Thursday 30 April 2020

Celebrating Beltane at Home or in Your Garden

Beltane, tomorrow on May 1, is a time for celebrating the joys of spring. When we aren't in lockdown, there are usually Jack in the Green celebrations, fire festivals and even a dragon parade in Glastonbury, but this year most people are going to need to celebrate at home. If you are lucky enough to have your own garden, then you can still get outside and appreciate the natural world in your own space. A witchy friend, Jane Mortimer, wrote:
Each spring, my lawn is covered with lesser celandines, and they're just too nice to murder with the mower. Now they've gone over, and there's a lovely patch of daisies at one end and dandelions at the other, and not much in the middle. As I plan to do an outdoor solitary Beltane ritual, I thought I'd mark out my sacred space with the mower [pictured above]. The paving I will mark out with lanterns and twigs. The circle is 12 feet in diameter, as I find the traditional 9 feet cramped with an altar in the middle and candles round the outside, especially as I wear long ritual robes that could easily catch fire. This year we're going to have a ready-made ritual circle surrounded by areas of meadow, not a manicured lawn!
If you are unable to get outdoors, then you could do a guided visualisation to journey into the wild in your mind's eye. Here is a link to a guided visualisation for Beltane Eve called The Path to Love.  This and other seasonal visualisations are also in my book Pagan Portals - Guided Visualisations, which is available for pre-order and is due to reach shops later in the year.

I mentioned that Beltane is often celebrated with fire. In the Pagan Wheel of the Year it is one of the big fire festivals. Indoors, you could light a candle to represent this. The picture to the left shows my altar for a solitary Beltane rite a few years ago, using a lovely ritual kit from Wicca Moon, with a large candle in the centre.

However, if you are having breathing problems, candles are best avoided, and they can set off sensitive smoke alarms too. Use LED tealights instead if you are worried. Put them in a decorated tealight holder and the glow is still lovely. Another suggestion is to download a picture of a fire or candle onto your phone or tablet and meditate on that. You could use the photo at the bottom of this post if you like.

If you are tempted to set up a fire pit in your garden, do be very careful. If you live in a built-up area with lots of people living around you, remember that smoke from fires could exacerbate breathing problems. I'm lucky that my garden backs onto a playing field that isn't in use at all at the moment, but I'd still avoid having even a tiny outdoor fire if the wind direction was towards my neighbours' homes.

The book Every Day Magic - A Pagan Book of Days has several suggestions for easy things you can do to celebrate Beltane at home, including preparing seasonal food and drink for a May Day feast. You could forage for wild food close to home or in your garden.

Mabh Savage suggests collecting hawthorn or May blossom at dawn, if any is flowering close to your home, and hanging it over your door for protection. You can also bring blossom and other flowers indoors to make a seasonal mandala of petals to meditate on.

While you might not be able to dance in a huge public celebration, you can still dance at home. Put on music and let the joys of spring fill you. Raise energy to make your wishes come true. Irisanya writes: "This is a time to dance all of your desires into existence."

You can view Every Day Magic on Amazon and also view Pagan Portals Guided Visualisations on Amazon.

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