April 27th 2018
If you are keeping an eye on what is going on in Nature at the moment, you may have noticed that the world has just exploded in green. Within a matter of days in London, the Hawthorn leaves have emerged, as have the oaks, the rowans, and the plane trees. Just as we were beginning to wonder if the leaves would ever return this year, the natural world has taken root and blossomed. The sap has risen once more.
The lambs that were born at Spring Equinox are now growing fatter, and baby birds are just starting to show signs of life in the nest. The first crop of dandelions has bloomed, and the grasslands are now flush with daisies. In the woods, the bluebells and wild garlic are in blossom, and the buds on the Hawthorn are opening too, ready for ‘Bringing in the May’.
On the Pagan or Wiccan Wheel of the Year, Beltane is the sabbat that sits opposite Samhain, and in very simplistic, reductionist terms, they both offer the balance between sex and death – while Samhain is the time to honour our ancestors who have passed out of this life, Beltane is a time for celebrating the sexual union. While traditionally this was seen as the (heteronormative) coming together of the god and the goddess, however you experience sexual pleasure in your life, it is just as valid. This is about the celebration of sexual union and ecstasy, and all the myriad of (consensual) ways that can be experienced. Just as at Samhain, at Beltane the veil between the worlds is thin, so it is an opportune time for a little magical working.
Beltane is traditionally celebrated from sunset on the 30th April to sunset on the 1st May. But what are the traditions for this time of year?
Despite what you may have heard on the grapevine, in Wicca the sexual magic we perform in groups is largely symbolic. While outside folk may have fantasised about us having orgies, that isn’t what happens in circle. This is definitively a time for sex and fertility magic, but not necessarily in the most obvious ways. When you start to look at the traditional folkloric ways of celebrating Beltane, you will sta