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I was reviewing some of my notes and found a essay I wrote on Beltane/May day. I did this one back when I was taking spiritual classes before my 6 month or so crisis. Anyway, since I'm taking a classes again and one is on the sabbats I wanted to review a essay I wrote on one of my favorites.

Keep in mind I'm not posting this to be pushy at all. It's just informative for anyone that may find it interesting.

Beltane, also known as May Day represents the beginning of summer and is one of the greatest festivals in the Celtic year. Beltane falls on April 30th and marks the beginning of summer. In the Celtic tradition all fires would be put out the night before Beltane. At sundown bel-fires were ignited upon certain hilltops, which were believed to purify. These fires celebrated the return of life, along with fertility. One part of the celebration that took place in many places was jumping over the fire. This practice was believed give travelers a safe journey. Also, it was believed to bring prospective husbands or wives to those whom desired mates. Offering of things such as milk, butter, eggs, and bread were given on Beltane along with incantations that would hopefully bring about a good growing season. Animals would be driven through two fires in order to protect them throughout the season of summer. Cattle were often driven through two fires primarily so they would produce more milk. The next day the cattle would be taken to their summer pastures. Beltane is a celebration of both sexuality and fertility. The torches used in lighting the fires would be taken home for lighting the next years fires. Some of the things that took place which had obvious sexual symbolism were dancing around a maypole, hunting for nuts, and ‘greenwood marriages‘. During the ‘greenwood marriages’ young men and women would stay out in the forest until sunrise and then return to the village. The Puritans of course were horrified by most Beltane rites and suppressed them. In fact, they even decided to make the Maypole illegal in 1644 and tried to suppress ‘greenwood marriages‘. For a long while even after Christian marriages had replaced handfastings, the rules of fidelity were more relaxed during May eve rites. These rites worked as a muse for some writers such as Rudyard Kipling in the poem “tree song” which in one part reads,

“[FONT=&quot]Oh, do not tell the Priest our plight,
Or he would call it a sin;
But - we have been out in the woods all night,
A-conjuring Summer in!
And we bring you news by word of mouth-
Good news for cattle and corn-
Now is the Sun come up from the South,
With Oak, and Ash, and Thorn!”[/FONT]

It should also be noted that the traditional and astrological dated for Beltane are not the same. As it is an astronomically determined date it can change by a few days depending on the year. It is determined as the date in which the sun is at 15 degrees Taurus. This often happens on May 5th and is sometimes known as Old Beltane. If Beltane is not celebrated on May first then it is appropriate to celebrate anytime between then and May 5th. This can be useful for arranging a celebration that best fits everyone in the groups schedule.

Another thing done to celebrate was the collecting of Beltane fire ashes which were thought to bring good luck when placed on the forehead. The morning dew, or May dew was also sometimes collected and sprinkled about the home to bring about good fortune. Some ideas for celebrating in modern times are creating your own May pole, collecting the morning dew for your own magickal use, hanging a branch of rowan above the door for protection, or blessing your own garden.