Welcome to the Season of Fire!
As the wheel continues to turn we find ourselves at Beltane. I thought I would start this issue with a little history of Beltane. There are many ways people celebrate this Sabbat. The most common tradition involves the May Pole where participants dance around the pole in alternating directions with ribbons. As they dance the pole is covered with the colorful woven ribbons. Another tradition from ancient times involves lighting bonfires. In some cultures, once the fires were burning brightly the participants would jump the fire three times. In Ireland, the Druids watched as the cows were driven between two bonfires. The feast afterwards always involved oat cakes.
Mummery also is an old tradition with roots in England to Germany. Groups of people would go from house to house performing short plays in exchange for food and drink. This is also a great time to interact with faeries. With the arrival of flowers come the faeries. It is always important to thank faeries for good deeds or good fortune. If a person failed to acknowledge the faeries, the faeries may feel slighted and there could repercussions. Two goddesses associated with Beltane are Maia and Flora. They are both flower goddesses. To honor these goddesses, decorate your altars with flowers. Another tradition is to deliver May baskets. These baskets are full of flowers and are placed on doorsteps of neighbors.
Beltane is also a festival of sensuality and sexuality. It is a good time to get in touch with your body. So often we see unrealistic images of women. We need to accept and love who we are. We should be proud of our bodies. We should invoke Freyja, the Norse goddess of sensuality and sexuality. Plan an evening just for you to pamper your body. We know we cannot love others if we cannot love ourselves.
Here in Florida we have been experiencing hot weather since the Spring Equinox. We do not have the flowery bulbs like northern climates but we have annuals and perennial flowers. If you sit outside you can hear the bees humming in the palm nuts. I have tried to plant annuals but they only last a couple of days until the rabbits find them. Now all I have are green stalks about an inch tall. Unfortunately with all of the pollen I haven’t been able to spend time outside.
We do have a few new friends this year. We have a new young black racer snake that has taken up residence on the north side of the house. The older black racer snake has grown longer and thicker over the winter and lives on the south side of the house. This is one of the snake skins we found in the yard. The other day my husband called me to look out the front door. On the sidewalk was a young corn snake. I have to wonder if this is the same one we saw last year behind the generator. Every time Jerry would go out to paint something he would pull out a plastic table cloth that he stores behind the generator. When he was done and putting the table cloth back the corn snake would be underneath. It is a wonder the poor creature hasn’t been crushed during any painting project.
May you all be blessed this season.
To read the entire Beltane edition Click Here
Photo credit for May Pole: “Maypole in Brentwood, California” by Jengod – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Maypole_in_Brentwood,_California.JPG#/media/File:Maypole_in_Brentwood,_California.JPG
All other photos by Dawn Thomas
Dawn “Belladonna” Thomas is a High Priestess and Elder of The Apple Branch, a Dianic Tradition. She is the editor and book reviewer for the Oracle and was the Treasurer for The Global Goddess, a non-profit organization. She recently graduated from the University of Florida fulfilling a lifelong goal of completing her college education. She has been published in several magazines for her paper crafting designs. She is the owner of Belladonna’s Garden and makes homemade soaps. She is an avid gardener and lives in Florida with husband. Her Blog: http://becomingbelladonna.blogspot.com/