How many Witches and Pagans decorate their homes for Samhain? Probably most of us. But how many of us decorate the home for Beltane, which is an en par holiday? Probably not as many people. All the fabulous Pagans and Witches out there, let’s start changing that and start bringing the season into our homes. Here are a few themes and suggestions to consider. Continue reading
Beltane is one of the most sacred days of the year. Of course this calls for a feast! When I was compiling these recipes and thinking about my own celebration, three themes came to mind. This first is the season and what is going to be in supermarkets now and what’s seasonally appropriate. The second is spice and heat as this is a holiday about passion and love. Along those lines, I’ve also included several traditional aphrodisiacs in this menu.
- Strawberry and Spinach Salad: The basics are a large box of fresh spinach leaves (I prefer baby spinach or this), half a pint of strawberries (quartered), half a container of walnuts, a block of bleu cheese cubed, and either homemade or bottled poppyseed dressing. But this is an adaptable recipe. You could add almonds, grapes, cucumbers, sprouts, you name it.
- Spring Veggie Stir Fry: Asparagus, onions, carrots, peas, and broccoli. Use what you want and cook the vegetables with a little olive oil, garlic, and ginger until they’re tender. Add soy sauce or stir fry sauce as well as a pinch of red pepper flakes for some heat and serve over jasmine rice.
- Hamburgers: Beltane is probably the first sabat for which the Oven Coven ventures outside. So why not fire up the barbeque! Offer your guests a wide variety of meats, veggie burgers, and toppings.
- Mushrooms: A nod to the fae friends we also honor at this time. Cut up some raw ones or make spicy stuffed mushroom caps (just substitute spicy for sweet sausage in this recipe).
- Green Beans: Steamed with a little sea salt sprinkled over them for an easy side dish.
- Fondue: An easy way to make chocolate fondue is to melt half a cup of heavy cream and a large bag of chocolate chips in a double boiler. You could also rent a fondue fountain, especially if you are having a large party. To accompany, provide strawberries, apples, grapes, pretzels, and melon.
- Cakes and Ale: Bannock is the traditional cake for Beltane celebrations. Something slightly less traditional, but completely appropriate since we are celebrating the union of the God and Goddess, is champagne or sparkling cider for the ale.
© Ariadne Woods
Spirit dancing is the phenomena when a person is so overcome by shear joy they just feel the need to dance. I wish I could show you a video clip of what I am talking about, but the act is so spontaneous and free that it’s hard to capture. If you have ever been to a public ritual with dancing, I guarantee you have seen it.
After my Beltane ritual, I put on music while I cleaned up after ritual. A song with a heavy beat came through the speakers of my laptop and the next thing I knew I was twirling for the next three songs. The feeling of utter bliss was overwhelming. Part of it was the energy of the ritual. And I just felt light and happy and free.
© Ariadne Woods
Most witches, Wiccans, and Pagans follow the Eight Great Celtic Sabat model (although there are thousands of other traditions. Read The Grandmother of Time by Z. Budapest and The Pagan Book of Days by Nigel Pennick for more information). The benefit about following the natural world is the major holidays are nicely spaced throughout the year. Getting bummed after Yule? Imbolc is right around the corner. We are constantly celebrating life and the Earth and our faith.
Yet, I have found that try as I may to celebrate every holiday, I have noticed a pattern about how I approach the Wheel of the Year:
- Yule: Christmas (a very important day in my family) is a few days away and since that’s such a high stress holiday I am too wiped to stay up with the Goddess as she births the God.
- Imbolc: Very informal celebration. This year I had my friends over for mead.
- Ostara: I always seem to forget about it.
- Beltane: One of my favorites, but it always falls on finals or reading days. I do make an effort to do some sort of ritual, though.
- Litha: I go to a local farm festival with my mom every year and go home for a late night ritual. One of the best days of the year.
- Lammas: So. Much. Baking. Always a laid back holiday.
- Mabon: I adore Mabon. Never miss it.
- Samhain: I celebrate it, but I always seem burnt out due to a variety of reasons.
I do not treat them all with the same amount of pomp and circumstance. I mean, it’s not practical for me. I have school, work, family, friends, boyfriend, extra curricular activities, taking care of myself, etc. The prep time is not always there.
What ultimately drives celebratory worship is the connection to particular times of the year. For me, I feel at home in summer and fall holidays. They speak to my soul in such an empowering way, which is what matters the most about sabat celebrations. That connection is key because that is what allows the worshiper to benefit spiritually from the ritual.
© Ariadne Woods