Whenever I think of Beltaine I always hear a musical line in my head. The song is “Santa Claus Is Pagan, Too”, by Emerald Rose, and the line is, “just you wait til Beltaine and we’ll see who’s having fun!” That sums it up. Yep, this is the great sexual rite of Spring. If you are going to celebrate the Great Rite, now is the time to do it; the God and Goddess will come together to fertilize life itself. The deities associated with the rites of Beltaine are numerous and boisterous. Since sexuality and fertility are such a huge part of Beltaine, it makes sense to invoke the deities who are called upon to make sure that the fields, and the people, are fertile and fecund.

There are many traditions that are put into use to celebrate this day, but one that has almost fallen out of memory is the Wild Ride, not to be confused with the Wild Hunt that takes place at Samhain. The Wild Ride is all about sex. It is possible that this is where the legend of Lady Godiva began. The Maiden, in name only, is completely nude. She mounts a horse, preferably white, and takes off into the night. The God chases her through the night. When he catches her, then the Great Rite occurs and fields are fertilized with the passion of the coming together of the deities. No, this is not a rape! She wants to be caught, but he has to prove he’s worthy of her by catching her. This is a strong, independent woman who knows her worth, and the Lord of the Forest, the Stag King is fully aware of what he is chasing. Katy Perry’s “Dark Horse” comes to mind. Ultimately, he chases her until she catches him. It is this Rite that takes the deities from youth to the fullness of their power, and that power transfers to the people and fields of life. When the Goddess resurfaces she is the May Day Queen, granting her blessings to the people around her. It was this rite that gave rise to the idea that Beltaine is the moment when the God and Goddesses are married. It is certainly the moment when they truly commit to each other, and the world around them. Whatever has occurred between them until now were the games that children play, now they are fully adult and their union creates reality.

Beltaine is another Sabbat that has some confusion over when it is celebrated, and it begins with when people started celebrations in times past. Back in the day you started the actual celebration at sundown, partied all night, and when the Sun came up the next morning, the final rite was performed. So, at sundown on April 30th until everyone passes out at some point on May 1st is the time to celebrate. Have a good one!

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