May Morning Magic, Rituals, & Offerings for Beltane
Blessed Beltane! Today marks the next turning of the wheel in the Celtic calendar – if Equinox/Ostara was the spark of springtime, the fire now blazes bright on this May day morning. While Beltane is typically celebrated on April 31st through May 1st, this fire festival has been around since a time long before the modern calendar. In days of old, the start of Beltane was typically marked by the blooming of the first Hawthorn trees, a signal that summer was upon the land.
This sacred start to the summer season was an auspicious time of magic and tradition for my paternal ancestors from Scotland and England. Ian (my partner) who is of Irish and Welsh descent also has a relationship to the Beltane fire festival...we both have been pouring over stories about the myth and magic of Beltane associated with our ancestral lands to learn more about who we are and where we came from. For these stories are not just words on a page...they are the living, breathing reflections of our ancestors that live on as we walk the Earth today.
And just a little note for those who are not of Celtic ancestry...the celebration of the start of summer is not unique to the Celts – traditions around this day can be seen across many cultures throughout the world.
Beltane marked a transition from winter to summer, encouraging our ancestors that with the warmth came a fruitful harvest...and because of this, Beltane is not really just one day but a season that starts now and continues on until the Summer Solstice. So if you're rising this Wednesday and feeling bummed about not being able to celebrate the start of summer, do not fret! The magic of this season is not isolated to one day and you may surely observe it anytime that feels right for you :)
The Beltane season is quite special to me – not just because of my ancestral traditions and ties to this holy day. But because it is during this time every year that I experience the most growth. Like the garden, I too grow strong and tall as we near summer solstice, revealing my blooms to the world with confidence and excitement.
Beltane is also associated with young love and romance which I find quite delightful as Ian and I met just days before Beltane two years ago, had our first kiss at my Beltane party on the 5th of May, and fell in love during the Beltane season, proclaiming our official relationship status around midsummer. Coincidence? Or auspicious timing? Who am I to say! But I'm going with the magic of Beltane for sure.
My Beltane practices have varied through the years but there are a few things that I have and will always do on this day. The first being to go out gather the May.
On the evening before Beltane or at dawn on Beltane morning, we walk through the woods and gardens to gather holly branches, berries, mugwort for burning, and wild flowers to greet the sun as it shows its first light on May morning. If we lived where they grew, we would also add rowan branches and Hawthorn blooms to our May bouquets!
In the morning especially, we go out to collect the dew. It is said that the most sacred form of water is dew, especially when gathered on Beltane morning. Traditionally, on this day maidens would gather the dew from Hawthorn flowers and wash their face with it as a magical way to ensure beauty.
The Beltane dew was also sprinkled on the livestock and farm to ensure a good harvest and in the home for cleansing and healing. Lore states that the Beltane dew will forever stay fresh, never to sour or fade in its magical potency.
This morning we did something especially magical – and yep, I mean like 5 hours ago. Last week it occurred to me that I could very well encapsulate the magic of the season that I wish would never end...how? By making a flower essence.
M A Y M O R N I N G D E W E S S E N C E
a flower & stone elixir by Rowan + Sage
Today at dawn we went roving out to gather the May and create an elixir full of the sweetness of Beltane morning. Into our crystal bowl went snapdragons, foxgloves, chicory, rose petals, red clover, jasmine, and honeysuckle – dew from dandelion leaves, smoke from the Mugwort bush, and a quartz crystal cluster to bring it all together. All the while, we sang traditional May carols, infusing this essence with songs of old + lots of magic. Tonight at our Beltane feast under the apple trees, we will pass the mother essence through the flames of the Beltanefires to seal the magic in ritual.
The bottle is super special too…Ian illustrated a really beautiful label with a bouquet of flowers included in the essence! Since you're a subscriber to our newsletter, you get first dibs on this magic potion! We made a very small batch that will only be available through this weekend or until we sell out so don't miss this offering of May day magic!
BELTANE CELEBRATION IDEAS
Go out and gather the May! If you are able to get outside and gather your own flowers do so when you are able. But if you're a city witch like me, head down to your local flower shop and purchase the bouquet that speaks to you.
Beltane also calls for a feast! Oat caudles and bannocks are traditional, as is roasted lamb with spring roots, greens, and herbs. If you are able to gather with friends or loved ones, host a potluck of spring foods, sing songs together, light a big bonfire, and dance around the flames. Not sure what to cook? Here's my favorite recipe for Spring Nettle soup!
If you're stuck in a small apartment like me, light some candles! Still sing songs! Feel the warmth of this season penetrate your entire being in whatever ways you can. Cleansing the borders of your land (or apartment) with Mugwort smoke is also a wonderful way to honor this transition from spring into summer. For more ideas, check out this incredible podcast by Danica Child of the Fair Folk Podcast.
Queen of May Brew
I wouldn't be me if I didn't send you away with a recipe for this season! This herbal brew makes two cups of tea, one for you, one for your May Queen or King! Feel free to make more of this recipe if you like...you can strain it and keep it in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to three days.
1 tbsp Hawthorn Flowers
1 tbsp Rose Petals
1 tbsp Red Clover
2 tsp Lemon Balm
1 tsp Cinnamon Chips (or half of a cinnamon stick)
Add all herbs to a 16-20 oz of hot water, cover, and steep for 15 minutes. Strain and enjoy with liberal amounts of honey!
Last little update! In addition to creating the magical May Morning Dew elixir, we have completely updated the shop with our full line of tinctures, restocked The Moon Mugwort & Lavender Body Oil, and have added a line of flower essences made from native plants or flowers grown in our garden.
I hope you enjoy the magic and medicine of this season, dear friend! May the fires of Beltane lead you into the sweetness of summertime!
With all my love,