Beltane – May 1st

“The May-pole”

The May-pole is up,
Now give me the cup;
I’ll drink to the garlands around it:
But first unto those
Whose hands did compose
The glory of flowers that crown’d it.

A health to my girls,
Whose husbands may Earls
Or Lords be, (granting my Wishes)
And when that ye wed
To the bridal bed,
Then multiply all, like fishes.

Robert Herrick (1591 – 1674)

“Beltane” meaning “bright fire” is also known as May Eve, May Day and Walpurgis Night. It is the midpoint between the Spring Equinox and the Summer Solstice.

  • Beltane herbs: Almond, Belladonna, Clover, Frankincense, Hawthorn
  • Beltane colors: Red, white, green, dark yellow, all the colors of the rainbow!
  • Beltane offerings: sacred wood and dried herbs burned in Beltane fires
  • Beltane is a time to honor Artemis/Diana,Pan, Bel, Creiddylad.

It is the celebration of the glory of spring at its height – a festival of sensuality and fertility. The God and Goddess are represented by the May King and Queen, and the tradition of dancing ’round the maypole represents their unity – the pole being the God and the ribbons the Goddess, wrapped around him.

Some covens choose this sabbat to go Skyclad, so make sure you check and are comfortable with the dress (or undress) code before attending!

It is also traditional to perform the Great Rite to bless your land on May’s Eve.

Beltane is a fun festival, usually associated with lots of singing and dancing, fire jumping and raucous behavior – it was seen as a brief respite from toil when winter was now only a memory and the summer and harvests were but a few months away. It is the last of the Spring fertility festivals and the most joyous.

Beltane Recipes

One of the traditional meats that was served at Beltane feasts in the lands of the ancient Celts was most likely pork.
In fact sheep are still the predominant livestock in Ireland of today. Apples are also a popular fruit of Beltane.
So I hope that you enjoy the recipe below.

Pork Tenderloin with Potatoes and Apples

3 whole, boneless fresh pork tenderloins, about 1 3/4 lbs.
Salt to taste, if desired
Freshly ground pepper to taste
2 tbsp. corn, peanut or vegetable oil
1 tsp. dried or chopped fresh rosemary leaves
1 onion, about 1/4 lb., peeled and cut in half crosswise
8 red, waxy potatoes, about 1 lb.
2 Golden Delicious apples
1/4 c. fresh or canned chicken broth
2 tbsp. finely chopped parsley

1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
2. Sprinkle the tenderloins with salt and pepper. Put the corn oil in a pan large enough to hold the whole tenderloins in one layer. Sprinkle with rosemary and turn the pork in the mixture to coat it all over. Place on top of the stove. Arrange the onion, cut side down, around the pork. Heat the pork, turning to make certain the pieces do not stick. Cook until the pieces are lightly browned all over. Place them in the oven.
3. Meanwhile, peel the potatoes and put them in a saucepan with water to cover and salt to taste. Bring to a boil and cook 5 minutes.
4. Peel, core and quarter the apples as the potatoes cook.
5. Drain the potatoes and arrange them around the meat. Turn the pork and continue baking for total of 30 minutes.
6. At the end of that time, scatter the apple quarters around the meat and return the pan to the oven. Continue baking 15 minutes.
7. Remove the meat to a warm serving platter. Add the broth to the pan. Stir and bring to a boil about 5 minutes; remove from heat. Cut the pork into crosswise pieces and serve with the potatoes, apples and the sauce spooned over. Serve sprinkled with chopped parsley. Yield: 4 to 6 servings. courtesy of cooks.com

Another great idea for dinner on Beltane is mead. But since it is alcoholic it is not always acceptable to everyone and is off limits to kids. So why not try a non-alcoholic mead?

Soft (non-alcoholic) Mead
4 cups spring water
1 cup honey
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. ginger
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 lemon, sliced
1 orange, sliced

Bring the water, honey, nutmeg, ginger and cinnamon to a boil in a non-metallic pan. Stir until honey is dissolved; heaviness should disappear from bottom of the pan. Use wooden spoon to skim off skin that forms at top of brew. Add lemon and orange slices, squeezing as they are placed in the pan. Cool completely; strain. Store in bottle in refrigerator. courtesy of clannada.org