Beltane: How We Celebrate & Simple Rituals

Date: May 1

Trees have flowered, and some show leaves. Flowers spring up from the ground in abundance.

The songs of migratory birds fill the chilly morning air.

The Earth is fertile and ready for the growing season to begin.

The Wheel turns and we arrive at Beltane.

What Beltane Represents

Beltane is a cross-quarter day celebrated between the Ostara (the Spring Equinox), and Litha (the Summer Solstice).

Beltane is traditionally celebrated on or around May 1, at the peak of spring. However, the astrological point of Beltane – when the sun is 15 degrees Taurus – may occur several days after May 1st.

Overall, the themes of Beltane are fertility, new life, and anticipation of the coming summer.

Keywords: Fertility, new life, fresh starts.

Beltane Correspondences

Moon Phase: Beltane corresponds to the Waxing Gibbous Moon, a time of refinement and celebration.

It also represents fertility and incubation of new life (or ideas).

Colors: Green, yellow, light blue (springtime colors), as well as pink, red, and white.

Crystals/Stones: Rose quartz, carnelian, orange calcite, emerald, moonstone, sapphire, malachite, and amber.

Herbs: Sage, mugwort, birch, honeysuckle, rosemary, lemon balm, dandelion, and lavender.

Incense/Essential Oils: Sage, mugwort, lavender, frankincense, jasmine, and lilac.

Other Magical Earth Items: Maypole, spring flowers, potted plants, ribbons, eggs, strawberries, cauldron.

Beltane Rituals: How To Celebrate Beltane

Here are a few ways we celebrate Beltane:

Sprucing Up The Garden

Beltane is a great time to clean up your garden to prepare it for the upcoming growing season.

Rake out any leaves and debris. Cut back any old brush from last year.

Take note of which perennials are coming up, and which need to be moved or divided.

You can also bless your garden at this time by smoke cleansing it, burying crystals along the perimeter, or using the four elements (earth, air, fire, water) to consecrate it for the upcoming growing cycle.

When planning or adding to your garden this year, consider planting some native, pollinator-friendly perennials, trees, and shrubs.

Swamp milkweed is a wonderful pollinator plant for your garden.

Create A Beltane Altar

Our Beltane altar doesn’t change that much from our Ostara altar. Potted plants like herbs, daffodils, hyacinth, tulips, or primrose are the focal point. Cut flowers in a vase is fine, too!

Much of the symbolism of Ostara spills over into Beltane as well, so we leave the colored eggs.

As symbols of fertility, figurines or pictures of rabbits, ducks, songbirds, bees, or other “spring” animals can help you celebrate the business and activity of spring.

A Beltane altar.

Celebrate Fertility In All Its Forms

Beltane is a time to celebrate fertility, and while this traditionally meant human fertility, this does not have to be a theme of Beltane.

To be honest, I don’t resonate much with the god/goddess or male/female symbolism of Beltane, and prefer to take a more inclusive, gender-neutral approach to the holiday (and my witchcraft practice in general.)

Fertility doesn’t just have to be about human or animal reproduction.

Beltane can be a time to celebrate the fertility of ideas, intention, or possibility.

Just as seeds are often sowed this time of year, so too, can you reflect on the proverbial seeds that you have sown.

Connect with your intentions once more – whether they are your new moon intentions, or the intentions you set for the year ahead at Yule or during the new moon in Capricorn.

Do some visualization. Create a vision board.

Connect with your wishes and dreams, and take time to celebrate their upcoming fulfillment with gratitude.

Earth Day Every Day

While Earth Day is observed on April 22, to me, this date kicks off “The Season of Beltane”.

As pagans and/or nature-focused spiritual practitioners, Earth Day should never be a once-per-year thing.

Take this time around Beltane to reflect on your environmental impact. Are their any shifts in products/habits that you can make that might be more sustainable and eco-friendly?

Take inventory of how much single-use plastic you use. Look at ways to conserve water/energy in your home.

Is there an environmental organization or local park that could use your help?

Commit to taking greening up a trail you frequent, or join a green up day event.

Plant A Tree

Another holiday observed during the Beltane Season is Arbor Day on April 29. Arbor Day began in 1872 (150 years ago!) as a tree-planting holiday.

If you have space, plant a tree on your property (be sure it is a native tree that is beneficial to local wildlife rather than an ornamental tree that may be invasive and provides no benefit.)

If you have no space for a tree, plant a native shrub, or even a pollinator-friendly perennial.

You can also volunteer or make a contribution to an organization that is dedicated to reforestation.

Either way, take some time during Beltane to appreciate and honor the trees that grow around you.

Find out what they are. There are some great Facebook ID groups, as well as books, that can help you learn the names of the trees around you.

Read up on the symbolism and growth habit of local trees and shrubs. Find out what local birds and wildlife depend on them.

Or simply take a walk in the woods and don’t be shy about hugging a tree! =)

Phenology Of Beltane

Phenology is the study of cyclical patterns in the natural world around you, and plays a major role in my own nature-focused spiritual practice.

As I celebrate each holiday on the Wheel Of The Year, I take note of the changes in the environment around me, which helps connect me to the land I live in.

Beltane marks the tipping point away from winter and early spring, and toward summer.

This is the point when I can safely plant things outside as all danger of frost has disappeared in my zone 5 garden (by May 15th, typically.)

The northern migration of songbirds is at its peak right now. Geese and ducks are already raising young at this point.

Spring ephemeral wildflowers are disappearing with the leafing out of the trees, and spring-blooming flowers like columbine, woodland phlox, dandelion, and violets show their colors now.

Keep an eye out for what nature is doing around where you live. What messages is the season giving you?