Though the nights continue to often drop below freezing here, we have not experienced fresh snow for at least three weeks. Little by glorious little, signs of spring have returned to the landscape.
Nature – though not immune to human wrath of course – seemingly unaware of the hardships and tragedies unfolding across the globe at the moment, follows a rhythm nearly as old as time itself.
The months and seasons will transpire no matter what we do. They were here long before you and I were born, and it is a virtual certainty they will be here long after.
For those who observe it, the Pagan Wheel of The Year is much the same.
While there is little historical proof that any ancient culture observed the exact same eight festivals/sabbats annually, contemporary Pagans and witches have combined elements of traditional seasonal celebrations to create a powerful eight-part sabbat system that aligns with the beliefs/practices of many (though certainly not all) who fall under these wide banners.
One of the neopagan sabbats that we do know a fair bit about and which has roots stretching back for many centuries is Beltane.
This is – in the Northern Hemisphere – the traditional Gaelic May Day festival. Along with Samhain, Imbolc, and Lughnasadh, these four comprised the main seasonal festivals observed by the early inhabitants of Gaelic settled lands.
Today these annual dates, which each fall between an equinox and a solstice, are often referred to as “Greater Sabbats” and “Cross-Quarter Days”.
Fascinatingly, back in the time of the ancients who inhabited various parts of Europe, Beltane heralded the start of the summer pastoral season.
It was not, we believe today, a mid-spring celebration, but rather the unofficial start of summer.
This view was held by various other cultures around the world, too, who saw May – not the latter days of June – as being the time when spring began to pass the torch to summer.
It is primarily for this reason that the sabbat of Litha (the Summer Solstice) which follows Beltane has traditionally been referred to as Midsummer in various cultures (including many in Central and Northern Europe).
Starting at Yule (if not Samhain) straight on to Imbolc and to a degree, even during Ostara, many witches/Wiccans/Pagans work diligently to honour the power of light and warmth. Candles, fires, warm colours, and everything from crystals to foods in sunny hues are employed to this end.
We know that our actions do not actually cause each season to return, but by working in tandem with them and celebrating both the present moment and the months ahead, we strengthen our ingrained bond to each chapter of the year all the more.
Though it is at Litha that the sun reaches its annual apex, with the Summer Solstice being the day of the year with the longest amount of sunlight, I cannot help but feel that so much of what we have worked towards and eagerly anticipated culminates in Beltane’s return.
In this post, we are carrying on with the periodically occurring series here in which a slew of crafts, DIY projects, and home décor ideas pertaining to one of the sabbats is rounded up in a handy-dandy spot for all those who may be seeking ideas and inspiration on this front.
Thus far, this series has covered the following sabbats:
As you no doubt guessed, Beltane will be the focus this time around. 😃
Before we dive headfirst into the list of forty awesome Beltane craft ideas, however, let’s explore the celebration of May 1st a little more.
Part spring, part summer, entirely lovely
Beltane has one foot firmly planted in spring and the other – which I like to imagine as sporting a chic sandal – in summer.
South of the equator, many who observe the sabbats in reverse order to those in the Northern Hemisphere, are embracing Samhain just as we throw open our hearts once more to Beltane.
For those who count down the nanoseconds each year until Samhain’s return, the knowledge that from May 1st onward, we will be closer to the end of October than further away from it is enough to make us downright giddy.
I adore Beltane and find my connection to it grows stronger with each fresh year. In a lot of ways, I have come to see it as the Samhain of the spring/early summer and find that I do indeed get rather excited + happy as May 1st rounds the corner again. 🥰
On the day proceeding Beltane, April 30th, I observe Walpurgis Night. This event is not a sabbat, but it is a traditional Central European event that some – both inside and out of the contemporary Pagan/witchy world – continue to mark centuries after its roots first took hold.
A sizeable percentage of my ancestry hails from the lands comprising Central and Northern Europe, and my own eclectic witchy bases the majority of its practises and beliefs around the Paganistic traditions of these lands. Thus, Walpurgis Night jives with my path all the more.
