Beltane Newsletter 30 April 2019
Beltane is upon us once again. This is my favourite Sabbat and time of year, as it is all about fun and frolic, friends and family. Get-togethers are rife as we get the fires and barbeques lit, the salads tossed and the drinks flowing. The weather should be better now and we are full of hope once again as to what the summer will bring this year! This is the one Sabbat I celebrate away from the calendar, for which I blame King Arthur, my favourite legend. Maybe it was from my childhood, when Camelot was one of my favourite films, and you see Guinevere checking the May to begin the summer celebrations, or maybe it is somewhere within the Mists of Avalon, my favourite book again featuring the Arthurian legend, but I celebrate Beltane only when the May-flower tells me summer is here, opening their coats to reveal a change of season. There is something mysterious and magickal about watching the hawthorn on your daily walk, knowing which bush flowers 1st, and waiting till they tell you it’s Beltane, a tradition that stretches millenia, so although the Calendar date used for Beltane is dusk on 30thtill dusk on 1st, and why we have May-Day holiday to celebrate, I wait until Nature herself tells me it is so, the real Witch’s way to celebrate.
Beltane is one of the joyous Celtic festivals, also known as May eve or Walpurgis Night. It celebrates the union of the Lady and Lord, the Greenwood marriage. Fires are lit at dusk to celebrate the strength of the sun, who now has the job now of warming the seeds and ripening the crops that have all been sown. Fire is at the centre of the celebrations and betrothed couples would commit to each other by jumping over the embers of the Beltane fire. Cattle would be driven through a track between the fires to help keep the milk safe, seeds held over the fire for blessing for a good crop, and fire embers taken home to light the hearth for a safe and happy home. Anything could be blessed or consecrated over the Beltane flames, so don’t waste this opportunity, and as my precious little grandson Ragnarr was gifted over my Beltane fire, the magick of the real Beltane truly does work.
What to do at Beltane
If you are going to have a Beltane fire, it is traditional to wear a ring of flowers in your hair as your Beltane circle or place a basket of flowers on your altar or more traditionally, your hearth – the fire centre of your home. Decorate the altar with yellow or red candles, and if they are beeswax, even better, as honey and the Bee are a traditional part of Beltane. It can be as simple or spectacular as you want it to be, as long as it is safe. It can be a simple yellow candle lit in salt within your cauldron, the candle representing the male and the cauldron the female, or a bonfire in the garden attended by family and friends. The important thing as far as I am concerned is the lighting of the fire/flame before the sun sets and keeping it going through the night if possible, which represents the magickal energy of the sun and the beginning of summer as we head for the longest day!! The magickal flame can be used to bring things to you or take them away. Write down what you need to come or go to or from you, preferably in symbols, and have the paper engulfed by the flame, whether in your cauldron or in your fire, and state something simple to the flames such as
‘Fire, fire, take (bring) this from (to) me, this is my will so mote it be’. Simple but it works!!
If you want a partner, job, baby, good health or to lose a bad habit, use this night to help solve your problems, and then celebrate in a manner that it has happened…and begin making plans to move forward with your life!!
Spell for Beltane…a little extra help
Between now and when I declare Beltane has arrived in Aberdour, you can leave a duplicate spell in our pot, and when we light the Beltane fire in the shop, we will burn it within our fire, and help you set everything in motion!!
The Fire – an essential part of Beltane
There is something so magickal about a real fire, especially outside in the open air. As everyone knows, I have one at the shop in ‘my office’, one at home which still heats my home and water, and a fire pit in my back garden. Fire is the element of transformation and can destroy everything in its path. It is alive, jumping, leaping and crackling away to itself. Fire is elemental in every way; the smoke rising into Air, the flames fluid like Water, the remains becoming ash to return to Earth and the transformational flames being Fire. To make a real fire, it needs fuel to consume, a spark or heat to light it and oxygen to keep it alive. 13 sticks of wood make it a magickal fire, and always how I begin mine, and it takes love and care to keep the flame alive. No two fires are ever the same and, even I get tested by fire (and just like children in every way). At times, there is nothing cosier than a fire on a cold night or if you are not well, and after a bad day, outside under the night sky burning debris from the garden… clearing my garden of rubbish is like clearing my soul and I always feel better after a good old bonfire…always!!
There are all sorts of materials that I use to get my fire started…the cloths used to wipe my beeswax pots make great magickal fire-starters. You can use old egg cartons and get the kids to help you make these: fill the sections with bits of used cotton wool, lint from the tumble dryer, wood shavings from cutting wood etc and put some in each section to fill. Collect old leftover bits of candle and the wax from used tea lights in a can and melt in a bain-marie, carefully pouring over the dry materials in the egg compartments. When cool, break apart and store in a tin et viola!! You can also collect pine cones and dip them in the melted wax bits too for great natural firelighters.
