Beltane is the spring fire festival of the goddess – and yes, it’s just as magickal, whimsical, and sexy as it sounds! Beltane takes place on May 1st in the northern hemisphere and is the seasonal and energetic opposite of Samhain, or Halloween, in October.
Variations of this festival are found throughout the Irish, Celtic, Scandinavian, and Northern European regions. Beltane is the second spring sabbat; where the spring equinox in Marchcelebrates the start of the season, Beltane celebrates the heart of spring.
An Introduction to Beltane
In the modern mythology of Wicca, this is the time of year when the god and goddess join together in sacred union to fertilize the earth, so it’s often considered a celebration of fertility and sacred sexuality as well.
Beltane always occurs during Taurus season, (that’s when the sun is in Taurus each year in April and May), and within a few weeks of the new moon in Taurus and the full moon in Scorpio. Taurus and Scorpio are natural opposites in the zodiac, ruling the spectrum of divine feminine energy, from the sensual goddess to the powerful witch!
When is Beltane?
There are three different methods for calculating the date of Beltane. In the northern hemisphere, the calendar date, and the most common Beltane date, is May 1. However, there is nothing cosmically significant about this date, nor was it significant to our ancient ancestors, since it’s based on the Gregorian calendar which was only invented in 1582.
Rather than the calendar date, celebrating Beltane’s astrological date and/or the lunar date is also an option. Astrological Beltane occurs when the sun reaches 15° of Taurus on approximately May 5, the exact halfway point between the spring equinox and the summer solstice. Lunar Beltane is celebrated on the full moon closest to May 1, which is typically the full moon in Scorpio.
All of these potential dates are valid and meaningful, so I encourage you to choose the one that resonates with you most or celebrate them all!
In the southern hemisphere, Beltane occurs on October 31, when the sun reaches 15° of Scorpio, or on the full moon in Taurus – the seasonal and astrological opposite of the northern hemisphere.
Especially in Ireland, Beltane is traditionally celebrated with bonfires late into the night, (hence why it’s referred to as a Beltane fire festival). However, perhaps the most famous and enduring image of Beltane, also sometimes known as May Day, is the maypole.
A maypole is a tall wooden pole erected in the ground with ribbons strung from the top of it. Dancers, often wearing flower crowns, hold the ends of the ribbons and weave the ribbons around the pole. This practice isn’t isolated to Beltane and the dance is sometimes also performed at the summer solstice.
So what’s the deal with the maypole, besides being a sweet, folksy tradition? It’s actually quite a bit sexier than you might imagine. See, the pole represents the divine masculine, (as a phallic image), and the ribbons represent the divine feminine, (as an image of the womb encompassing the phallus). Yep, it’s downright sexual!
And… let’s be honest, a bit problematic. Although there is a lot of incredible wisdom and magick to be found in the concepts of the “divine masculine” and “divine feminine”, these terms have also been used to oppress members of the LGBTQIA2+ community, especially trans individuals. They’ve also been used to uphold patriarchal ideas about “femininity” meaning to be malleable, submissive, and dangerously powerful when left “unchecked”.
The deeper truth of Beltane is that both sexuality and gender are a spectrum. The divine feminine is, generally speaking, any energy expressed by any gender that is intuitive, receptive, heart-centered, and sensual. The divine masculine is, generally speaking, any energy expressed by any gender that is structured, active, head-centered, and provides a strong foundation. Both/all are powerful.
This doesn’t mean that maypoles are canceled or we shouldn’t celebrate with them, just that we should always take the time to reevaluate and bring our modern perspectives and ideals to the traditions we engage in.
Beltane is a celebration of this spectrum of energies within ourselves and as expressed in the natural world around us. In this article, we’re going to explore numerous ways you can have a sex positive and/or gender neutral Beltane celebration that still honors the magick of this spectrum.
The Symbolism of Beltane
The Beltane symbols are all about the abundance and blossoming of the earth during this season. The most essential symbol, aside from Beltane bonfires and the maypole, are probably roses. Roses are associated with love goddesses almost universally, from Aphrodite and Venus to Lakshmi and even Mary Magdalene.
In Europe and North America, rose gardens and wild roses are in full bloom at Beltane, along with other fragrant and romantic blooms. Roses and flowers of all kinds are perfect for decorating your Beltane altar or even adorning yourself with.
Bees and honey are also an important symbol of Beltane, (and the summer solstice six weeks later), as they represent the earth’s fertility and the flirtatious energy of this season, flitting from blossom to blossom.
Beltane Correspondences to Help You Celebrate
- Beltane Colors: Pink, Green, Lavender, White
- Beltane Crystals: Rose Quartz, Rose Opal, Jade
- Beltane Flowers: Roses, Lavender, Honeysuckle
- Beltane Foods: Rosewater desserts, honey cake, mead and sparkling wine
3 Sexy Self-Care Rituals for Beltane
There are lots of ways to honor the sexy, fertile, and flirtatious vibe at Beltane in your own life and celebrations. Let’s explore three sexy ways you can celebrate Beltane and practice self-care!
Solo Sex Magick
There are certainly Beltane rituals for couples, but first, let’s talk about how to celebrate Beltane alone – after all, Beltane fertility rituals are for everyone, regardless of relationship status. Plus, even if you are coupled up, sometimes we just need to honor our own bodies and sexuality!
Sex magick is pretty much any practice of incorporating witchcraft and sexuality. There’s no wrong or right way to do it, aside from consenting participants.