I have come to look at it a bit like the Beltane equivalent of Christmas Eve. Though the two observances do, of course, differ significantly! 😄
Beltane is a joyous, gorgeous seasonal celebration that is open to one and all, regardless of their personal spiritual journey.
We each have a right to celebrate and delight in the return of May and the road it will guide us on as we venture forth towards full-fledged summertime.
Some of the most common and potent Beltane themes, correspondences, and symbols include the following:
-Fertility and new life
-Herbs, herbal medicine, and herbal magick
-Seeds and sowing (both literal and metaphorical)
-Flowers and green plant life
-Baskets (including traditional May Day baskets)
-Sacred bodies of water (and water in general)
-Faeries and other wee folk
-Youth and remaining young at heart
-Passion, lust, and love
-Handfastings and weddings
-Knots and knot/cord magick
-Growth (both in terms of the natural world and one’s own personal growth)
-Cleansing and purifying
-Sunshine and light
-Music and dancing
-Hobbies and passions
-The Maiden entering the Mother/Mature phase of her lifecycle
-Both the Divine Feminine and the Divine Masculine
-Giving, sharing, and helping others
-Seasonal foods and feasts
-Varieties of incense and essential oil [LINK] centered around seasonal plants, flowers, fruits, and herbs (i.e., lilac, honeysuckle, rose, thyme, rosemary, lemon balm, strawberry, etc)
-Honouring and tending to the earth
-Listing to and following your heart
-Divination and connecting with the spirit world/ancestors
-Trusting your intuition
-Burning away/parting with elements that are holding you back or no longer serving you well
-Growing further in one’s spirituality
-Uniting and permeating the mundane with a greater sense of the sacred
-Nurturing and compassion (very much including self-care and self-love)
Other names and alternative spellings for Beltane include – but are not limited to – Beltaine, Belltaine, Bealtaine, Beltain, Beltine, Beltany, Bealteine, Bealtuinn, Bealltainn, Boaldyn, Lá Bealtaine, Latha Bealltainn, Cétamain (the Scotch Gaelic word for “May”), Céad Shamhain, Cétshamhainin, Mayfest, and May Day.
Colours associated with Beltane include (but, again, are not limited to) the following:
-Purple (particularly lavender, lilac, hydrangea, pansy, and violet shades)
A case could be put forward that Beltane is the merriest of the sabbats. It is bathed in light, adorned with countless new blooms, and full of a positive, hope-sparking energy that is all but palpable.
And in some respects, it is for those whose hearts beat in unison with the shifting seasons.
If you would like to learn more about Beltane, please check out my previous posts focused specifically on the subject:
–12 Awesome Nature-Centered Activities for Beltane (Guest post that I wrote for the Witch of Lupine Hollow website.)
Clearly, I enjoy list entries when it comes to Beltane! 😄
Whether you observe Beltane as a Pagan sabbat or not, we can all embrace and let our creativity shine as vibrantly as the newly returned spring sunshine during these early days of May.
Many of these projects are well suited to Ostara and Litha (and even Lammas, too, for that matter), so there is little to say you must automatically whisk them off into storage come the Summer Solstice.
While the bulk of these crafts are not ones that were designed specifically for Beltane, each contains elements/themes that are squarely at home in this cheerful chapter of the year and therefore easily landed themselves on this list.
I had a stellar time scouring the web for these Beltane-appropriate projects and hope that they bring you no shortage of enjoyment and inspiration as well. ☀️
40 Fantastic Beltane Crafts, DIY Projects, and Décor Ideas for May Day
1. Green Man Mask: Embodying elements of both nature and the sacred/divine masculine, the Green Man is an ancient archetypical figure who symbolizes rebirth, new life, nature, and harmony.
This exquisitely lovely mask looks complex, but objectively, is not that tricky to replicate yourself – especially if you have experience in working with polymer clay.
Whether you wear your completed Green Man mask, use it on your Beltane altar, incorporate it into springtime magickal workings, or set it out as a gorgeous display piece, this is one of those handmade treasures you are bound to reach for year after year.
