Beltane 2023 is almost here, but have you ever wondered what it is, where it originates from, and how to celebrate it?
At its heart, Beltane is a celebration of the earth, nature, and fertility. The Wheel turns once more, and we are now at the halfway point between Ostara (spring) and summer solstice (the peak of summer). The days are getting longer and lighter, and the earth is heating up. Life and abundance are everywhere you turn. Flowers are blooming all around, animals are mating and birthing their young, and everything looks brighter and greener than just a few weeks ago.
In ancient times, people lived seasonally because they had no choice but to. By looking at the Wheel, we can immerse ourselves back into the natural rhythm of nature and feel more in harmony with our own bodies and the earth. Beltane is a time to be bold and creative and channel your energy outward.
So whether you feel like springing into action in your sacred work, spending more time outdoors, dancing naked in your garden, or cooking up a feast with your loved ones, don’t let Beltane slip by without honoring it in some way. At the end of this post, you’ll find an array of ideas to help you celebrate Beltane solo or with your soul family.
When is beltane?
Beltane is one of the eight main holidays of the Wheel and happens on May 1st each year.
The wheel of the year holidays:
- Samhain (October 31st to November 1st)
- Yule/Winter Solstice (December 20th-23rd)
- Imbolc (February 1st)
- Ostara/Spring Equinox (March 20th-23rd)
- Beltane (May 1st)
- Litha/Summer Solstice (June 20th-23rd)
- Lammas (August 1st)
- Mabon/Autumn Equinox (September 20th-23rd)
What does the word beltane mean?
The word Beltane originates from the Celtic words “Baal” or “bel,” which translates to “bright one” or “bright fire.”
And lighting a big fire is a common way to celebrate Beltane, which I’ll explore in more detail later.
Symbols of beltane
Colors: White, green, yellow, gold, red.
Foods: Honey, asparagus, beetroot, new potatoes, peas, rocket, spring greens, watercress.
Crystals & stones: Sunstone, turquoise, garnet, tiger’s eye, carnelian.
Symbols: Fire, maypole, basket, flower crown, fairies, bees.
Flowers & Plants: Hawthorn, ash, sycamore, roses, rowan, primrose, gorse, hazel
Deities: Flora, Freya, Aphrodite, Rhiannon, the Great Horned God.
What is beltane?
Beltane is a midpoint festival that coincides with planting time. If you live somewhere in the northern hemisphere with clear seasons (spring, summer, autumn, and winter), you will notice the days getting lighter and longer and the sun heating up outside. You’ll see plants and flowers beaming with life around you and the birds and bees busy at work. If you live in the southern hemisphere, everything is reversed.
In ancient times, farmers would move their livestock from winter pastures over to the hills for the summer grazing season. They would light special fires on their way as protection to ensure no harm came to their animals and also to increase their fertility.
Homes, doorways, and windows would be decorated with the beautiful abundance of flowers in the land, giving everything a lovely lift.
Beltane is also the point of peak fertility in the year. The Goddess (the feminine) and the Green Man (the masculine) come together in sacred union to create new life. This is why people would make a maypole and dance around it on Beltane. The pole represents the masculine, while the ribbons represent the feminine, wrapping herself around the masculine. Lovers would traditionally get outdoors and have sex in nature to celebrate this abundant energy.
How to celebrate beltane 2023: 13 rituals to try this year
If you feel the urge to sync back into the rhythm of mamma nature, celebrating the festivals of the Wheel of the year is one of the simplest ways to do so.
To celebrate Beltane, I’ve compiled a list of simple rituals you can do alone or with your loved ones. Pick and choose what you like. Do one of them, or do them all. Let your intuition guide you.
1. Decorate your altar in the theme of beltane
If you have a sacred altar of some sort, it can be really nice to celebrate the sabbats by decorating your altar in theme with them. This will bring the energy of the season into your home, and you can even use the things you forage (e.g., flowers, morning dew, candles) in your spells and rituals.
And if you don’t have an altar, why not create one? It’s so simple, and you don’t need a tray or base; you can arrange your objects on a coffee table or bookcase.
Use the symbols of Beltane above to guide you, but also trust yourself. Incorporate what you feel drawn to. Maybe that’s some flowers from your garden, a candle of a particular color, ribbons, crystals, essential oils mixed with water in a chalice, and anything else that feels of the season.
2. Light a bonfire
How to celebrate Beltane? With fire, of course! Fire symbolizes the sun and has powerful protective, cleansing, and transformational energies.
Light a large candle indoors or a small fire in your garden, and let the flames burn away anything in your life you wish to release. You might write a note and throw it into the fire. Alternatively, get together with your inner circle and have a bonfire. Enjoy the heat and allow your eyes to be mesmerized by the dancing flames.
