Blessed be! The Wheel of the Year turns to Beltane (sometimes spelled Beltaine), or May Day. In the Northern Hemisphere, this cross-quarter Pagan celebration falls halfway between the Spring Equinox and the Summer Solstice.
Beltane celebrates the consummation of the union of God and Goddess, and fertility in general. The family-friendly explanation of Beltane is that it celebrates the fertility of the growing crops. Its primary symbols are the maypole and fire. One way to celebrate it is to bring greenery indoors from the woods or the nearest garden.
These are some of my best Beltane-related pins. First up, the illustration from my SexIs Magazine article "Sexual Tourism: An International Tour of Spring Fertility Festivals." It's from the Beltane Fire Festival, Calton Hill, Edinburgh, Scotland.
The god often associated with Beltane is Cernunnos, also called the Horned God. Horns are an ancient symbol of male fertility by association with horned livestock such as rams, goats and bulls.
Another of his incarnations is the Green Man, or Jack-o'-the-Green. The Green Man was a favorite motif of medieval church-builders. He's associated with a variety of folkloric figures, from fauns and satyrs to Robin Hood and Shakespeare's Puck to the Green Knight of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.
An especially lovely modern interpretation of Cernunnos is this one.
Did I mention I wrote an erotic romance novel with a contemporary Beltane festival as the setting? You can read the original short story that started it all at The Erotic Woman.
Have a blessed Beltane!
Beltane 2010 post: An interview with Peter Joseph Swanson
Beltane 2011 post: Guest post by Ruby Sara
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The Wheel of The Year. . by Maureen Murrish. $5.99 from Smashwords.com
The Wheel of the Year is a beginner's guide to celebrating the eight traditional pagan festivals of the the year.