The idea of sex magick is that arousal and orgasm raise mystical energy, which can be used to bring about your will in other areas. We’re talking the heightened awareness, increased heart rate, and heavy breathing you experience as you approach orgasm – it’s called a climax for a reason, after all.
You can practice sex magick with one or more consenting partners, but I actually find solo sex magick to be one of the most impactful methods of casting spells.
In my own practice as a witch, I really don’t cast a lot of spells or do what’s called “spellwork.” My spirituality is more about self-understanding and being in flow with my own internal rhythms and the rhythms of the cosmos… but to be honest, when I do cast spells, solo sex magick is usually my first choice.
Beltane celebrations are a great time to cast spells to open your heart to love so you can call in a new relationship, to increase your capacity for self-love or to be more gentle in your self-talk, or to increase abundance in your life, (which could be an abundance of love, opportunities, money, etc.) Solo sex magick is a great option for any of these!
All you really need for this is a space that feels sexy and your own fingers but you might also want to cleanse your space, light some pink and white candles, take a ritual bath to prepare yourself, or use rose-scented massage oil or a rose quartz yoni egg or pleasure wand. Take the time to at least tidy up your bedroom and put some luxurious sheets on the bed or put on some sexy lingerie for yourself.
Choose a short phrase to encompass your intention, such as “I am opening my heart to love.” As you begin to touch yourself, begin to repeat the phrase slowly out loud. Slowly bring yourself closer and closer to the edge, repeating the phrase or even reducing it to one or two words.
Keep yourself from orgasming at least 2-3 times, getting close and then backing off, before finally allowing yourself to climax, repeating the phrase out loud or in your mind the entire time.
Give yourself plenty of time to rest, hydrate, and come down from the energy you’ve raised afterwards.
Candle Spell for Reigniting Passion
Since Beltane is about both sacred sexuality and literal fire, it’s the perfect time for couples to reignite the spark in their relationship. This is a ritual you can do together to reconnect with your passion for each other.
You Will Need:
- A sheet of paper, torn into 6 pieces
- White or pink pillar candle (freestanding, not in a glass container)
- Neutral oil such as olive or sunflower
- Rose or geranium essential oil*
- Fresh red or pink roses
- Fire safe container like a cauldron or heavy pot
*Be sure to use essential oil and not fragrance oil which can contain chemicals and toxins.
Sit across from one another on the floor. Place the candle in the center between you on a dish and arrange your other supplies nearby. You might choose to wear lingerie, play sensual music, light other candles around you, or to set up a larger altar with roses, images of Venus, The Lovers tarot card, or symbols of your individual love.
Pour a little of the neutral oil into each of your left palms and drop in a few drops of the essential oil. Gently stir it with your fingertips, then both reach down and coat the sides of the candle with the oil, stroking from the bottom of the candle up to the top to raise the energy, (but without getting oil on the very top or on the wick itself.)
Gaze into each other’s eyes and deeply inhale the sweet scent. Each pick up a rose and begin to gently pluck its petals, sprinkling them around the unlit candle.
Take three of the small sheets of paper each and write one thing on each that you love or find attractive about your partner. When you are finished, light the candle between you. Take turns reading what you’ve written on each sheet of paper, gazing into each other’s eyes for at least 30 seconds between each reading but not touching or kissing yet.
Before you move onto the next reading, hold each sheet of paper to the candle flame and drop it into the fire safe container so it can safely burn to ash.
When you’ve finished reading everything you’ve both written, meet over the candle flame for a passionate kiss, then extinguish the flame – and perhaps move this ritual to the bedroom.
Fertility Ritual for Creativity or Conception
The idea of a fertility ritual can mean many different things to different people. For someone on a fertility journey who is trying to conceive a child, it might mean a ritual to support them in actually creating new life.
At the same time, for someone who is not trying to conceive, (or perhaps, who is actively trying NOT to), the idea of a fertility ritual might seem like a big NOPE, but hear me out!
Beltane is a celebration of the renewal and fertility of life – yes. But it’s also a celebration of the fertility of the land and the hopefulness our agrarian ancestors would have felt at this time of year for an abundant crop in the summer and fall.
In modern times, we can take a metaphorical approach to this by doing rituals to increase the fertility of our creativity and projects and to call in an abundant outcome to our efforts.
An altar is a surface filled with meaningful objects and symbols of an energy, person, deity, or entity that we wish to honor and a fertility altar is a wonderful way to call in more abundance – and it’s versatile enough to work whether you are seeking fertility to conceive, for a project, or any other endeavor.
Decorate your altar however you feel called to, then keep it clean and tidy, light the candles daily or regularly, and spend time here visualizing yourself receiving all the abundance you desire. A fertility altar like this will be especially potent at Beltane but you can actually create or maintain one at any point in the year.
Beltane Fertility Altar Ideas for Creativity
- Images of Venus or Athena (or other goddesses of creativity or creation)
- Yellow or orange roses
- Bee imagery, honeycomb or jar of honey
- Yellow, orange, green, or white candles
- Coins or money
- Your own artwork or something to represent a project you’re working on
Beltane Fertility Altar Ideas for Conception
- Images of Hera or Diana (or other goddesses of childbirth or motherhood)
- Pink roses
- Baby rattles or shoes
- Pink or white candles
- Photos of your deceased ancestors to protect and watch over your future child
- Dried raspberry leaf or fresh raspberries (which support fertility)
Are you celebrating Beltane? If so, tell us which Beltane festivities you’re most excited to indulge in or share more ideas on how to celebrate Beltane.