B begins Beltaine,
the faeries' balefire day
~~from ABC Book of Shadows, by Katie Lydon Olivares
with Artwork by April Choi
published by Itty Bitty Witch Works, 2005
Looking through my books this morning; perusing for inspiration and ideas to celebrate the wonderful sabbat of Beltane. (This sabbat is also spelled Beltaine, Bealtaine depending on your tradition.) Beltane is the epitome of Spring Festivals. Imagine hundreds and hundreds of years ago, villagers gathering together to observe this event that represents fertility in all its glory. Fields are waiting to be planted and flowers are blooming . The air is filled with birdsong, and the skies are the beautiful colors of spring blues. The countryside is redolent with life, love and laughter. The return of spring in its fullness is creating an atmosphere of happiness and hope. Balefires (bonfires) are built, greenery and flowers are gathered and worn and strewn about. Food and drink abound, and all is well. And let's not forget the Maypole, bedecked with long trailing ribbons and flower, with young and old dancing and weaving the ribbons around the pole.
Traditionally the Beltane fires were lit on the night of April 30th, often made using 9 types of wood. People would jump over the fires. Later that night, lovers young and not so young would make their way to cozy nooks and hidden forest places for joyful encounters. Beltane is indeed, a joyful time to celebrate fertility of the fields, and of the family. May 1st, May Day, dawns and now is the time for more feasting, dancing and singing.
Symbolically, the God is a virile young man, the Goddess, the beautiful maiden. Their union will later symbolize the beauty and fertility of the planted fields, growth and harvest.
This time of year is full of anticipation of the coming summer and all of summer's bounty.
Here are four books I am looking at today to help me plan my sabbat. I would love to hear your reading recommendations.
Wicca, A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner by Scott Cunningham
Beltane by Raven Grimassi
Sabbats A Witch's Approach to Living the Old Ways by Edain McCoy
Simple Wicca by Michele Morgan