Cat’s Bits for the Week of April 30- May 6: The Beltane Fire
May 1: Beltane/ Mayday
May 5: Cinco de Mayo
May 10: Full Moon at 5:42 pm EST
May 13: Celtic Tree Month of Hawthorn begins
May 14: Mother’s Day
May 25: New Moon at 3:44 pm EST
May 27: Ramadan begins
May 29: Memorial Day
Colors: Red, White, Brown, Pink, Green
Stones/Gems: Emerald, Malachite, Amber, Carnelian, Sapphire, Rose Quartz
Symbols & Decorations: The Maypole, bonfires, flowers, trees, plants, ploughs, cauldrons of flowers, broom
Foods: Dairy, bread, cereals
Flowers, Herbs: Lily of the valley, foxglove, rose, broom, hawthorne, dittany of crete, elder, mint, mugwort, thyme, yarrow, almond, tree/shrub, clover, ivy, marigold, meadowsweet, rowan, sorrel, woodruff
Deities: Aphrodite, Artemis, Bast, Diana, Faunus, Flora, Maia, Pan, the Horned God, Venus, and all Gods and Goddesses of fertility.
Animals: Swallow, dove, swan, cats, lynx, leopard
Come my lover, take ribbon in hand and dance the Maypole round, Over and under the colors are woven brilliant and breathless in Spring’s warm light.
Come my lover and dance with me, circle the Beltane fires,
A wink and smile as you pass by to make sure that I catch your eye.
Come my lover and walk with me into the magic night
Into the dark and silent trees where our greenwood marriage bed awaits
(C) Cat/LBolotin 2017
Article for the Week:
The Beltane Fire
by Cat Bolotin
The celebration of Beltane celebrates the joining of the Goddess and God. As the young God emerges into manhood, he is stirred by the primal energy of nature and the Goddess once his playmate and companion now becomes the object of his desire. She returns his adoration and they fall in love. As the natural world around them unites in the ages old dance of fertility, so do the Lord and Lady. The warm fertile earth is their bed and their bower is surrounded by spring flowers. The Goddess will become pregnant as is a symbol of earth’s fertility. This Sabbat is also called : Cetsamhain (opposite Samhain),May Day, Fairy Day,Sacred Thorn Day, Rood Day, Roodmas, the Christian term for Rood Day, Old Beltane, Beltaine, Beltain, Baltane, Walpurgis Night,Walpurgisnacht (Germanic-feast of St. Walpurga), Floriala (Roman feast of flowers from April 29 – May 1), Thrimilce =Anglo-saxon), Bloumaand (Old Dutch). Beltane/May Day usually brings to mind maypoles, may baskets, flowers, and of course bonfires.
The lighting of the Beltane fire or Balefire is one of the most widely known Celtic traditions for Beltane. These bonfires were lit to symbolize of the return of the sun for the summer half of the year. On May Eve (April 30) people would put out their hearth fires, then on Beltane (May 1) they would relight them from the celebratory bonfires. Once the fires were lit people would gather and the dancing could begin. They would dance around the fires, spiraling in and out. The next custom involved jumping the bonfires, this would ensure a successful growing season and a prosperous summer. According to Druid lore the men would jump first, followed by the women. Tools would purified (modern Pagans do this as well) and lastly, the herd animals would be driven through the embers or between the fires for protection, good health and purification. After the fires had died out the ashes would be scattered in the fields as an offering for fertile crops culminating in a good harvest. The ashes were also taken by women who wished to conceive a child, ashes would be placed in a small bag and worn around the neck. Ashes from the balefire can be scattered in the fields as a fertility charm. Women wishing to conceive can tie a bag of the ashes around their necks. Traditionally, cattle and other animals were driven between two fires for protection, healing, and purification. Modern pagans can ritually purify tools or other things in the balefire. Jump the dying embers of the fire for summer blessings.
Traditionally nine sacred woods were used to start the fires and each wood has its own magickal properties. The names of the wood to be used appears in the long versions of the Witches Rede, while the shorter versions contain the first and last sentence.
“Nine woods in the Cauldron go, burn them fast and burn them slow.
But – Elder is the Lady’s tree burn it not or cursed you’ll be.”
I have seen conflicting lists of the Sacred Woods but this is the one I use:
Oak~ Symbolizes the God and male energy
Birch~ Symbolizes the Goddess and female energy
Rowan or Mountain Ash: Symbolizes life
Hazel~ Symbolizes wisdom and knowledge
Willow~ Symbolizes death and the otherworld
Hawthorn~ Symbolizes fairy magick and purity
Vine~ Symbolizes happiness and joy
Fir~ Symbolizes birth and rebirth
Apple~ Symbolizes family and love
The sacred Beltane fire can also be made in your altar cauldron and you would only need a few chips or shavings from each of the 9 woods. However not everyone has access to wood chips let alone 9 different kinds of them. So if you are going to try this just do the best you can. Believe me, the Lady and Lord understand and will smile upon your effort!
Bright Blessings for a Magickal Week!
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