Beltaine is Comine! One of the two most important holidays on the Celtic Wheel of the Year (celebrating the all important sex and death), Beltaine lands on May 1st every year and is the festival of fertility, sex, of loving life, joy, and of love.
It’s kind of like witches’ Valentines, only more fun and with no singledom guilt.
It’s one of the oldest festivals in the world, and in the Goddess traditions is often associated with the Goddess in her form as Lover.
What’s Beltaine About?
At Beltaine we celebrate the deliciousness of physical existence: we eat juicy strawberries, breathe in the scent of the tree blossoms, and make love in the fields.
Often Beltaine is thought of as the Sex Festival – In many pagan traditions and wheel-of-the-year stories, this is the time of year when the Maiden Goddess blossoms into sexy womanhood and takes the Green Man as her lover – they have sex on Beltaine and the Goddess becomes pregnant.
For Pagans and Goddessfolk, sex is a holy act and is free of all the sin and stigma of the patriarchal religions we grew up with – here sex is fun and juicy and an everyday shameless part of life.
Beltaine is the time of year when sexual energy takes centre stage, and many ancient Beltaine traditions mirror this sexy energy: dancing around the maypole (a fertility dance, wrapping the red and white ribbons of the Goddess around a phallic staff in the ground), making love in the fields to promote fertility for the crops, and Handfasting rituals taking place at this time.
Obvious sexy, fertility, conception-inducing things.
But, let’s be real, isn’t all life sexual energy? Sexual energy is the surge of creation, the conception of an idea, the desire and longing to be something, have something, bring something into life. Everything we create, everything we do is because of sexual energy – the energy of creation IS sexual energy.
That’s the thing I love about Beltaine. It’s the reminder that life is meant to be one heady ride of desire, longing, and flirtation with the universe. If all creation is sexual, and sex is awesome and fun and thrilling and exciting and weird and oh-so-delicious?
Beltaine is a great time to look back on our life and go, what kind of sex am I having with the universe right now… and what kind of sex COULD I be having instead…
… and maybe look at how you are getting off on some of those weird uncomfortable things you say you hate and don’t like very much 😀
(My teacher Carolyn Elliot is the best at describing this endless foreplay with the universe and figuring out how your shadow is getting off on it – you should totes join her mailing list here.)
Goddess Traditions and Beltaine
This time of year is perfect to honour the Goddess as Lover, and get cozy with all the beautiful seductive, enticing Lover goddesses in the world: Aphroditie, Rhiannon, Osun, Freya, Erzuilie, Branwen, Radha, Parvati…
These goddesses represent love in an erotic sense, and their stories are about true love, passion and desire, but they also represent the ability to fully embrace and live out the feminine qualities of beauty and desire.
These Goddesses are not romantic teenagers who have read Twilight one too many times – they are women who stand in their whole power as Woman, who recognise and use their awesome magnetic sex-bomb powers, who are unafraid of a woman’s power and sexuality in a world that is so often terrified.
If you look into the stories of some of these goddesses you find that they were the Originals – their source lies so deep in the mists of time that it has been lost and they have shapeshifted throughout cultures. Their ancient feminine power and sexual agency was so threatening to Patriarchal cultures who wanted to control and dominate – I’m thinking of how Zeus tried to marry Aphrodite off to control her, but even, even in the patriarchal narrative, she was still untameable and took as many lovers as she pleased.
I’m thinking of my favourite Osun story when she was sent down to Earth to create the planet with a bunch of Dude gods, and they ignored her and she got pissed and only when she was listened to and could take point did the world come into being – because femininty, beauty and sexuality is utterly integral to existence. These dude gods tried to make a world without it, but they failed.
Are there ways you deny the qualities of Beauty, Femininity and Sexuality in your lives? Do you ignore your inner seductress, your inner Lover Goddess? How could you embrace Her this Beltaine Season?