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  • Writer's pictureHeather Morrison-Tapley

Happy Beltane! The Pagan Day to Jump A Fire!

Dancing Around a Beltane Fire

Beltane is an ancient pagan holiday celebrated to this day throughout much of the world. The word comes from the Celtic words of Bel - referring to Belenus, the Celtic god of the sun - and Teine, meaning fire. It translates into "Fire of the Sun" or others say "Lucky Fire". Centuries ago, bonfires were lit the night of April 30 to celebrate the beginning of the fertile summer season, and the time when cattle were driven to their summer pastures. Cattle would be driven between two bonfires to their pastures, the belief being that the smoke protected them from illness during the summer months. Later cattle would be made to jump over small fires to protect their milk supply. People also would jump fires for fertility and luck. Today the Beltane Fire Festival in Edinburgh Scotland is probably the largest celebration of this pagan ritual with thousands of people, from all over the world, gathering to sing and dance around huge bonfires. Before even the Pagans celebrated this holiday, the ancient Romans celebrated it with a month of what historical texts refer to as 'an orgy" - lots of drinking and sensuality for a month of nights. This was of course banned by later more restrained emperors and then reinstated by ones who liked a bit of fun. The festival lives on in Ireland and Scotland and offshoots all around the world, dancing and jumping fires to celebrate fertility, summer and life! When I lived in France people would hand out little hand-fulls of snowdrop flowers on May Day, similarly to celebrate abundance and summer. And in Traditional Chinese Medicine, we are entering the Yang time of year - the summer which is warm, active, outward and full of motion and growth. Yang is the part of the Yin/Yang cycle of life that is associated with fire, the sun, heat and activity. So we can light a fire, or a candle, and keep the ancient tradition of welcoming and celebrating Summer with all it's pleasures and abundance. #beltane #ritual #stonefeatherfire #summer #mayday

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