Beltane fires

Beltane fires

The day following Walpurgisnacht, The night of Witches, on April 30th is the celebration of the peak of Spring also called Beltane. Beltane is a fire festival, fires are lit and serve for purification rituals. Nights are slowly getting warmer and days are longer. We’ve reached the mid-point between the Spring equinox and the Summer solstice. 

Heat is near, fires are lit, crops are planted and the party is about to start. With the celebration of Beltane we cherish the connection with the earth and with one another. Contrary to Ostara which is a holiday of rebirth, Beltane emphasizes on fertility and sexuality. 

Fire jumping: 

May is the season of lovers, in the story of the God and Goddess it was in may that the Maiden and the young Oak King marry one another. Lighting the Beltane fires on May 1st is a symbolic action to recall the growing power of the sun and cleanse the people of the dark months spent indoors. Cattle were walked between two fires to protect them from diseases. In old Irish traditions couples would jump over a fire to seal their union.

May Day:

If you are familiar with the movie Midsommar, you’ll recognize some similarities with this celebration.

The May Queen;

The May Queen refers to the Maiden stage of the Goddess, in Beltane’s traditions it is common to crown a young girl to represent the divine feminine during the festivities. Opposing her, a man is selected to represent the Green Man, dressed in leaves and branches he symbolizes growth, regeneration and the vitality of nature. Together they dance and celebrate the return of warmth and growth. Spring is at its peak. 

The may pole;

A tall pole is decorated with ribbons and flowers, participants hold ribbons while dancing around the pole weaving the ribbons beautiful patterns. The dance symbolizes the union between feminine (flowers and ribbons) and masculine (tree trunk or pole) energies and is believed to bring fertility and prosperity.


The night of witches happens during the night from April 30th to May 1st. It corresponds to Samhain (Halloween)  in the Southern Hemisphere. Just like it’s opposite, Walpurgisnacht is a time where the veil between the spirit world and ours is at it’s thinnest. It’s literally SUMMERWEEN!

In the 16th century hysteria about pagan practices and witchcraft started to rise. The celebration of spring turned into an attempt to protect oneself from evil and witches, ironically the celebrations stayed pretty much the same, only the intentions changed. Bonfires were lit, people were singing and dancing, sounds kinda witchy to me.

How to celebrate:

Bring back the tradition of May baskets; in a colourful basket place many flowers and leave the beautiful arrangements on your neighbours and friends front porch. The tricky part is the try not to be noticed doing so! 

Make a bonfire and celebrate the approach of summer.

Make a wish as you jump over a bonfire/campfire.

Craft a flower crown, and wear it in honour of the Maiden.

Beltane is a celebration of love, if you have a special someone in your life, spend some time with them and shower them with loving words, tell them why you love them.( it is also valid for friends, single people still feel love)

Dance, sing, have fun, let your body move and feel alive!

Wash your face in the May Day morning dew.

How to decorate your altar:

Green candles may adorn your space to symbolize the awakening fertility of Mother Earth. Seasonal flowers such as lilac and daffodils are welcomed. The stones that can be displayed on your altar are: aventurine, bloodstone, emerald, malachite and rose quartz. Cakes, lemonade, honey and wine punch are possible offerings for the celebration. Ribbons, flowers and fairy imagery may enchant your space with colors and a whimsical vibe.


Ann Mouriel, Green witchcraft, St. Paul: Llewellyn Publications, 1996.,and%20leap%20over%20the%20flames.

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