Cascadia Druids: White Mountain Druid Sanctuary Blog

White Mountain Druid Sanctuary (WMDS) is a Druid inspired Pagan site in Trout Lake, Washington. This blog describes the planning and creation of the Stone Circle, Shrines and physical surroundings that are being built there.

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A Druidic Beltane

 

In the Northern Hemisphere, the period around the 1st of May is observed by many pagans as Beltane, based on the Gaelic celebration that traditionally marked the beginning of summer. As a celebration of life, which is bursting forth in abundance at the peak of spring, it is easy to see why this holy day is so popular with pagans of so many paths, including Druids.

The origins of Beltane go back to pre-Christian Ireland, although similar observations can be found in other Indo-European cultures. As one of the four main ‘Fire Festivals’ of the year (the others being Imbolc, Lughnasadh and Samhain), Beltane had special significance in Celtic communities as a time to purify and bless cattle, to go along with the lighting of sacred bonfires. In recent times, Beltane has become associated with a variety of ‘May Day’ celebrations, including dancing around the maypole and asking for blessings of fertility.

In Druidry, Beltane celebrations are just as important, and in many cases blend elements of both the past and the present. Because Beltane occurs at a time when the land is flush with new growth and life, many Druidic celebrations honor the land and nature spirits at this time with special offerings. In traditional lore, May Eve was associated with the emergence of the Fae, so ritual work may be done to ensure they are properly honored lest they cause mischief. As in ancient times, fire may be used to consecrate and purify both sacred space and participants, where it is safe to do so. The old tradition of jumping the bonfire may still be re-enacted, provided that it is done outdoors, and care taken to prevent garments (like long ritual robes) from catching on fire!

 At White Mountain Druid Sanctuary, the Welsh version of Beltane, known as Calan Haf, will be celebrated on April 28th at 5:30 pm. During the ritual, the goddess Rhiannon will be honored, along with her husband, the hero Pwyll. This Mabinogion-inspired rite will celebrate their union, which is symbolic of the emerging energies in the land and the return of life after the chill of winter. As with all ADF-style rituals, this ceremony will be open to the public to attend.

 For those looking to celebrate Beltane in a Druidic way closer to home, you may wish to consider how the season is manifesting itself wherever you live. Take time to notice what flowers are in bloom, and what plants are just emerging from dormancy. Pay attention also to any local wildlife—are baby rabbits or ducklings just starting to appear, or have any birds returned from their winter migration?

 By connecting with the nature spirits and recognizing the changes in your vicinity, you will be more in touch with the potent energies of this time of the year. A mindful walk on a nearby trail could be an excellent way to strengthen that connection. If you’re looking to build a relationship with the spirits of a place, you could also leave environmentally-friendly offerings, such as fruit, flowers or pretty stones. While tying rags or leaving trinkets at sacred sites or certain trees has been done traditionally in the past, these practices can harm foliage or simply add litter—things that modern, mindful Druids should best avoid.

 So, go ahead and celebrate the height of spring and the lengthening days! You’ll likely be in good company as humans, animals and the kindred spirits alike emerge to enjoy the warmer days. Beltane is one of those celebrations that really encourages connection with those around us, both in the human and non-human worlds. With a little care and respect for these fellow spirits, you can expect to have a fun and blessed time. As the Welsh would say, Bydded Felly (so be it)!

 

 

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We are Cascadia Grove of Ár nDraíocht Féin: A Druid Fellowship (ADF). Our local Grove serves the Puget Sound area. We meet 8 times a year to celebrate the equinoxes, solstices and the cross quarter days (including Imbolc, Beltane, Lughnasadh, and Samhain). We also support the planning and building of White Mountain Druid Sanctuary in Trout Lake WA.

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