For those who follow the ancient calendar, May 1st marks the beginning of the growing season and the start of summer and the brightest time of the year. It’s the opposite from Samhain (November 1st) which marks the end of the harvest season and the start of winter and the darkest time the year.
As the Earth tilts more towards the sun, the northern hemisphere starts to warm up. This allows us to start planting those seeds we may have started back in early spring and are now ready for deeper roots.
This is a great time of year to start something new and have the summer to grow it strong. For those who practice yoga, you can now take your yoga outside and into the sun. I had my first teaching lesson on the patio this weekend and it was amazing. It was so nice to feel the sun’s warmth on my face, even with the sound of the neighbour’s lawn mower going in the background.
Beltane is the May 1st fire festival. In old times, people would erect a pole and dance around it with ribbons to bring forth fertility for the fields. Then they would build two bonfires and walk the farm animals through them to purify them for the summer. People too would walk between them to burn away any negative things that have been holding on from the winter.
Here’s a little Beltane rite you can do at your home.
Set up a small altar in your meditation space. This doesn’t have to be elaborate, it can be as simple as lighting a candle or as complete as setting up a shrine and decorate it with your favourite seasonal flowers, crystals, incense, and deity imagines. Here’s my little Beltane altar:
I am pagan in my spirituality and I have set up my altar with images of my beliefs on it.
Once you set up your altar, lit your candles and incense, and centred yourself in a comfortable seated position, it’s time to get started with your rite.
For this you will need a journal, it’s best to have one for your yoga practice which you can read about here. Then make a list of things that you want to let go of from the last six months. Then make a list of things you want to grow for the coming six months. Then write down some ways you will make those things happen.
When you are done, take a moment to visualise those things your wrote down coming into flower and growing into reality.
Afterwards, take some time to balance yourself with some tree pose (Vriksasana) and feel the growth of your own inner tree growing.
Lastly, take a few minutes to sit in quiet meditation.