Beltane and May Day 2018
Originating in Pagan tradition, May Day, or otherwise known in Celtic countries as Beltane, signals the beginning of Summer. It occurs halfway between the Spring Equinox and the Summer Solstace,
Last night, on Calton Hill in Edinburgh, 1000's of people celebrated the time-long tradition of welcoming the coming season of warmth and light. It is an amazing spectacle, bringing together people from all over the world.
For full information about the Beltane Fire Festival and to view the most spectacular pictures, please visit the Beltane Fire Festival website.
To give you an idea of what happens, firstly, the Neid fire is lit and a horn is sounded to welcome the beginning of the Night....
The May Queen makes her entrance and the Green Man, clothed in his winter attire dies but is newly revived in his Summer guise.
He is then welcomed by the May Queen and accepted as her consort. Together, they light the Beltane bonfire and celebrations ensue into the early hours...
Unfortunately I couldn't attend this year. However watching the torch lights climbing up the hill and when at the top, seeing the various shapes and forms of all people and creatures dancing on the hill was a sight to behold. It was a strange but wonderful sensation and I hope I can truly attend in person next year and maybe even get involved!
I felt I had stepped back in time watching ancient Celts at Stonehenge or any Stone Circle in ancient Britain repeating their welcoming to their gods of Summer.
I have always been fascinated by everything Pagan and even though a Christian, the traditions, rituals and closeness to nature and spirituality is something very near to my heart. I loved watching Britannia on Sky Atlantic earlier this year and even though a little far fetched, it revived my interest in everything Pagan, The artwork, the rituals, the jewellery, the weapons - there are many groups identified as Pagan including Druids, Heathens and Wiccans with spiritual traditions based on a reverence for nature.
I hope this has inspired you into finding out more about Beltane and the wonderful May Day traditions the world over. I haven't even touched the surface!
The other thing to remember is next year at Dawn on the first of May, make sure you get up early and wash your face in the dew to have youthful good looks for the rest of the year - one worth remembering!
Sammhuin later this year is on the 31st of October, All Hallows Eve, is also something to behold, signalling the overthrowing of Summer into Winter, overseen by the Divine Hag, Cailleach - certainly a more frightening prospect on an Autumn's eve in the Old Town in Edinburgh...