The Eight Sabbats
The Moon Phase Esbats
Casting a Circle
Tools and Chakras
Herbs and Oils
Simple Spells


Beltane, also spelt Bealtaine or Beltaine. It also known as Roodmass and celebrated 30th April/1st May.

At Beltane (Gaelic for bright - light) fires would be lit. Cattle were herded through the smoke to purify them, ridding them of parasites.

To our Pagan ancestors, May Day was the first day of Summer. Traditionally, young couples would marry and ask that their union be made fertile. They would often light small Beltane fires which they would jump over to bless their union. Men and women would dance around a male phallic symbol (may pole) attached to it by cords or ribbons raising power in it, to make the male sexual organ capable of fertilising the female, and as it was embedded in the earth, to raise power to fertilise the land.
At Beltane, the Goddess is personified as the Goddess Rhiannon, the Celtic equivalent is the Goddess Epona. Both the Goddess Rhiannon and the Goddess Epona are horse goddesses.
At Beltaine, as the Maiden, she is riding the white horse, with birds flying about her, music accompanying her, and the horse is now her consort, the God, representing the power and fertility beneath her girth. A symbol of the Goddess Rhiannon can be seen at White Horse Hill, Uffington, a stretch of downland near Wantage, Oxfordshire. It is said that couples wanting a child should go there and at Beltaine and let nature take it's course!
As maiden she is associated with a white horse, and depicted as finely dressed in gold. The famous nursery rhyme, "Ride a cock horse to Banbury Cross", is now far removed from the original version and meaning. Rhiannon was Goddess of the crossroads, often just referred to as the "cross". This has nothing to do with the Christian cross (crucifix) that Banbury is now famous for, the original Christian cross only dating back to Norman times.
The "cross" of pre-Christian times was the name given to a convergence of ley lines, these days often called Michael and Mary lines, as Christians built their churches of the same names on these convergences.
The original rhyme goes,
"Ride a cock horse to Banbury "cross", to see a fine Lady upon a White Horse, with birds at her shoulders and bells on her toes, she will have music wherever she goes."
At Beltane she was believed to ride to the cross of ley lines where the power would be strongest, the cock (male) horse being her consort, the God, in his aspect of young and virile. Men would also "ride" into town to greet their brides. They would symbolically mount a pole with a horses head attached, representing the young God. This pole was and still is called a hobby horse. The word hobby, in old English meant "pony" or small horse. Only the Goddess was deemed "queen" to ride the stallion.
These traditions are still enacted, especially the May pole dancing, and in Banbury, school children are encouraged to make hobby horses and ride them, without any referance to the true origin or meaning behind them. I often wonder how many parents realise that their children are either dancing round a huge penis, making it errect, or have a male phalic symbol between their legs in the shape of a hobby horse!
Ironically, witches usually now celebrate Beltane more symbolically to bring a blessing of fertility to the land and a more symbolic general blessing of richness to our own lives, we leave all the ancient fertility rites up to other religions!

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