2. Woodland Mason Jar Lights: What would a craft project roundup post be without at least one mason jar project? 😄
But seriously, there is a good reason why this most humble and hardworking of canning supplies has become a mainstay not only in that arena, but also in the realms of home décor and crafting.
Take this beautiful illuminated jar project for example. It is easy, budget-friendly, and a cinch to put together.
And once you have done just that, you have a breathtaking way to illuminate any dark or nighttime setting. And one that would also, I cannot help but think, make for a stellar addition to just about any woodland wedding setting.
3. Knit Flower Basket Tea Cosy: I have a thing for cozies – toaster, hot water bottle, tea kettle, you name it! If it can reside in its own darling little house, so to speak, I melt faster than butter on hot toast.
This whimsical flower basket knit tea cosy is equal parts adorable and elegant, and strikes me as an excellent gift to whip up and give for Mother’s Day (which, here in North America, is coming up next month).
Plus, for all those tea witches and herbologists out here, this would be an especially lovely way to keep your favourite magickal brew warm.
4. DIY Magic Paintbrush: Clever, resourceful, and very pretty, this creative project breathes new life in old paintbrushes and can be adapted to fit any colour palette your heart desires. Why not go for a rainbow now, fall colours in a few months, and icy cool or rich reds + greens for wintertime?
5. DIY Beltane Incense Recipe: Making (typically, loose) incense yourself can be a potent and highly enjoyable way to not only deepen your connection to this beloved product, but also potentially come up with some awesome and very unique blends in the process.
Take Moody Moon’s lead and put together your own festive incense mix this Beltane season. Ensuring, of course, that it is burned in a fire-safe receptacle (such as this terrific little cast iron cauldron), as loose incense does not work well or safely with most types of stick incense holders.
(Also on this same site, be sure to check out the author’s delightfully delicious recipe for Beltane Faerie Cakes with Candied Violets.)
6. DIY Paper Bird’s Nest: The simplest of supplies are all it takes to create these sweetly beautiful paper bag bird’s nests that look like they took ages to make, but which are actually a (springtime) breeze to put together.
They are every bit as at home for Beltane/May 1st as they are Ostara/Spring Equinox and Litha/Summer Solstice, and would also be such a fun and festive way to present small gifts to friends, relatives, neighbours, teachers, and so forth throughout the year.
7. Beautiful Beaded Wind Chimes: When I was a little girl, my paternal grandparents had several different sets of wind chimes hanging from the roofing over their deck. Each time the wind rustled through them, it sounded like pure magick to my young ears.
Decades on, I delight no less in seeing, hearing, and even making wind chimes. If you enjoy any of those things as well – or know someone who does – this versatile and very lovely beaded wind chime project may be right up your (breezy) alley.
Plus, it is a great way to use up some of that “bead soup” that so many of us crafters naturally amass over the years.
8. Garden Creatures Cross Stitch Pillow: Fun fact, cross stitch – along with papercrafting and beading/jewelry making – is one of my top three favourite crafts of all time. I have been making tiny “Xs” on aida cloth since I was five or six years old and while these days I rarely have anywhere near the time I wish I did to devote to this passion, I try to get in at least a wee bit of cross stitching annually.
If you likewise enjoy this classic form of needlework and are looking for a charming springtime pattern to stitch up, allow me to suggest this adorable garden themed one that can be turned into a pillow or left flat and framed, as you desire.
9. Lavender DIY Wands: By far one of the most popular sunny seasonal plants the world over, lavender and its telltale scent are just the thing to imbue a beautiful sense of nature into any Beltane or May Day celebration.
This lovely project utilizes lavender and ribbon to create elegant wands that you can put to work in a wide variety of ways. Use them to scent linens, group a few as a centrepiece, use them on your Beltane altar, give them as gifts, or if so inclined (they are technically wands after all) as part of your magickal springtime workings
10. Easy DIY Paper Flower May Day Wreath: While Kristy – the skilled designer of this project – uses a digital die cutting machine to create the flowers in her example here, you could easily replicate this darling May 1st wreath using manually/electronically die cut flowers or simply hand-cut and shape several blooms from scratch.
