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Beltane, Midsummer, Samhain, Why Is The Veil Thinner?

There are special times when it is said that the veil between the worlds is thinner than usual. These three “spirit nights” are Beltane, Midsummer and Samhain. Beltane and Samhain are Celtic festivals that celebrate the start of the summer and winter seasons, as the ancient Celts only had two seasons instead of four. The whole shift occurring in nature at these times was reflected in the lives of those who lived by the seasons. At Beltane, the cattle would be taken to their summer pastures, and driven between two large bonfires, we assume for purification, blessings, and possibly to make any nasty ticks and other bugs drop off either by the smoke or the heat. At Samhain, the cattle returned to their winter fold, and those that couldn’t be kept over winter were slaughtered. Huge feasts celebrated the ancestors and the mighty dead, and care was taken to avert the restless dead or the Sluagh na marbh. At any rate, the lives of those who lived with their cattle were very much changed and shifted during these times of the year.

The summer solstice marks the time of the greatest light, when all nature seems to be reaching its peak. As such, this too was seen as a liminal time, and very much connected to the Fair Folk, or faeries. Not just in Celtic lands, but especially in Germanic and Scandinavian countries Midsummer was a huge festival and celebration. As summer arrives later in these countries, it has a similar feel to the Celtic Beltane. Like at Beltane, here a large pole similar to the Maypole was erected and danced around. Plants were at their highest powers, and so collecting the herbs that you needed was especially important at this time. Midsummer is still one of the biggest celebrations in countries like Sweden, where there is lots of food, singing and games. Though it has been overlaid with Christian mythology the nativity of St John the Baptist, it is still more a giant party than anything else. And why not?

By why are these especially liminal times? Well, when one season switches over to the next, we can often feel like we are in an in-between time.

Last modified on

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs

A Spell for Beltane:

Gather up some soft petals
and hold them to your lips.
Let them whisper to you of pleasure.
Do not let it fade away.
May you connect to those things
that bring you pleasure,
those things that bring you joy,
let them speak to you of
the wellspring of joy that rests within.
Let them sing to you of wonder and delight,
of your own magic,
of things once lost
that can be found.
Breathe deep
and make a vow of commitment to your life
as it breathes now,
to your body
as it stands now.
Make a promise,
deep and silent,
secret and strong
to your own magic nestled within.
Take one petal for pleasure,
one petal for joy,
one petal for delight,
one petal for magic.
Press them against your skin,
let them soak in.
One by one,
the spell is done. 

b2ap3_thumbnail_green-man-and-pink-meditation-goddess-with-dandelions-and-antlers.jpg

Last modified on

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

 Awakened Queen on Twitter:

Hi, Hain's the name: Sam Hain.

You don't remember me, do you? We've met before; oh yes, we have.

That's it: Dread Lord, Dark Lord, Master of the Underworld. Didn't recognize me without my antlers, did you?

That's OK, lots of people don't. You gotta remember what time of year it is. Oh, April: sweet, sweet April. Yeah, I dropped the first one back in late February, the other one...March 5th, I think it was.

Not to worry, though...there's a new pair on the way. Here, if you feel the pedicels, right here, and here, you can feel the new ones coming already.

Yes, of course I miss them. Does make doorways easier to negotiate, though.

Nice party, eh? Oh, hey, Belle, come here a second, would you? I want you to meet my friend.

You know my wife-consort, don't you? My sweet Lady of Summer.

Here, this is my Belle: Belle Tain. Yeah, I know, Hain and Tain. Can't beat it, hunh? I tell you, a match made in the Summerland. Here, Belle, I want you to meet...

Last modified on

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs

I rose early seeking Beltane dewdrops
with which to anoint my brow.
the cupped violet stems and clover
were dry
and I found no dewdrops
in the chickweed stars.
Instead, I put out oranges
for the orioles,
ran my fingers through the dandelions,
and pressed my nose into the lilacs.
I spotted green flowers
on the mulberry trees,
found the first wild pink geraniums
and tender bells of columbine
and came face to face
with the quiet black eyes
of solemn deer in the raspberry bushes.
These things
their own kind of anointing,
their own small and significant
rites of May Magic.

b2ap3_thumbnail_pink-goddess-in-redbuds.jpg

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Jamie
    Jamie says #
    Molly, It's like a painting, but with words. Thanks for sharing! Still glad you left out the part with the mosquitoes and biting
  • Molly
    Molly says #
    One year it was actually ticks that I swiped across my face with my Beltane dewdrops!

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
A Beltane for the Senses

 

Beltane is always an exciting time of year and I cherish it every time it rolls around. The possibilities of new endeavors, fun and frolic, and better things ahead always seem to crystalize between Earth Day and May 1st for me. There are many ways that you can choose to celebrate, whether it’s dancing around a local May Pole, just dancing with abandon with some good friends, having a sensual picnic with your loved one, or treating yourself with love to a flower-filled bubble bath and a good home-cooked meal. To me, this major Sabbat is about flooding all yours senses with all the good things you can handle. In short, do what truly makes you happy. Life is way too short to fritter away precious time doing things we think we’re supposed to do or ought to do. For once, set the obligations aside for just this one day and treat yourself. Think of it as a bonus birthday to yourself.

...
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A Collection of Walpurgisnacht/May Day Rites

Spring is rolling around into summer (at least, in many places in the Northern Hemisphere), and we have come to that major pillar of the annual celebrations of many Pagans, May Day or Beltane, and the night before, which is known by many as Walpurgisnacht.

While we may not be able to conduct the usual festivities, we can still observe this Sabbath in all its richness while sheltering in place.

...
Last modified on

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Beltane Brew
Honeyed mead is revered as the drink of choice for the sexy pagan holy day of Beltane. It is an aphrodisiac, and with its sticky sweetness, it is perfect for dribbling on your lover’s body and then licking it off. This is my special recipe for honeyed mead, handed down through generations of Celtic witches. You will need:
 
  • 1 quart of honey
  • 3 quarts of distilled water
  • 1 packet of yeast
  • Herbs to flavor
  1. Mix the honey and water. Boil for five minutes. You can add the herbs in proportions to your liking; I prefer a teaspoon each of clove, nutmeg, cinnamon, and allspice.

  2. Add a packet of yeast and mix. Put in a large container. Cover with plastic wrap and allow it to rise and expand. Store the mixture in a dark place and let it sit for seven days.

...
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