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Beltane is Coming!

Beltane is coming up on May 1 for our northern hemisphere readers. This spring sabbat celebrates fertility and fire, and it's a time to rejoice in the return of life to the earth.

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Paganism / Wicca Spotlight10

Beltane Countdown: Legends and Lore

Saturday April 19, 2014

Get ready for Beltane!
Many Beltane customs relate
to fertility.
Image Getty Images
Beltane is a season rich with customs and traditions from around the world. Did you know that morning dew collected on Beltane is supposed to be wonderful for your complexion? Or that a special Beltane oatcake was thought to ensure an abundance of crops the following fall? Learn about these legends and more, with our Legends and Lore of Beltane.

Don't forget to sign up for the free Seven Day Beltane Class!

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Earth Day is April 22

Saturday April 19, 2014

Get back in touch with the
land around you.
Image Imagebank/Getty Images;
Licensed to About.com
Every year, when I post my annual "Hey, Earth Day is coming up!" blog entry, I inevitably get emails from people who tell me (1) Earth Day isn't a Pagan holiday so stop talking about it, (2) quit supporting the liberal ecoterrorist agenda, you damn hippie, and (3) Earth Day doesn't do anything to help the planet because people are still killing spotted owls so just shut up, Patti -- or some variation on these themes. And yes, some folks get really angry about it. So, this year, I will preface my post by saying simply: If you do not observe Earth Day, or if you have some sort of moral or ethical objection to it, or if you feel it's just plain useless, then you are more than welcome to just skip over this entry entirely. My feelings will not be hurt at all.

That having been duly noted, although Earth Day isn't an Official Pagan Holiday, many of us in the Pagan community choose to celebrate it as a way of marking our commitment to stewardship of our planet. After all, when I began walking a Pagan path, I realized fairly quickly that if you adhere to the concept of nature being sacred, it's pretty darn important not to treat our planet as your own personal garbage dump.

For many of us, Earth Day has become part of our cultural lexicon - it's been around for forty years now. Certainly, there are folks who pooh-pooh it, and that's okay -- but one of the important aspects of this yearly event is that because of the publicity that surrounds it, it's a good opportunity for otherwise indifferent people to start making some changes. Not only that, it's an opportunity to get kids involved in making earth-friendly choices.

Why does this matter? Well, if you're one of the folks whose spiritual path includes stewardship of the earth and its resources, or if your path's tenets include respecting and honoring nature, then you know that being eco-savvy isn't something you just do once a year in April. By teaching your children basic skills of environmental consciousness, they'll begin to practice earth-friendly living all year long. I put together a list of things you and your family can do to celebrate the earth and tie it in, in some way, to your Pagan beliefs: 10 Ways Pagans Can Celebrate Earth Day.

Looking for a small way to make a difference this year? Try one of the simple ideas in our article about Pagans and Earth Day.

The best place to get information is, of course, the official Earth Day homepage.

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Beltane Countdown: Decorate Your Altar

Friday April 18, 2014
For our northern hemisphere readers, it's Beltane, the Sabbat where many Pagans choose to celebrate the fertility of the earth. This Sabbat is about new life, fire, passion and rebirth, so there are all kinds of creative ways you can set up for the season. Depending on how much space you have, you can try some or even all of these ideas -- obviously, someone using a bookshelf as an altar will have less flexibility than someone using a table, but use what calls to you most: Setting Up Your Beltane Altar

Do you have your altar all prettied up for Beltane? If you'd like to share a photo of yours with the rest of us, you can send it using our new Submission Form: Beltane Altar Photos. There's no deadline, so if you want to wait and take your picture during ritual, that's totally fine. Remember, don't submit photos of altars that aren't yours, because I can't use them. Also, any file attachments sent via email instead of through the submission page will be deleted without being opened.

Need ideas for what to put on your altar? Check out older submissions: Beltane Altar Gallery 2008 - 2010.

Don't forget to sign up for the free Seven Day Beltane Class!

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Beltane Countdown: The Greek God Pan

Thursday April 17, 2014
In Greek legend and mythology, Pan is known as a rustic and wild god of the forest. He is associated with the animals that live in the woods, as well as with the sheep and goats in the fields. Because of his fertility aspects, Pan is often connected to the Beltane holiday season. Let's look at who Pan was, and why he is important: Who is the Greek God Pan?

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