Halfway between Spring Equinox and Summer Solstice is the cross quarter time of Bealtaine, the celestial announcement of the Summer season, even though temperatures may not yet tempt us to the beach . As the sun’s height and dominance in the dance between day and night increases from Spring Equinox to the climax at Summer Solstice, halfway on that trajectory is the moment of Bealtaine. The communal celebration of Bealtaine is usually May 1st or the first Saturday in May. When an Irish-Gaelic speaker wishes to refer to the month of May, they will use the word Bealtaine (say Bee-yowl-tanna).
Rituals and ceremonies that celebrate fertility, protection, cleansing, relationships, clan bonds, colour, abundance and renewal are part of our traditional Bealtaine. As we see at Uisneach, it is one of the seasonal fire festivals, along with Imbolg, Lughnasadh and Samhain. Unique to Bealtaine, fires are often built in pairs, one close to the other. Even today, some farmers will drive their cattle through the gap between them just as their Ancestors did, to call in protection for the herd now they are no longer in the shelter of Winter-Spring sheds. Some farmers also say the fires make some parasites on the skin of their animals jump off in reaction to the light and heat of the flames. In that spirit of calling in the energies of protection and cleansing, the farmer and family then follow the cattle between the fires.
Please enjoy our community ceremony in the video below. We share some ideas on how to welcome the energy of Bealtaine into your home and life at this time of year.