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Celebrating Beltaine: An Ancient Fire Festival

Beltaine, owl, beltane

The flowers are starting to blossom, reminding us all that we have a fresh start this Spring! Nature reveals to us that Spring is a time of rebirth, renewal, & new beginnings!

Like many holidays, Beltaine has several different spellings & completely different names altogether. You have most likely seen it written as Beltane, Beltaine, or the European spring festival, May Day. Beltaine festivities begin on April 30th, May Eve, traditionally with a bonfire to burn away the stale energy of Winter. In Celtic traditions, this was a time when livestock was run through the bonfire in order to burn away pests & fight off disease.

May 1st is the day considered to be Beltaine or May Day. Beltaine celebrates the fertility of Spring, appreciating the seeds that were planted long ago in order to bring the flowers & buds that we are beginning to see blossom all around us. The Maypole is a symbol of the fertility of Spring, representing the phallus, while the earth represents the receptive vulva. Dancing around the Maypole with colorful ribbons is a classic way to honor Beltaine.

Brief Altar Ideas: One simple way to rejoice is to create or refresh your altar. Place the cardinal directions/elements on your altar - North (Earth), East (Air), South (Fire), West (Water). I provide elemental offering ideas below (+specific symbols of the season), if you're unsure of where to start. You can also add any magical objects/tools to your altar - pendulum, divination cards, bones, salt, herbs, wands, etc.. Don't forget to cleanse your space!*

Offerings for the Elements + Directions:

  • Earth / North: flowers, plants, crystals, herbs, hazelnuts, eggs

  • Air / East: feathers, owl statues, incense, bells, dandelions, smudge sticks (mint, sage, thyme, etc.)

  • Fire / South: green/purple/pink/yellow candles, carnelian eggs or spheres, mirrors, silver

  • Water / West: oil, spirits, cream, shells, water, water crystals (flourite, turquoise, etc.)

Symbols of the Spring Equinox:

  • Silver: the Fae Folk are known to love silver! Leave them a wee offering of silver to stay in the good graces of the Faeries.

  • Hazelnuts: hazelnuts connect us to Goddess Boand, named for the River Boyne, who is honored at this time of the year for her...

  • Acorns: a sacred symbol of sisterhood with a deep rooted connection to the archetype of the Witch, the acorn represents connection, magic, luck & fertility

  • Blodeuwedd: this flower faced maiden goddess represents love, freedom & beauty. Blodeuwedd reminds us to follow our heart even when there might be repercussions, - she followed her heart's deepest desire, & was turned into a wise owl for it.

  • Beltaine Colors: yellow, green, purple, pink

  • Wreath-making: birch branches make lovely wreathes this time of year to symbolize love!

  • Herbs: sweetgrass, lemongrass, clover, almonds, orchid, rose, iris, violet, frankincense, honeysuckle, tansy, lavender, fennel, hawthorn, birch, lillies

  • Fae: faeries are typically seen as air spirits, & air is the symbol of Spring in ancient Celtic traditions & beyond. Learn more about the Fae ritual below & leave your faerie friends offerings of cream & honey this Spring! Hawthorn is a tree that is near & dear to the Fae! *no iron based crystals, Fae will take offense*

  • Hares/Rabbits: these creatures are known to produce rapidly, symbolizing fertility, fortune, & abundance!

  • Eggs: a symbol of fertility, the womb, & the Cosmic Mother.

  • Honey: a symbol of connection to spirit, ambrosiac bliss, abundance, fortune

  • Maiden: the Maiden represents the innocence of Spring with the joy that new, young life brings to the planet. Beltaine represents the Maiden crossing over into the Mother as she births the Green Man to life in the fertility of Spring!

  • Air: the traditional Celtic element of Spring, representing growth, renewal, change & fresh life!

  • Wood: wood is the Taoist element of Spring, representing growth, renewal, change & fresh life!

  • Aromatherapy: aroma connects us with our nose, a part of our respiratory system, connecting us deeply with breath & the air element. Breath & the air element come through the heart chakra, connecting us to love & life force in return. Spring is a great time to make aromatherapeutic mists to invite in the Fae & delight the senses!

Crystals for Beltaine:

  • honey calcite

  • shiva lingam

  • red jasper

  • carnelian

  • turquoise

  • blue kyanite

  • moss agate

  • tree agate

  • flower agate

  • silver

  • diamond

A Simple Ritual:

Out with the old & in with the new! Spring is a time to release what no longer serves you, creating space for the renewal & fresh opportunities that arrive with the Spring flowers! A traditional Beltaine bonfire is a great time to burn away any old habits, patterns, thought loops, etc. that are holding you back from living your best life. Before you connect with the fire elements, do the following to prepare:

  • always start by getting centered - stilling your body, quieting your mind & connecting with your heart, that in-between place of center

  • once you're feeling centered, begin to journal a bit, asking yourself the following questions:

    • What brings me joy? list as many people, places, activities, items, etc. as you want!

    • How often do I feel joyful?

    • What holds me back from doing the things or seeing the people that bring me joy?

    • What can I release in order to make more room in my life for what brings me joy?

  • on a slip of paper, write whatever it is you wish to let go of in order to create space for the new opportunities that Spring & Summer invite

  • staying in that place of center, speak what you wish to let go of & toss your paper into the fire

  • thank the element of fire for her power & the brighter days of Summer ahead

You can also enjoy my Spring Cleaning aromatherapy blend to clear out the stagnant energies of Winter, & invite in the changing tides of Spring with help from the Fae! Welcome love, light, empathy & compassion! Check out my Spring Equinox blog post for the Spring Cleaning cleansing mist recipe.

I don't know about you, but Spring has become my favorite season with the deep greens that the rains of Colorado bring to the prairies & mountainscapes. Enjoy this season of renewal, embracing change! And, always feel free to comment with any shares or questions. May you find balance & peace in your life.

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*How I clear my space: I typically clear my altar & wipe it down with either lemongrass or cedarwood essential oil. Next, I will either spray a smudge blend I've made, or burn one of the following: sage, palo santo, cedarwood, or resin of dragon's blood / frankincense (keep your windows open when smudging).


  • Hinds, K. & McColman, C. (2020). The Spirit of the Celtic Gods & Goddesses: Their History, Magical Power, & Healing Energies. Weiser Books.

  • Hopman, E. E. (1995). A Druid's Herbal for the Sacred Earth Year. (1st Edition). Destiny Books.

  • Lafranque, S. (2020). Moon Energy: A Practical Guide to Using the Lunar cycles to Unleash Your Inner Goddess. Skyhorse Publishing.

  • Lister, L. (2017). Witch: Unleashed. Untamed. Unapologetic. (1st Edition). Hay House UK.

  • Starling, M. (2022). Welsh Witchcraft: A Guide to the Spirits, Lore, & Magic of Wales. (1st Edition). Llewellyn Publications.

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