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Beltane and the Dance of Life

In the Celtic Wheel of the Year, the holiday of Beltane is traditionally celebrated on May 1, commonly known as May Day. Ancient peoples were very much aware of the end of winter and the beginning of the growing season. Their lives were dependent on sowing the seeds that they hoped would ultimately produce an abundant harvest. By the beginning of May, the Earth was very much alive with bright and strong colors. The sky was a sharp blue, and the trees were in blossom. This was the time to celebrate the dance of life, the awakening of the senses from a long winter's sleep. It was the last of three fertility festivals of the Wheel. The first was Imbolc, which celebrated the land's fertility. The second, Ostara, was about the fertility of animals. Beltane was the time of human fertility. People were encouraged to be playful and flirty. May Poles were festooned with flowers and ribbons for dancing and celebration. Now that the winter layers were finally removed, people reveled in the sunlight, becoming more confident with extra doses of Vitamin D. Darkness was replaced by radiant light and warmth and people could blossom in the same way that the Earth was blooming again.

In Celtic legends, Beltane was the time where gods and goddesses would find one another and fall in love. A common tradition was for young lovers to spend the night together around the specially constructed Beltane fires.

Love is definitely the theme of Beltane. But all different types of love are considered. Modern Beltane celebrations focus on getting more in touch with oneself. It is a wonderful time to strengthen relationships and renew old friendships. There is a reconnection with our human core, and we begin to dance again.

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