by Rain Trueax
Here we are at another Celtic festival-- actually this one is April 30-May 1 and it's a May Day celebration for many cultures. I still remember May poles, where the pole had streamers and children danced around it. I don't know if that is outdated or now seen as occult. It has another meaning for me-- my father's birthday in 1910.
represents the peak of Spring and the beginning of Summer. Earth energies are at their strongest and most active. Where I live, it does seem more like the beginning of summer than Summer Solstice when we are already in the heart of our summer. There are rituals to welcome the summer. Beltane is known as the time of love as well as hand-fasting. Anytime is good to be a season of love.
I've used Gaelic or Celtic festivals now in three of my books. Beltane became important in the climax to the most recent one, A Price to be Paid. Lammas (Lughnasadh) was in the contemporary paranormal, Sky Daughter. Samhain was in the Oregon historical Going Home). I have Solstices and equinoxes when they fit. I always note these days in my own life, sometimes do a little ritual with them. They are about nature and the earth more than any religion.
In terms of historic meaning in Celtic lands, Beltane was when the cattle were put out onto the wild pastures. Ours are already be out on theirs (as well as beyond where they were supposed to be) as the ground hardened up enough for them a little early-- despite all the rain we've had. The grass though is growing, and it's a good time as summer is my favorite season.