Beltane: The Beltane Goddesses
Beltane is Coming! Celebrate with the Beltane Goddesses
Beltane, also known as May Day, is fast approaching. Ribbons are waving in the wind and the earth is bursting forth with life. Flowers are in full bloom and wildlife is blossoming, as well. Perhaps you are looking forward to a full-blown Beltane ritual on May 1st this year. Whether practicing in a group or solitary, you may want to incorporate some traditional and unique Beltane goddesses into your Beltane ritual.
For hundreds of years, fertility has been celebrated on May Day. Many modern day Pagans and even the ancient Pagans were thought to have danced around the Maypole to ensure fertility. Not just fertility for offspring, but also fertility of the harvesting of the crops and financial bounty. Wouldn't it help to include some of the ancient Beltane Goddesses in our celebrations of fertility? Here are a few Beltane goddesses from different pantheons and cultures that you could consider as a part of your May Day celebrations.
Druantia - A Druid Beltane Goddess
Druantia to put it quite simply is the goddess of the Druids, hence her lovely name. She is specifically associated with the fir tree, and because the Druids were in alignment with the trees, you can see why she was an important goddess to them. Some associate her with the dryads, or spirits of the trees. But I believe she is much more than a dryad...she is a goddess of the sacred trees. Druantia is also a Beltane goddess and why? Because she is a strong fertility goddess.
Druantia can be called upon at Beltane as a Beltane goddess because of her powers of fertility for both humans and the earth's bounty. If you plan on planting a new tree or begin your gardening this Beltane, make sure to call upon Druantia as your patron Beltane goddess. She will bless your new trees and crop with her fertile womb.
Flora - Roman Spring Goddess
Flora was not a very well-known goddess in Greek history until the resurgence of her face in artwork during the Renaissance and Victorian eras. Flora was the Goddess of the Spring and of course flowers (as her name indicates) and the Romans held a celebration in her honor between April 28th and May 3rd every year. You can see why she would be a powerful and yet serene Beltane goddess to incorporate into your Beltane rituals.
Because flowers represent fertility and life, Flora is the ultimate representation of life and new life deified. Scatter flower petals all over your altar in celebration of new life and the union between man and woman to bring forth new life. This in turn will bring a little of Flora, the Beltane goddess, to your Beltane rituals and celebrations. The celebrations of Floralia (the Roman equivalent of Beltane or May Day) ceased in the third century BCE, but we can bring them back if we truly wanted to.
If you feel especially connected to Flora the Beltane goddess, plant a garden in her name or celebrate Beltane fron April 28th through May 3rd in the name of Floralia. Wear flowers in your hair and on your clothes. Honor Flora by keeping a fresh bouquet of flowers on your kitchen table. Once the flowers dry up, make them into a beautiful Beltane wreath for your front door.
Maeve - The Queen of Beltane Goddesses
Maeve is a powerful and somewhat dangerous (if you're not prepared for her) Beltane goddess from Celtic Irish pantheons. Maeve was once a Queen of Ireland and was not only considered a fertile Queen but also a fierce and cruel warrior. Her powers of fertility were misconstrued through history and slander was uttered that it would take "30 men to satisfy Maeve's" sexual appetite. Maeve has also been diminished into a Queen of pixies, of sorts. While it's not a bad thing to be the Queen of the Pixies, this truly is a downplay for Queen Maeve's original status as a Beltane goddess.
Maeve came to me one night in a dream, as a lovely young maiden with long golden hair and cloaked in a red robe. She almost resembled little red riding hood; however, she was fierce. Do not let her somewhat innocent maiden looks fool you. This Beltane goddess is a great invocation for the Great Rite. She will spice up your intimate life, too. Call upon Maeve for power in the bedroom and also in your Beltane rituals. Just watch out...it might be too spicy for you to handle!
Cybele - Eldest Fertility Beltane Goddess
As you can obviously see in the statue to the right, Cybele was considered a very strong and very fertile goddess. Because of her powers of fertility, she would be a great Beltane goddess to incorporate into Beltane ritual. As a Goddess who was celebrated in different regions, it is not for certain that she was ever celebrated on Beltane because different cultural Pagan holidays varied than those of the Celtic people at the time. However, that doesn't mean that we can't incorporate Cybele as a Beltane goddess on Beltane.
Cybele is also known as Kybele and the "Mountain Mother". Is it thought that she originated in what is now modern-day Turkey but was brought to Rome by the Romans in order to triumph over Hannibal. Kybele's original priests in her native land were actually priestesses, but once she was brought to Rome her holy-women turned into holy-men. Unfortunately the honor of Cybele was almost destroyed in the 4th century CE when Emperor Justinian ordered her followers to be murdered and her sacred texts to be burned. Believe it or not, Saint Peter's Basilica in the Vatican was built directly over her temple (Illes, Encyclopedia of Spirits, pg. 601).
Cybele is a beautiful woman, mature and her womb ready to burst forth with new life. She is more than the "bloodthirsty" goddess that the Church made her out to be. Incorporate her into your Beltane ritual by visiting a nearby cave (Kybele was thought to live in sacred caves and was worshiped in caves in her original form in Turkey). Dance ecstatically and raise your vibrational energy as you call her name. Cybele the Beltane goddess feeds off of ecstatic, blissful human energy. And that is what Beltane is all about, no?
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Beltane is Beautiful...Life is Beautiful
Our ancestors from many different cultures celebrated the height of Spring...new life, fertility, and the powers of the earth. Even if you're not Pagan or you're unsure as to what your path is, why not incorporate the celebration of Spring into your life? Light a green candle and just be thankful for the life that is within you. Beltane is also the time for the Great Rite, the union between the god and the goddess. So celebrate the relationship that you are in...if you're not in a relationship, possibly think about performing a love spell to draw love to you or simply just revel in your single life. If you're with someone, make love to them. Cherish them.
If you're a woman, give thanks for the fertile womb inside of yourself. Even if you are unable to give birth to a child, you are still a fertile and beautiful woman.
If you're a man, give thanks for the fruit of your loins...literally and metaphorically. You are strong and powerful and are able to contribute to new life in this world, be it a child or simply the fruits of your labor.
Incorporate these Beltane goddesses into your Beltane rites this year, or find your own Beltane goddesses that are appropriate for your path. Happy Beltane.
From New York to Edinburgh, We Celebrate Beltane
© 2012 Nicole Canfield
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