What is Beltane?
A holiday that marks the return of Summer, “Beltane” can be roughly translated as “Bright
Fire”. While traditions for this May 1st festival varied among the ancient groups that practiced
it, each one of them involved the lighting of a Beltane bonfire. But what does this represent?
Why was this day and time of year so highly regarded? The breaking of Winter’s bonds and
transitioning from the tender beginnings of Spring to the robust start of Summer were natural
earthly attractions potentially dating as far back as 2000 years ago.
This is the season of the maiden goddess who represents renewal and growth. She falls in love
with the Green man, and they are married. They represent the union of the Earth and Sky as
well as fertility, vitality, and joy. As Summer approaches, it is the perfect time to manifest one’s
hopes and dreams for the year. This was a time of love and no one was left out as communities
would come together and eat, drink, share flowers and tell stories.
Beltane was also a time to manifest a fruitful harvest for the coming year. The Spring meant
that trees and plants would be blooming and reproducing. Then Summer would bring the first
rounds of fruits and vegetables, grains and beans, everything the community needed to be
happy and healthy. This holiday was a time to celebrate and to hope for the greater good that
they could live and work with nature and each other in a mutually beneficial way. If the Earth
was respected and treated well, it would return to the people a bounty that would allow them
plenty of food to get all the way through the next Fall and Winter.
How is this relevant?
The name of the season is rebirth. A time to come together and share our greatest wants and
desires and to support each other in creating a new reality. This is not so unlike the
communion that our country is crying out for. A place to aid others in achieving their dreams,
and to take space to accept the same for ourselves. We have been pulled apart and pitted
against one another by systems of oppression that were built hundreds of years ago and are
perpetuated to this day. One way of rising above this is to come together over the one thing
that truly unites us all: The Earth. Ancient and indigenous peoples have been maintaining
sustainable relationships with the planet for thousands of years. To uplift BIPOC voices and
practices is the truest way to serve the environment and the community. To unify and
celebrate the interconnectedness of all life on this planet would be a healthy way to come
together over first foods grown sustainably. Using sustainable and loving practices every day,
promotes growth in people, plants, animals, and in one’s own life. Once we find this
equilibrium, each community member will receive the same support and aid in their own
advancements. People worldwide understand that a better relationship with the planet is vital
to our growth, our wellbeing, and our futures.
What do we do now?
We can take a message of community from this exciting holiday. Not just with our immediate
friends and families, but with our neighborhoods, cities, and our ecosystems. If we could take
time each day to remember to build one another up, then our relationships would improve. If
we could remember each day to try to make more sustainable choices no matter how small,
our footprint on the Earth would be softer. If we could remember to believe in ourselves and
manifest what we deserve and what we dream of then our lives would be happier, healthier,
and each interaction would be more joyous.