Beltane is the time of year when many Pagans celebrate the fertility of the earth, and the union of the Goddess and her young consort the Horned God. Beltane is a Fire Festival, and fire plays a large part in many Beltane celebrations. Because this Sabbat is all about life, fertility, passion and rebirth, you can let your creativity run wild.
Beltane altars are very personal, and when you connect to the new life, new beginnings and fertility of Beltane it can become even more personal and unique. As with any altar, you can be as creative or as minimalistic as you want it to be, there are no hard and fast rules. Always follow your instincts and intuition. If you feel you have to put something pink on your altar…do it! It’s your altar! Obviously, if you are creating an altar as part of a coven, it has to be a community decision, but make sure your opinions and ideas are heard and put in the mix.
Beltane is the time when the earth is starting to become lush and green. The grass and trees have new growth that have pushed through after the long sleep of winter. With this, use bright colors that reflect this: yellows, purples, lilacs, pinks, bright greens, pale/sky blue. You can use one or all of these colors on your altar. You can incorporate them very easily with Altar cloths, candles, and ribbons.
Beltane at its heart is about fertility, so you can incorporate symbols that represent fertility on your altar. It is the time of the year where the God (or male energy) is at his most potent, and can be represented by an erect phallus. If you cannot have one of these, you can use other items to represent the Male aspect: sticks, wands, athames, things that are generally Phallic in shape. The Maypole is an iconic symbol of Beltane; there are few things that are more phallic shaped than a pole sticking up. So, consider creating your very own maypole centerpiece for your Beltane altar.
As we move from the lusty God, we move to the fertile feminine energies of the Goddess. The Earth is the Ultimate Goddess and she is awaiting seeds to be planted so she can grow them from within her. The Goddess is symbolized by statues of the Goddess figure, but also by Cups, Cauldrons, Chalices, bowls, and anything you feel represents the Feminine energy. The ribbons that wrap around the phallic maypole represent the Goddess.
One of the most well known rituals associated with Beltane is the Great Rite, and if you are choosing to symbolically represent this union, you will need an item you feel is representing the God and Goddess. Athame, Wand, Sticks are all common to represent the God, and Chalices, Cups, Bowl or Rings are common representations of the Goddess.
As Beltane is a Fire festival, you may choose to incorporate Fire into your Beltane altar. You can do this by adding candles – the more the better really, or having a small indoor fire with your cast iron cauldron. The Balefire is a popular custom, but not everyone can hold a large bonfire, so burn a candle and surround it with sticks. Another way would be to use battery candles or fairy lights to represent the fire, and surround them with sticks pointing upwards mimicking a large Balefire.
Beltane is known to be sacred to the Fae realms. You can leave offerings for the Fae in the form of biscuits or sweets.
Lastly, you can add seasonal flowers to your altars, to add some color. You can also add a bowl of seeds, including seeds that you are planning to plant in your garden over the year.
Correspondences for Beltane
Essence/Meaning: Compassion, Youthful, Playfulness, Sensuality, Sexuality, Lust, Passion, the Arrival of the Tuatha de Dannan to Ireland, the Union of the God and Goddess, Love, Romance, Fertility Magic, and Faery Magic. Offerings to the Elements, Crop Blessings, Relighting Sacred Fires, Divination, Building & creating Sacred Spaces, Honoring House and Home Spirits or Guardians, Dancing around a Maypole, jumping a Balefire, Frolicking in Fields, The Great Rite – Literal or Symbolic Union
Animals/Mythical Beings: White Cow, Goat, Giants, Honey Bees, Faeries, Satyrs, Fawns, Pegasus, and Rabbit.
Crystals: Emerald, Carnelian, Sapphire, Rose Quartz, Lapis Lazuli, Yellow Agate, Bloodstone
Incense: Passionflower, Frankincense, Tuberose, Vanilla, Lilac, Rose.
Colors: Red, Orange, Yellow, Gold, Green, Blue, White, and Silver
Tools/Symbols/Decorations: Maypole, Ribbons, Flowers, Flower Crowns, Bowers, White Flowers, Daisy Chains, White Wine, Fire, Balefires, Chalice & Athame, Seasonal Fruit and Vegetables.
Goddesses: May Queen, Flora, Maia, Floral Goddesses, Aphrodite, Blodewedd, Erzulie, Baubo, Rhea, Prithvi.
Gods: May King, the Horned God, Herne, Cernunnos, the Green Man, Bel, Ba’al, Gods of the Hunt.
**Beltane is the Union of the God and the Goddess; this can be represented literally, or symbolically.
Foods: Dairy, Honey, Oats, Red Fruits, Salads, Red or Rose Wine, Meat, Sweet Treats, Cakes, Almonds.
Herbs: Angelica, Damina, Hawthorn, Hibiscus, Saffron, Ash Tree, Bluebell, Cinquefoil, Daisy, Frankincense, Ivy, Lilac, Marsh Marigold, Meadowsweet, Primrose, Rose, Satyrion Root, Woodriff, Cowslip, Yarrow.
Time of Day: Dawn
🔥 As Beltane is a Fire Festival (one of 4 in the Wheel of the Year) you can build or attend a Bonfire – known as a Balefire.
🔥 You can make your own Maypole and have this on your Altar.
🔥 Attend a Beltane/May Day event where you can dance around a Maypole
🔥 At sunrise on Beltane, collect the dew from the grass or flowers and wash your face.
🔥Make Daisy Chains or chains of other flower and wreaths
🔥Make headdresses from flowers to wear or place on top of a Maypole
🔥Braid flowers in your hair
🔥Make masks to represent the Green Man – or the Horned God
🔥 Commune with Faeries.
🔥Make a Wish at the Hawthorn Tree – a tree closely associated with the Fae. Take strips of cloth (in a color that represents your type of wish) and tie your cloth or ribbon to a branch on the tree. **blue for health, pink for love, red for passion, gold or green for prosperity, silver for spirituality) . When you tie your cloth or ribbon to the tree, visualize what you are wishing for, keep this clear in your mind. One you are done, leave a gift of thanks for the tree.
🔥 When you mark out your circles for any Beltane rituals, use oatmeal. This is a traditional grain that is associated with Beltane.
🔥 Make love! Beltane is a fertility festival, and is traditionally where the God and Goddess consummate their love and their passions. **If you are single, and don’t have a partner, you can create the union of the God and Goddess symbolically by placing an Athame (or wand) tip down into a Chalice (or cup/bowl).
🔥 For those who are wishing to get married, there is a tradition where the bride and groom (or lovers) pledge to live together as man and wife for a year and a day, then at the end of this period, they decide whether to part ways if things didn’t work out, or if everything went well, they make further plans to get married.
*)O(* Rainbow Love, Light and Blessings *)O(*