The Rites of Spring
What is Beltane?
Beltane is the celebration of the sacred marriage of the Goddess and the God. It is "May Day." Beltane is typically celbrated on May 1st, however, many Pagan traditions hold that Beltane occurs when the sun reaches 15 degrees of Taurus; exactly halfway between the Spring Equinox and the Summer Solstice. It is on the opposite side of the Wheel of the Year from Samhain, and many believe it to be the second "strongest" Sabbat in the year (Samhain being the most "powerful"). The world is finally blooming, it's starting to get warm, and here in New Jersey on the east coast of North America, we are reaching the last day of frost, so planting outside can commence. Our tulips and daffodils here at the Garden House are in full flower.
Today is a day for dancing, especially the maypole, for singing, and (for some) partying to excess. It is a wedding. There will be some who "go off and fertilize the fields" to ensure a good crop for the fall. My own daughter was concieved at Beltane (though not at a ritual). Beltane has always been a fertility festival. It's also the hidden reason behind the timing of Mother's Day (which occurs suspiciously close to Beltane), and why this time of year has been the perferred time to get married.
It's a good day for outside games. A good day to make music whether singing, clapping, or getting involved in a drum frenzy. And let's not forget the maypole. That's a really fun thing for kids.
For a saner, more stately and educated discussion of Beltane, please visit Mike Nichol's wonderful page.
Beltane Flower Garland
(If your young men balk at weaving flowers, you can substitute ivy and other vines to make a "manly" garland)
Notes: Garlands can be made out of any kind of floral material - real flowers, silk flowers, or flowers that your child has made with construction paper, tissue paper, or origami paper. This sabbat, I will give you instructions for making an origami tulip, and Kirigami (cut paper) flowers.
Once the flowers are made, attach them to a headband with glue, string, or the fasteners of your choice (you could even sew them on with thread, yarn or string).
You will need:
2 sheets of origami paper or other colorful paper that will fold easily:
- One for the blossom
- One for the leaves and stem.
Follow the directions below:
Kirigami is the art of paper folding and cutting. (Remember the snowflakes you cut out in school?)
You will need:
- Origami paper, or other paper that folds easily
First, fold the paper according to this diagram:
Then cut out a shape. You can use the designs below, or create your own. The triangle on the left is what you cut, and the blue flower is what you will get when you unfold the paper.