Beltane fire safety:
There has been a lot of wild fires lately and, when lighting barbies and fires, safely should be paramount so as not to unleash a disaster on the area, as even the slightest of spark or warm ember could begin a fire if dry enough! Enjoy your bonfires as I do, but be sensible too. Here are some points to remember when playing with fire…
1. Light small fires in a pit surrounded by stone or on a beach below the high tide line (tide will put it out)
2. Make sure you are not too near trees as the flames can rise and set them alight
3. Leave as much space as possible around your fire
4. Don’t put aerosols, cans or tyres on the fire (yes, I’ve seen it done!!)
5. Don’t leave a roaring bonfire unattended… put it out before leaving, by using soil, sand or water to dampen and cover the flames, leave for a few minutes, then check again – hold hand over area to make sure no heat is left!
These are just a few safety suggestions so use your common sense. Another fire hazard that I have done myself is to not place crystal spheres anywhere where the sun can shine through. My shop is on the north facing side of the street but just before and after midsummer, we get the sun in our windows at teatime, and I have burnt material, a journal & 2 sets of tarot cards from the sun catching the crystal balls, so imagine what can happen if you display a crystal ball in a sunny window!!! Use your head and make sure have a fun–filled but safe Beltane…thank you!!
Finding Bog Myrtle
Nature provides a remedy for everything somewhere, it is just a matter of finding it, and this truly Scottish plant is the perfect remedy for those little biting beasties. The Highland & Island folk used sprigs of fresh Bog Myrtle for strewing on the floor to keep the home clear of ticks and fleas from pets, and in bedding and linen cupboards to repel insects and moths. Clansmen, fishermen and hill walkers knew something when they always wore a piece of this plant in their hat, kilt or hair, to drive away those pesky midgies when out & about. It is found in peat bogs and by lochs, midgies favourite haunts, just like dock leaves are always found near nettles. The midge must be up for an award for being the most annoying little pest. It may be tiny but there are millions of them, hence why I love bats…they eat their body weight in them every night; there’s definitely a need for bat caves around Scotland as they would never go hungry and would give joy to campers and hikers watching the pesky midge being consumed!!
I never go anywhere, including abroad, without my trusty ‘Midgie B-Gone’, tested on the banks of Loch Ness and containing the oil of this little plant. If you find you are being bitten by the little pests, then look for the little aromatic leaf and place within your clothing. If you want to know what it looks, check out your local Botanical Garden as they will to have it somewhere! Edinburgh’s Royal Botanical Garden has a Bog Myrtle display hedge in the Queen Mother’s garden to walk within…go see it and have a sniff…as this little leaf smells absolutely amazing!!
Quartz family – Sceptres, the fertility quartz of Beltane
I managed to get a few of these little rarities, so thought I would mention them for you collectors of crystals. I found mine years ago and love it, and also have a mini one for my pocket when feeling ‘out-of-sorts’ too, to bring me back into balance! A Sceptre is a crystal point that has grown on top of another crystal point, creating this bulbous tool for fertility and for energy direction. The really powerful ones will be large and quite clear, but their rarity makes it a tool you would want for your collection, clear or not! I carried mine with me when I wasn’t as confident in where I was going as I am now, and really found it a courage-boosting, energy flowing crystal. Each one is individual and attunes to your needs, so these are ones you find for yourself, not just send for off from some random website, as the energy and connection between you has to feel right! It will help you see what you need in your life and what you don’t, and will help unblock blockages in your energy pathways, spreading that energy through your nervous system like the branches of a tree. If you wish to find balance in your life, then find your symbol of power, your sceptre, and once cleansed, carry with you to allow it to find your balance & direction in life.
If, however, you are the sort of person who simply gives your power away, a reversed sceptre will help you find your balance and harmony and to help you get your power back…these have tiny tip and bulbous base!
New Moon: Sat 4 May @ 23.46 hrs Full Moon: Sat 18 May @ 22.12 hrs
New Moon: Mon 3 June @ 11.02 hrs Full Moon: Mon 17 June @ 09.31 hrs
I began writing this on the full moon overlooking Lock Earn on our 1stmotorhome adventure to check out camping off road, but am finishing it laid up having hurt myself instore moving boxes of crystals – feels like another month, another issue, so am taking a couple weeks off in mid-May to head with Meg, our magickal motorhome, to Ireland to explore stone circles, the Giant’s causeway and whatever else the faeries put in our path. The website and FB will foretell any shop closure when decisions have been made, but also, I sense some Midsummer Madness coming, so let’s see what unfolds during our adventures in the land of the leprechauns and will update you as it happens!!
Wishing you Bright Beltane blessings from Chris (alias the Green Witch)
Christine Macdonald, The Green Witch, Mystique Moments, 59-61 High Street, ABERDOUR, Fife, Scotland, KY3 0SJ