3. Make a maypole
Maypoles are traditionally linked to the festival of Beltane, which loosely evolved into “May Day.” You don’t have to overwhelm yourself with creating a full-size maypole. Make a mini one with a small piece of wood topped with a crystal and decorated with ribbons.
Place it on your altar to remind yourself of the sacred union between the masculine and the feminine.
4. Cook up a feast
All the sabbats are wonderful opportunities to cook up a feast using the seasonal produce available. This will depend on where you live, so try and find a local organic farmer’s market and let yourself get inspired. Come together with friends and celebrate Beltane with great food, drink, and company. Remember to make a food offering to the fairies or elves.
5. Spend time with your lover in nature
If you are in a romantic relationship and would like to try making love and experiencing sacred union outdoors with mamma nature, Beltane is the perfect time to do so. If you live in the countryside and have somewhere private to do this, that’s perfect. Gardens, forests, and fields are ideal as long as you know you won’t be disturbed!
Stay out all day and night and return home at dawn together. Pick some wildflowers up on your way.
6. Go camping
If making love in the open is not for you, you could move it into a tent and make a camping trip out of it. Or gather a group of friends and camp at the beach, and be sure to light a fire. Toast some marshmallows. Give thanks for everything good in your world. Lay on your back and sleep under the stars. Wake up early and watch the sunrise.
You may be noticing a theme of Beltane, which is to get outdoors! It doesn’t matter what you do; just create space to soak up all the life and beauty that nature offers right now.
7. Create beltane baskets for friends
If you want to make gifts for your friends and share the love at Beltane, pick up some baskets from your local craft store and fill them with goodies. Think wildflowers, candles, crystals, seasonal food and drink, and more. Decorate your basket with a beautiful ribbon.
Leave them on the doorsteps for your loved ones to find (as long as they’re out of reach of little human and animal hands!).
8. Decorate your home
Decorating your altar may be enough, but if you want to go all-out this Beltane, extend the decorations to your entire home.
Fill some hanging baskets with seasonal flowers and place them at the entrance to your home. Decorate your windows and doors with flowers and ribbons. You can even decorate the trees in your back garden with ribbons. Have fun arranging foraged flowers into beautiful, wild bouquets, and let their sweet aroma fill your home.
9. Adorn yourself with a flower crown
If you love flower crowns, it can be really fun to celebrate Beltane by making your own. Who says you have to save them for weddings or festivals?! Adorning yourself with flowers helps connect you to the abundance of Gaia and your sexual power.
If you have young daughters or nieces, this can be a great way to get them involved in the festival and teach them more about Beltane and the Wheel.
Go outdoors to forage wildflowers, or see what you can find in your garden or local flower shop. Collect twigs and leaves too.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- A bouquet’s worth of flowers
- Measuring tape
- Floristry wire
- Green floristry tape
- Floristry scissors
- Ribbon of your choice
Check out this simple guide to make your own flower crown at home.
10. Feed all your senses
Beltane is a time to have a party for all five of your senses, and it’s no surprise that it coincides with Taurus season.
Devour fresh and rich foods, adorn yourself in floral perfumes, ditsy prints, and silky fabrics that feel heavenly against your skin, listen to music that energizes you, and head outdoors and soak up the sound of nature.
11. Cast a fertility spell
Ostara and Beltane are the two sabbats linked to fertility. So if you want to conceive and are ready to be a mother, this is a perfect time.
If you need help, acknowledge any struggle you face, and cast a fertility spell at your altar. Trust that if you are here to be a mother in this lifetime, it will happen for you in some way or another.
12. Make the most of the creative energy available
And if you have no plans to have babies now (or ever), you can celebrate Beltane by harnessing the creative energy that is ripe around this time. Look back at the new intentions you set at Imbolc and the progress you’ve made. Think about what further action you can take to move forward in your deepest soul desires.
Or indulge in the season and create something new. Maybe you plant a herb garden, paint something, bake a cake, write a poem… whatever you feel called to do. Let your inspiration guide you.
13. Wash with morning dew
You may have noticed the morning dew that rests on top of blades of grass and flowers in the mornings. On May 1st, this morning dew is said to be particularly magical and potent. It can purify and bring beauty to anyone who washes with it.
So head outdoors and collect some morning dew in a small jar. You can add some herbs or flower petals to infuse a delicate aroma into the dew. Wash your face with it, add it to a bath, or keep it on your altar for your next spell.
Are you ready to celebrate beltane 2023?
I hope this post has helped you understand what Beltane is and given you some great inspiration on how to celebrate it in a way that feels right for you.
I’d love to know how you’re marking this turn of the Wheel. Drop your Beltane rituals with me in the comments below.