaping
Fires of passion. It marks the height of spring and the flowering of all
Life. Beltane is a festival of sensuality, sexuality, flowers and delight.
It is a traditional time to make love, preferably outdoors.
There are many lovely old customs associated with this time. Here are seven
Simple ideas for celebrating this wild red time of year:
1. Make a May basket. Fill it with flowers or other outdoor objects. Leave
It on a doorstep of someone who cannot get outside, such as an invalid or
2. Make a wreath of freshly picked flowers and wear it in your hair.
3. Perfume your house with delicate scent of woodruff, a tiny, star-like
Flower that blooms around this time in the Northern Hemisphere.
4. Dress in bright colors, especially hot pink or crimson, the traditional
Colors of Beltane.
5. Erect a Maypole in your yard. It doesn't have to be tall. You can use a
Yardstick, broomstick, or even a twig. At the top of the pole affix
Different colored ribbons. Get a group of friends, and have each choose a
Ribbon and make a wish upon it. (For example, "I choose this red ribbon for
More passion in my life.") Dance around the Maypole entwining your ribbons
Together. Then take the entwined ribbons and make a hair wreath out of them.
Take turns wearing it.
6. Embrace the ones you love. Hugs and kisses all around.
7. Write poetry about Beltane, and then recite your poems aloud, preferably
Outside. Try haiku, an ancient Japanese poetry-art form. Haiku consist of
Three unrhymed lines of five, seven and five syllables.
Here are three haiku About May to give you the idea:
Happy women weave colored ribbons round their hearts dreams become prayers
Flap your black swan wings hoot like a young chimpanzee dance a lively dance
Petals will open roses show their hot male hearts make love to yourself
Holidays are days made holy by the attention we pay them. Simple practices
Such as the ones listed above remind us that we too dance to the natural
Rhythms of the earth.
In Ireland there are many superstitions associated with the Beltane or Roodmas festival. I thought you might enjoy reading a few and put some to Use if you desire. Many superstitions are associated with Beltane. Here are some, just to name a few:
1. Between sunset on May Eve and the dawn of May Day, one should stay close to home and never sleep outdoors. If you must be out and about, a piece of Iron in the pocket might give some protection, as will a spent cinder from the hearth, or a sprig of mountain ash.
2. Many people leave the fairies an offering of food and drink either on their doorstep, or at a fort, lone bush or other fairy dwelling.
3. A favorite prank of the good folk is to cause people to lose their way by bringing down a mist. One way to protect against this is to wear your coat inside out. This disguise will confuse them and might allow you to escape.
4. Care should be taken not to keep anything you find of value on the Roadway or anywhere. Best of all, don't pick it up. But, if you wish to be neighborly, you should place the article on a fence, gate or bush so that the rightful owner can find it again.
5. The first water taken from the well on May Day was variously known as the top of the well' or 'the luck of the well'. In evil hands this water could do great harm; but in the hands of the rightful owner, it brought Luck, protection and healing.
6. A child born on May Day has the gift of being able to see the fairies -But it was believed the child would not live a long life. Animals born on this day were also sure to be weaklings.
7. If a girl went out into the garden before sunrise on May 1st, she could find out the name of her future spouse by taking up the first snail or slug she finds. This is put on a plate sprinkled with flour. A cabbage leaf is placed on top and left until after sunrise. Then, according to the Superstition, she will find the initials of her lover traced in the flour.
8. The call of the cuckoo is ominous - to hear it on your right brings Luck; on the left, ill fortune; from a church yard meant a death in the Family, and before breakfast, a hungry year. Beltane Blessings
Fried honey cakes
These cakes are not unlike those made on the night before Beltane by women around the turn of the century. These cakes were left in the garden to please Faery visitors. This was my favorite recipe for Beltane.
1/2 cup sweet white wine
2 tablespoons sugar
1 cup honey
2/3 cup flour
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
Oil for frying
1/8 teaspoon salt
Beat the wine & egg in a medium bowl. Combine the flour, cinnamon, salt & sugar in a small bowl. Stir into the egg mixture. Let stand 30 minutes. Combine the honey & nutmeg in a small bowl. Heat 1/2-inch of the oil in a frying pan until hot, but not smoking. Drop the batter into the oil 1 tablespoon at a time; fry until golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Dip into the honey.
Juice of Love
1 package of frozen strawberries with the juice
2 cups of either pineapple juice or orange juice
2/3 cup nonfat dry milk
8 ice cubes
2 teaspoons sugar
Put all the ingredients into a blender, and blend until smoothie" texture.
Rose Petal, chamomile, lavender Jelly
1 cup tightly pressed rose petals
1/8 cup crushed chamomile
1/4 cup crushed lavendar
1 pack dry pectin
3 1/2 cups water
4 cups sugar
Hothouse roses are fine for this jelly, but home grown or wild roses are best. I found a wild primrose bush with lovely pink and white petals, growing next to honeysuckle. If you do find wild roses, be aware of what's growing around it...poison ivy isn't the best added flavor.
Thoroughly clean the petals, making sure all of the little bugs aren't in your mixture. Mix them with the chamomile and lavendar, then add the boiling water, to cover all of the ingredients. Cover the pot, let it stand for one hour.
Strain the floral matter from the liquid twice with a cheesecloth, making sure all that you have is pure liquid. The petals, chamomile, and lavendar make an excellent facial poltice for tired eyes and oily skin.
Add the pectin to the liquid and bring to a boil, then add all of the sugar at once, stirring carefully but quickly. Bring to a rolling boil for one minute, stirring constantly, then remove from heat. Remove as much foam as you can from the top, otherwise, you have funky white clouds in you jelly. Stir for a few minutes, until the mixture starts to cool, then pour into hot, clean jars for canning. Jelly jars with their lids work wonderfully for this. Seal jars. Either by attaching a sealing lid and boil water bath for 15 minutes or with parafin wax. Both work great
Or you can simply do this. Let your jelly stand for one hour in the jars, then put them in the fridge to hasten their setting. Depending on the size of your jars, you should have edible jelly one hour after putting them in the fridge.
The color of you rose petals determines the color of your jelly. With my pink and white primroses, I got a lovely reddish-golden color, and a delicate taste. This jelly complements jasmine tea, as well as lavendar and chamomile, even plain old Lipton.
Calling on Pan
Make a circle and use noise makers . I use my hubby's old deer caller
And dance around a fire called a pan fire . And sing: in any tune
That is comfortable for you and your members.
Pan Pan come dance the ring
Pan pan come hear us sing
Pan Pan my forest friend
Dance til night is done
Then begin again
Pan Pan my forest God
It is in your honor this
Sod we trod
Pan Pan come dance the ring
Pan pan come hear us sing
Then all of a sudden everyone blow the deer callers or noise makers .