Beltane is the cross-quarter festival that marks the start of the summer quarter of the year and the end of the spring quarter. It is the festival of the ‘Good Fire’ or ‘Bel-fire’, named after the solar deity Bel, god of light and fire, the Bright One.
This is a time when nature blossoms and felicity and fertility return to the land. Fires are built at Beltaine and traditionally a Beltane fire was composed of the nine sacred woods of the Celts. All hearth fires were extinguished on Beltane Eve and then kindled again from the sacred “need fires” lit on Beltane. People would leap through the smoke and flames of Beltane fires and cattle were driven through them for purification, fertility, prosperity and protection.
Beltane is celebration of fertility and is represented by the union of the Goddess as May Queen with the God as Green Man bringing new life to the earth. It is the time when the Goddess moves on in her cycle from Maiden and her union in the greenwood with the God. Beltane is a time to devote energy to growth and integration. It is a time of celebration, exuberance and hope, when we should enjoy and appreciate the gifts of nature.