No matter what approach you take, you are bound to create a great little wreath that can easily be left out on display the whole sunny season through.
11. Peas in a Pod Crochet Pattern: There is cute, and then there is uber kawaii. This ridiculously adorable “peas in a pod” crochet project falls squarely into the latter camp and is an awesome way to celebrate one of the season’s most delicious garden offerings.
12. A Beautiful Grass Heart Craft: Nature provides the supplies at the heart of this enchanting craft project and highlights the depth of creative possibility that resides in even the most humble of materials.
13. May Day Flower Baskets Made from Tin Cans: Rare is the time I am not enthusiastically on board with recycling or upcycling everyday items into something creative, clever, and – frequently – very handy.
This sophisticated-looking, very inexpensive project hits all of those nails on the head and leaves you with one or more pint-sized flower baskets that can be filled with the real deal, artificial blooms, small gardening tools, writing implements, or just about anything else that fits inside of them.
14. DIY Leaf Pinwheels: An excellent craft to make with little ones, these lovely pinwheels utilize real leaves to make a classic toy that can easily double as a centrepiece, home décor item, or even – if multiples are grouped together – a wonderfully unique bouquet.
15. Easy DIY May Day Baskets: The tradition of May Day baskets, or posies, stretches back for centuries, and holds no less charm and appeal in the 21st century as it did for those of the past.
These festive hangings are a joy to make, place around your home, and give as gifts – be it for Beltane/May 1st, Mother’s Day, birthdays, anniversaries, or any other occasion you feel they would be a natural fit for.
16. Mini DIY Butterfly Pinatas: There is no need to wait for a birthday party to bust out – and open 😄 – the pinatas – especially if they are quick and simple to make versions like this adorable mini butterfly version.
Just think, for example, how sweet and special would it be to put one of these on (or alongside) each person’s place setting at an Ostara, Easter, Beltane, Mayfest, Mother’s Day, Wedding Shower, or birthday party.
And while we associated pinatas with candy, you can technically fill them with other small items instead, too (i.e., small craft supply items, costume jewelry, or beautiful little crystals – make sure, though, that if you include anything that could easily break if dropped that you instruct your guests to open their miniature pinatas over a table or soft surface such as a sofa).
17. Pressed Flower and Leaves Bookmarks: Preserve some of the season’s loveliest little blooms and leaves with this creative, low-cost bookmark project that is perfect to do with kids or (other) adults alike.
And don’t worry, a laminator is not essential here. Clear contact paper can be used instead to deliver the same kind of long-lasting results when creating your homemade pressed leaf and flower bookmarks.
18. Ribbon Streamers: No life-sized maypole to dance around this Beltane, but still in the mood to connect with the symbolization and enjoyment alike that colourful ribbons can present?
May I suggest these vibrant DIY ribbon streamers which you can flutter in the breeze, dance with, securely hang up to flutter in the wind (though, do keep in mind the materials used may not be weatherproof, so bring them inside after your festivities are over), use as a Beltane/May Day decoration, or leave out year around an upbeat piece of rainbow hued home décor.
19. Printable Strawberry Treat Boxes: A printer and the most basic of craft supplies (white cardstock, ribbon or twine, and adhesive) are all it takes to construct these precious little strawberry treat baskets.
Use them for gift giving, send them off in lunchboxes with a yummy bite to eat and a handwritten note tucked inside, or gather several in a basket or bowl and use them as a sweet-as-the-real deal springtime home décor item.
20. Coffee Filter Dancers: Don’t you just love it when the most basic of everyday items can easily be transformed into something enchanting?
I certainly do and as such, instantly fell head-over-heels for this cute, creative, and unexpectedly elegant use of coffee filters.
