Bealtaine is one of my favorite holidays. One reason is simply because, unlike the Spring Equinox, Bealtaine truly brings the warmer weather to Northern NY. Another reason for my fondness is that it’s basically my unofficial Pagan anniversary. I don’t know exactly when I started the conversion process, but my first experiences with two Pagan groups that shaped my practice occurred on two separate Bealtaines. I get really excited about the High Day.
A small coven invited me to celebrate with them this weekend, but that didn’t work out for health reasons. My husband and I contemplated visiting our friends at Muin Mound Grove, but we ultimately decided to stay closer to home and rest. A marathon Bealtaine would have been fun, and would have taken me back to my college days when such a feat would energize rather than exhaust me. Nowadays, I’m a little more subdued, and my daughter keeps me so busy that I’m worn out before we even leave the house! I know many Pagan families with older children who are able to take long trips in order to attend multiple gatherings or festivals – I look forward to doing that again down the road.
So, staying home, I focused on the home. I cleaned it as best as I could, although I admit it’s never entirely clean. There’s always something in progress in my kitchen… I’m very hearth-centered, so I suppose that makes sense! I cleaned my altars, which Bee found fascinating as it gave her a chance to look at everything. We decorated our family altar with symbols of the season. We even made a little May bush with fallen birch and apple branches. We each picked colored ribbons to tie to the branches. It looks very festive!
In addition to making dinner, I made some scones on Bealtaine eve. We offered some to the Good Folk. This morning, I made pancakes as my mother told me my grandmother always made pancakes on the first of May. I love learning about and continuing family traditions, especially when they somehow line up with my High Days! Of course, an offering of said pancakes was made.
We did a little ritual the night before in which we gave offerings to the Kindreds and the Good Folk. We jumped over our altar candle for blessings and purification. Bee thought this was great fun. She wore the flower circlet I crocheted, a tutu, and her new ballet slippers – she’s quite the performer! This morning, it’s raining, so I just collected the rain water for purification and healing work. I made offerings to the only flowers blooming right now – lovely purple ground ivy – and picked a few sprigs to offer to the Good Folk on my doorstep.
Simple and sweet, but certainly inspired by tradition and full of fun and meaning for my family. Now we will look forward to the big protogrove celebration next weekend!