Beltane means Bale-fire and is on May 1st. The feast of Beltane(essentially the fire of Bel) is associated with the Gaelic May Day festival that herald the summer time. This festival marks the beginning of summer. It celebrates the full return of life when the Oak King begins to make way for the reign of the Holly King.
On Beltane fires of various woods are lit. The farm herds are driven between the fires for purification. Then the herds are taken to their summer pastures. General frolicking, fire jumping and maypole dancing are in the celebrations. Frolicking represents that no matter how old you are, late spring and early summer make us feel young again. The fire jumping represents the earth successfully jumping over the equinox. The maypole dancing is a phallic dance that represents fertility and life. Whose phallus is this representing? The Green Man being all over these festivals lets you in on the secret. In the Green Man post I showed you that he is Osiris. In the Osiris myth when he is cut up in to several pieces, everything but his phallus was found. The maypole is Osiris’ phallus. Everyone thinks that the maypole dancing is gone. All you have to do is go down to your local strip club to see a stripper dancing around Osiris’ phallus. Now you know where that pole comes from.
It is also the time for ritual weddings in the merrie(marriage) month of May. At one time they had trial weddings known as handfastings that lasted one year and a day or until the next merrie Maying. These marriages were the Hieros Gamos, where humans represented the marriage between the Gods and Goddesses. The handfastings was the allowing of a trial period before any formal commitment. The ceremonies were led by an appointed King and Queen of the May. Beltane was a time of merging the sacred masculine with the sacred feminine. Integration of the male and female aspects of the Self has long been seen as one of the prime goals of Beltane.
Of all the pagan and wiccan festivals the church hated Beltane most of all. With its trial marriages and sexual freedom it was thoroughly detested. The church stole from every festival except this one. They felt it was best ignored. In early may the churches would have special prayer meetings and services in an attempt to draw the crowds from the hillsides and village greens into churches. Here they would tell everyone how sinful the pagans were. What else would you expect from religions that hate the sacred feminine.
My wish this Beltane is that we find the sacred feminine to bring balance back into our lives. Find the sacred and universal dance inside you.