Compose a handful of these pipe cleaner beauties and place them around a tabletop mini maypole or anywhere else around the house that you wish. They are enchantingly sweet and perfectly suited to springtime.
Plus, with the addition of paper wings, they could easily become faeries or angels.
21. Quaint Flower Socks Free Knitting Pattern: In a season famous for the return of open-toed shoes, knit socks might not be the first thing we think of slipping onto our feet. And yet, not every pair of knitted socks needs to be blizzard-in-January thick/warm by any means.
This sweet, #cottagecore perfect floral themed thin knit pair is a wonderful way to keep on wearing woolen socks long after the last snowman has melted for the year.
22. Make Mosquito Repellant Candles: No word of a lie, many is the year when, in the span of two weeks or less, we have gone from multiple inches of snow on the ground to all but needing to take a bath in buy spray to keep the plagues of mosquitos as bay.
For my entire life, I have been one of those people that mosquitos instantly gravitate towards. So much so, in fact, that when I was growing up some of my relatives used to state (only vaguely jokingly) that they would not get a single bite themselves so long as I was nearby.
Suffice it to say, as someone who adores the outdoors but does not want to be an all-you-can eat buffet for the local ‘skitters, I am always on the prowl for natural ways to help combat this pesky element of the sunny season.
These easy, attractive looing DIY mosquito repellant candles are just the thing to utilize from the first telltale high-pitched buzzing sound until the last all spring, summer, and autumn long.
23. How to Make Pipe Cleaner Daisy Rings: One of the crafting world’s most classic and versatile products springs (seasonally related pun intended) to life in this super fun DIY jewelry project.
Pipe cleaners are all you need to create one, two, five, or a whole garden’s worth of vibrantly hued daisy rings – that, while certainly well-suited to youngsters, can also be a blast to wear as an adult as well.
Plus, how great would creating these be as a make-and-take craft project during a child’s birthday party?
24. DIY Woodland Butterfly Wreath: There is just something about both wreaths and butterflies that suits spring every bit as wonderfully as tall stacks of strawberry shortcake.
If, like, me you can never get enough of either, this sophisticated butterfly themed wreath – which is a snap to make – is a marvellous way to inject a hearty dose of the great outdoors into your interior décor all season long. (Honestly, this project is gorgeous enough to happily leave out the whole year through, if so desired.)
25. Mini Maypoles in 3 Easy Steps: From well-known (and ever-so-creative!) Pagan blogger Moody Moons, comes this easier-than-pie approach to making darling little mini maypoles that can be used Beltane after Beltane. They are upbeat, festive, and meaningful all in the same go.
26. How to Make Lavender Bath Sachets: Themes of cleansing, purification, bathing, and water in general are tightly interwoven with Beltane. Celebrate and connect with them all the more by setting aside some time to savour a gorgeously aromatic soak in the tub care of these lovely DIY lavender bath sachets that are just about as easy to make as turning on the faucet. 😊
27. Sweet Strawberry Painted Rocks: The immense interest in rock painting that swept through the craft world a few years ago is continuing to stay strong – and for good reason! Rock painting is fun, fairly budget-friendly, and endlessly versatile.
Case in point, these adorable little strawberry rocks. How fab would a handful of these be scattered across a table for a tea, garden, Mother’s Day, or birthday party? Or what about in a decorative bowl on the breakfast table to brighten the mornings of all who see them before heading off for their day?
(Note, while not specified in this lovely DIY tutorial post, if you want the painting on your rocks to really last over time, I suggest covering them with a layer or two of suitable clear varnish/sealant once the acrylic painting has thoroughly dried.)
28. DIY Mini Maypole Cakes: Unlike most of the other projects featured in this post, these mini bundt cakes themselves are not intended to be reused year after year.
However, so long as you do not include any perishable items on them, the cute little handmade maypoles that top them can certainly be utilized multiple times (just make sure they are cleaned of any food residue before storing them away until the following Beltane/May Day) – which is worth doing a happy dance around the nearest maypole over! 😊
29. Crochet Magnolia Applique: This detailed how-to post guides you through all of the steps (and supplies) needed to create as many elegantly prettyu crochet magnolia appliques as your heart desires.
