If you're holding any kind of Beltane celebration at all, it's all about the flowers! Be sure to jazz up your festivities with a crown of flowers -- it looks beautiful on any woman, and really brings out the goddess within. Not only that, it's pretty heavy on the fertility symbolism as well. A floral crown is easy to make with just a few basic craft supplies: Make a Floral Crown
When Margaret Murray wrote her ground-breaking God of the Witches, in 1931, scholars quickly dismissed her theory of a universal, pre-Christian cult of witches who worshiped a singular mother goddess. However, Murray wasn't completely off-base; a number of individual cults existed in pre-Christian Europe which honored mother goddesses of their own. Take advantage of the blooming of spring in the Northern Hemisphere, and use this time to celebrate the archetype of the mother goddess, and honor your own female ancestors and friends: Beltane Goddess Ritual.
Note: One year, when I posted this ritual, I received an email from a reader who chastised me for posting a goddess-themed ritual for Beltane, which is traditionally a masculine-energy sort of holiday. However, as I pointed out to her, there are many of our readers here at About Pagan/Wiccan who honor only a female deity in their practice, and so I felt it was important to include a ritual that would be useful for those individuals and groups. Clearly, if your tradition does not celebrate the feminine during this time of year, then this particular ritual may not be applicable to your practice.
It's almost Beltane in the Northern Hemisphere, and that means it's time to talk about fertility! Did you know that in ancient Rome, landowners believed that sexual activity taking place in the fields would lead to bountiful crops? Or that in Japan, a centuries-old festival is held that includes a giant penis-shaped parade float? This time of year is a good time to do some fertility magic so that you will have an abundant crop by the time the harvest rolls around. There are many different methods of ensuring the fertility of the land, and you can incorporate any of these into your rituals and ceremonies: Beltane Fertility Customs
Beltane is almost here, and it's a great time to get together with family and friends. After all, the weather is finally decent, the sun is out, and we're all tired of being cooped indoors. Celebrate the spirit of the season with this easy Green Man cake - although the recipe calls for a boxed cake mix for simplicity, you can certainly make yours from scratch if you've got the time: Green Man Cake
For our ancient ancestors, many spirits and deities were associated with nature, wildlife, and plant growth. After all, if you had just spent the winter starving and freezing, when spring arrived it was certainly time to give thanks to whatever spirits watched over your tribe. The spring season, particularly around Beltane, is typically tied to a number of pre-Christian nature spirits. Many of these are similar in origin and characteristics, but tend to vary based on region and language. In English folklore, few characters stand out -- or are as recognizable -- as the Green Man, who is the spirit of the forest: Who is the Green Man?
It's almost Beltane, so let's look at some Beltane magic that will get your creative juices flowing! In many traditions of Paganism, handcrafts are used as a magical process. Weaving and braiding in particular are meditative exercises, and so magical workings can be incorporated into the creative technique. If you think about it, fibers in one form or another have been around for thousands of years, so it makes sense that our ancestors could have utilized them in spell work and ritual as well. More about Magical Braiding and Weaving
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.
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.
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.
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?