What are Beltane Rituals and Symbols?


Beltane is already here so its rituals. It is an ancient ceremony which is marking the beginning of the summer. If you smell a bit, you will realize it. Time is changing, the weather is getting warmer, fairies are out, the curtain between the fairies’ realm and human realm almost disappear you can feel them.

Especially in early mornings. The magic is shining. You can feel the hotness of summer and still the freshness of spring. It is just great, as it is. Everything is waking up, listen a bit more, you can feel the joy and love in the air.

Listen, see, smell, touch, feel the cycle that nature goes through, and witness how these energies are affecting your life. Mother nature is just enjoying out there.

The Beltane Blessing (Am Beannachadh Bealltain)

Bless, O threefold true and bountiful,
Myself, my spouse, my children.
Bless everything within my dwelling and in my possession,
Bless the kine and crops, the flocks and corn,
From Samhain Eve to Beltane Eve,
With goodly progress and gentle blessing,
From sea to sea, and every river mouth,
From wave to wave, and base of a waterfall.

Be the Maiden, Mother, and Crone,
Taking possession of all to me belonging.
Be the Horned God, the Wild Spirit of the Forest,
Protecting me in truth and honor.
Satisfy my soul and shield my loved ones,
Blessing everything and everyone,
All my land and my surroundings.
Great gods who create and bring life to all,
I ask for your blessings on this day of the fire

Folklorist Alexander Carmichael, Carmina Gadelica

I am reading this prayer while listening Luar Na Lubre singing Tu gitana (Ao Vivo). 

I find myself in the big fields with spring flowers, hawthorn trees flowering, whispering to my ears that it is the magical time of nature. 

This time let’s witness the magic through the eyes of the people of Ireland, Scotland, the Isle of Man and Galicia, through their celebration called Beltane, which is the name of the four Gaelic seasonal festivals—along with Samhain, Imbolc, and Lughnasadh.

What does Beltane mean symbolically? Why was it important?

Beltane celebrates the coming together of male and female energies to create new life, the union of the Goddess and the Green Man.

Imagine living in big fields, directly connecting to nature and you have big animals which you take care of. As you are people of animals, not the plants, for you 2 seasons exist summer and winter.  

Beltane was marking the beginning of summer and was when cattle were driven out to the summer pastures. Rituals were performed to protect the cattle, crops, and people, and to encourage growth. 

When it is celebrated?

Most commonly it is held on 1st May, or about halfway between the spring equinox and the summer solstice for Northern Hemisphere. 

Whereas Beltane is about the flowering of the trees, especially the hawthorn, called May blossoms as they are normally flowering at this time of the year. As Beltane is celebrating the seasonal change, it is not just one day, it is when the trees blossom, when animals go outside, when nature is calling its creatures and when they all meet. 

Ancient people were aware that through rituals, they could connect to the sacredness, and in Beltane rituals, there was an emphasis on some elements: 

Elements of Beltane Rituals

 Fire element:

  • The word itself originates from the Celtic God ‘Bel’, meaning ‘the bright one’, and the Gaelic word ‘teine’, meaning fire. As its name also emphasize, for Beltane fire was the most important element, because of the protective powers of fire.
  • Special bonfires were lighted up as their flames, smoke, and ashes were believed to have protective powers. 
  • The people and their cattle would walk around or between bonfires, and leap over the flames and embers for the blessings of fertility and protection.
  • I loved this idea that all household fires would be doused and then re-lit from the Beltane bonfire. 

Water element: 

  • It is the time when the grass is shining in the mornings, thanks to dew and this is why holy wells were visited, while Beltane dew was thought to bring beauty and maintain youthfulness. 

Earth element:

  • Doors, windows, byres, and livestock would be decorated with yellow May flowers. 


  • Of course, in such a joyful celebration, there was food and drink to enjoy all together. Some of the food was also offered to the spirits to protect their livestock and a bit was offered to each of the animals (fox, eagle, etc.) that might harm their livestock.

Beltane ritual ideas if you feel connected to Beltane: 

  • Get up early, enjoy the morning light, and dew also enjoy nature just before the sunset. Smell and touch and see and feel, so you can just be. If you can bring some flowers and wear them in your hair, would be great. 
  • Light a Beltane fire if you can and if not, you can invite fire elements to your home with lighting even a candle. Do not forget that fire was an important symbol of protection and purity, so bring your consciousness and make a ritual. Imagine that fire is burning all the unnecessary energy and creating a new and fresh one.  
  • It is a celebration time with family, friends, and community, with good food and drink and dance and music, so find a song that gives you joy and just let you free. 
  • You can give some offerings to spirits and wild animals. 
  • You can bring beauty to your space and your life by making art, listening to good music, refreshing your wardrobe. 
  • Just celebrate, celebrate, celebrate, whatever it means for you and let us know in comments how you celebrate it. 
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