Use them to embellish clothing, wreaths, centerpieces, napkin rings, papercrafting projects, gift wrap, or whatever creative idea your mind can dream up!
Note: Calling all crocheters, the very talented Olena, who created this wonderful project has also made and shared scores of other crochet flower patterns on her site, many of which she links to in this post.
30. Rainbow Pinecone Fairies: Precious, colourful, and sweeter than springtime honey, these adorable little pinecone fairies are a cinch to put together, make for a great project to do with kids, and are no less at home on a bookshelf or dining room table as they would be on your Beltane altar.
31. May Day Mason Jar Gift with Free Printable Tags: Spread some festive springtime cheer to friends, neighbours, relatives, colleagues, or anyone else you fancy by surprising them with one (or more) of these super easy to make jars full of sweet springtime blooms that are both plant and holder in one.
32. Ribbon and Flower Crowns: Utilizing two items that have long been associated with Beltane/May 1st, this enchanting craft project creates a beautiful floral crown that can be worn for years to come – and/or put to work as a really lovely piece of seasonal décor.
33. Handmade Beaded Butterfly Brooch: Various colours of seed beads, thread, felt, and a suitable clasp pin (or even a safety pin) are all you need to bring this beguilingly lovely butterfly brooch to life.
Copy it as it sits now, or switch up the colours and/or types/sizes of tiny beads and create a whole flutter’s worth of butterflies to wear yourself, give as gifts, or pin in suitable spots around your home as whimsical seasonal décor pieces.
(Related side note: There are multiples terms in English for groups/flocks of butterflies. Two of my favourites are “flutter” and “kaleidoscope”, as both make perfect sense to me. Additional names for groups of butterflies include bivouac, flight, swarm, army, roost, rabble, and wing. Which one/ones do you like best?)
34. Flower Cross Stitch Mini Baskets: While, understandably, we tend to associate springtime baskets with Ostara and Easter, they are no less apt, charming, or beautiful at other points in the spring and summer as well.
These sweet little cross stitch baskets are far easier to make than they may appear at first glance and can be used to hold a wide array of items from wrapped candies to spools of thread, small bouquets of blooms to servettes at a picnic, tea or garden party.
35. Decoupage Pansy Votive Holder Jars: In the past few weeks, I have suddenly felt pulled towards a craft that for all intents I have not dabbled in for many a long year at this point: decoupage.
Fittingly, I recently hit upon this delightful decoupage votive holder jar project that stars tissue paper pansies and creates a magical little light source for those delectably warm spring and summer evenings spent outdoors.
Naturally, these votive holders can be put to work inside the house as well – and you can certainly swap out the pansies for another type of flower or different type of image entirely. For example, how fabulous would these be with a swarm of fireflies depicted on them?
36. Painted Umbrella Wreath for Spring: Though the classic adage states that April showers bring May flowers, the fact of the matter is that in many corners of the world, May can be a pretty drizzly month unto itself! 🌧️
Tap into the eternal association between springtime and rain showers care of this clever + beautiful wreath that utilizes an umbrella to hold your favourite seasonal blooms. Colour me smitten! 😊
37. How to Make a Button Bouquet in a Salt & Pepper Shaker: This awesome wire craft employs a few easy-to-obtain items and creates a conversation-starting gem of a floral bouquet that will last long after the final rays of summer sunshine have gone into hibernation for another year.
(As well, you could always switch up the colour palette and create button bouquets for other holidays and special events, too. Naturally, I am envisioning a dark, gothy arrangement for Halloween and/or Valoween.)
38. DIY Homemade Rose Petal Bath Soak (4 Ways): Of all the blooms that grow across the globe, no other ranks higher for me personally than roses.
Naturally, I am far from alone in my passion for this stunning, richly aromatic flower. 🌹
This Beltane season, celebrate the purification and revitalization properties of water + cleansing by whipping up one of the four different versions of DIY rose petal bath soaks that are housed in this terrific, photo-filled how-to project post.
39. Soft Fabric Strawberries Tutorial: Easy enough to be hand sewn if you do not own (or wish to use) a sewing machine, these precious fabric strawberries add pep and colour to any setting and would be just the loveliest thing to give as a hostess, Mother’s Day, wedding shower, or other occasion gift all spring and summer long.
40. DIY Pentacle Wind Chime for Spring: Beltane and wind chimes are a perfect match in my books, as the latter utilizes melodic sounds created by the hand of nature to create an enchanting background to the sun-kissed months of spring and summer.
This awesome example can be made in whatever colours you desire, dressed up or down, and used both indoors or (in a suitable spot where the elements won’t wreck it) outdoors.
And should you be on the hunt for books about Beltane, you can find a number of them listed in my post, Your Ultimate Guide to Books on The Pagan Sabbats.
PS: If you are looking for ways to better organize your craft supplies + creative space to help make whipping up beautiful springtime projects like these all the more of an enjoyable process, pop on over to my recent post 50 Super Helpful Craft Supply and Craft Room Organizational Ideas.
Light, warmth, fertility, love, harmony, and optimism
These are common themes that run through Beltane each year. They are not the only ones though, and as with each of the sabbats, it is up to the individuals who observe them to work with the themes, concepts, and (if applicable) deities that you personally feel most connected to in your practice.
Interestingly, despite being one of the warmer sabbats in much of the Northern Hemisphere, fires – particularly bonfires – are an activity pertaining to Beltane that stretches back to the ancient inhabitants of what is today the UK, Ireland, and some of the Norse lands.
Traditionally, either on the evening prior to May 1st or the night of Beltane itself, household candles and hearth fires would be doused or snuffed out. Inhabitants of the community would then gather together as a sizable bonfire was lit (often on a hill or other steeper vantage point).
Various rituals were often carried out in conjunction with the Beltane/May Day bonfire. One of the best known of which was driving livestock (particularly cattle) between two separate, but very closely situated, fires as an act of purification, blessing, and strength.
This tradition was documented as continuing to take place in parts of the UK and Ireland well into the 19th century and it is thought that at least a few European farmers continue it to this very day.
Much as with livestock, humans would sometimes also walk between the fires or – assuming the flames weren’t too dangerously high – possibly even leap over fires at Beltane as well.
Torches alight with flames from these communal fires would be taken home to rekindle hearths, candles, rushlights, and oil lamps in the hopes of a bright future in the coming growing and harvesting months.
As these fire(s) burned down and it was safe to then do so, in some areas, people would anoint themselves and/or their animals with ashes. Others are believed to have also been scattered across fields and budding crops to help ensure a prosperous harvest in the coming summer and autumn months.
Acts such as these tap into the ancient practice known as sympathetic magic/magick (sometimes also referred to as imitative magic/magick).
In this case, the fires of Beltane represented the sun, while also acting as a form of ritual purification that helped to burn away negative energy, sources of harm, and lingering challenges from the previous year leading up until May 1st.
These are all benefits that each of our lives is bound to be bettered by. Therefore, it is of little surprise that some people continue to light fires – be they roaring bonfires or the flames flickering atop tiny chime candles – upon May’s return.
Another common element of early Beltane celebrations was that of food and feasting. 🍓
Given the wonderful array of fresh produce returning to farmer’s markets and grocery store shelves (not to mention home gardens) these days, honouring the start of May with a scrumptious feast can be an excellent way to connect further with this meaningful point in the calendar.
Naturally, so can letting your creativity soar far and wide as well.
Whether you opt to follow any of the projects shared above, take a general sense of inspiration from them, or go down your own artistic path entirely, allow these revitalizing days of mid-spring (or early summer, as you please 😊) to fuel the proverbial bonfires of your own creative undertakings this Beltane season.
Do you view Beltanet as being more aligned with spring or summer? Which of these festively lovely May 1st craft ideas jump out at you most of all? ✂️🌼🎨