The Neopagan “Wheel of the Year” is a modern creation. No historical culture included all eight of our Sabbats in their festival calendar, though each is built around a likely historical Pagan holiday. Principally, our holidays are drawn from either Celtic or Germanic sources. The four “cross-quarter” days are Celtic and usually come with somewhat more historical attestation than the other four. Though Samhain was arguably the most important festival to the Celts, Beltane (also written Beltian, Beltine, Beal-tine, or Bel-tien) was perhaps even more widespread in observance.
Neopagan Beltane celebrations are somewhat different from how the occasion would have been honored by its Celtic originators, though. In modern Paganism, Beltane’s most recognizable festive element is probably the dance around the maypole, but to the Celts, it would have been the ceremonial extinguishing and
relighting of the fires of the tribe. This was kind of like hitting a metaphysical reset switch in order to ensure that the incoming summer season had a potent start. Cattle were often driven between a pair of the newly kindled bonfires as a rite of purification and to encourage fertility. The maypole itself is actually believed to be of Germanic origin.
In fact, our Beltane customs are really a mix of influences from multiple cultures and time periods. Like the Wheel of the Year itself, Neopaganism’s Beltane is a modern construct. But it’s not just a random assortment of bits and pieces. There is a unifying core theme, or characteristic, to Beltane, and that theme is fertility. Nearly everything that we associate with the holiday is linked to fertility in some way.
For Wiccans (and Wicca-derived Neopagan traditions) Beltane is seen as the marriage of the God and Goddess, often personified as the King and Queen of the May. English Mayday customs, like the traditional enactment of “The Marriage of Robin and Marian,” are a likely source for this association. The symbol of the Hieros Gamos (“sacred marriage”) is an old and powerful one, with examples appearing in both early Sumer and Ancient Greece. The union of Masculine and Feminine Divine principles is a central component of the religion of Wicca, where it is symbolized in the performance of the Great Rite. The Great Rite can be seen as an expression of Wicca’s core Mystery, and Beltane’s Sacred Marriage can be seen as that Mystery cast into a grand mythopoetic context.
Of course, Beltane’s ubiquitous maypole carries obvious phallic symbolism, and the associated dance (in which tightening ribbons allow a floral wreath to gradually lower itself down the length of the pole) provides an unmistakable visual suggestion. This is an overt, though abstracted, enactment of sexual coupling. Because of its abstract nature, though, it lends itself to a more expansive symbolic meaning. The pole is not just a phallic representation; it can also be seen as the axis mundi, the center of all creation. The wreath passing along its length can be said to represent the creative principle achieving physical manifestation. In a Mythic sense, a maypole dance is not only recreational but “re-creational”, a symbolic re-making of the world itself. Just like those early Celts, snuffing and re-lighting their fires, modern Pagans still use Beltane as a time to hit a metaphysical reset switch to jump-start our creative juices (and promote fertility).
Visit our Website at http://www.churchofwicca.org/beltane
Tony Brown is a High Priest Emeritus of the North Carolina Piedmont Church of Wicca. He is proud to have been a founding member of NCPCOW. He has been an Eclectic Wiccan for about twenty years and has served as clergy for the last dozen or so of those.
Tony is a devotee of Dionysos, the Greek God of rebirth, transformation, tragedy, comedy, unresolved paradox and wine.
While you’re at the big Beltane Brouhaha, feel free to stop by the Piedmont Pagan Pride Day booth and purchase one of our new T-Shirts, find ways to get involved, or talk to volunteers. We will also have more information regarding our fundraisers, such as the upcoming Desserts and Divinations on June 3rd at Aries Moon and GenBenCon, our gender-bending contest coming up on July 1st!
Piedmont Pagan Pride Day will be hosting a fundraising event at Aries Moon Mystical Gifts in Lenoir, NC (map below) called Desserts and Divinations on June 3rd from 3:30 PM to 9:30 PM! We’ll be offering pastries and other scrumptious desserts, as well as tarot readings (and possibly some other types of readings) from several of our community’s gifted readers. Our pastries will be individually priced, while the readings will be $20 for 15-minute readings! All proceeds will benefit Piedmont Pagan Pride Day! We look forward to seeing you at the event and sharing our talents with you, both in the kitchen and in the cards!
RSVP on Facebook at the below Event link or just stop by!
Kevin is a Gastonia, NC based photographer specializing in live music,
cosplay, and event photography.
He has been behind the lens seriously
for three years. When he isn’t out photographing,
he is busying himself to prepare for the coming zombie apocalypse.
Members of the community will be coming together offer readings and healing
Each appointment is $20 dollars for a 15 minute reading,
all proceeds go to the operation of Piedmont Pagan Pride Day.
If you would like to preregister for your appointment,
Please email at Contact@piedmontpaganpride.com
The Enchanted Kitchen ”Ye Ole Apothecary”
46 Union St South, Concord NC 28025
10 am to 12 pm
Susan is an Intuitive Angel Communicator, Shamanic Healer
and a Reiki master. Through theses types of modalities
she is able to communicate with the Angels on your behalf.
She works with the Angel’s to heal, uplift your spirit,
and give you the information in which you may know your divine self.
She has worked with the Angelic Realm
for most of her life. Through her Angel Card readings,
Susan offers practical down to earth ideas and encourages
you to look at the blessings in your life
10 am to 12 pm
With more than a decade of reading
for friends, family, and herself,
Saidae combines her knowledge
of Tarot with empathy to help others
find insight and guidance
to the questions and situations
that they are seeking answers to.
12 pm to 2 pm
Kiarah has ten years
of experience working
with the tarot and is a
primarily intuitive reader.
Using the story told
by the cards she can help provide
insight into career and
Heather is a Reclaiming Witch, intuitive Tarot reader,
and energy healer from Charlotte, NC.
Heather’s role as a community Priestess
include creating ritual, and providing opportunities
for growth and transformation.
Her desire is to empower individuals to embrace
their Authentic Selves, with their roots deep and
feet firmly planted on the Earth. She is available
for Tarot, Goddess and Faery oracle card readings.
2 pm to 4 pm
Scott is an OBOD and ADF Druid from Baltimore, MD
with a passion for folk magic, comparative mythology,
and working with the spirits of the natural world.
Enraptured with the mysteries of the Norse runes
and with the spirit of Deer (of all kinds!) from an early age.
He reads by casting and communicating with a set of the Elder Futhark
carved into the antlers of a caribou. Scott has a deep love for the helping
and healing of others, and in addition to his study of Southern rootwork,
is certified in the second level of Reiki energy healing.
On the more practical side of things,
Scott is artist who works with pencils, pastels & paints to create sacred
and magical imagery. Commissions available upon request.
Christopher Annon (Rook Adair MacMorrighan)
will be providing Shamanic and Animal Guide card readings.
His readings are intended to guide you along your path
and assist in healing body, mind and spirit.
Christopher has been in martial art for over 25 years
who has recently stepped into the role as priest of the Morrighan.
We are so excited about all of the Awesome & Unique Merchants
that Piedmont Pagan Pride has in store for you this year.
Starting in June, at least once Weekly
We will begin Showcasing PPD 2015 Merchants
Contact us @ Vendors@piedmontpaganpride.com
for more info
We are really excited about Piedmont Pagan Pride 2015
and cant wait to see everyone out there. Thanks so much!!
Laughingbrook Spellcrafting & Ancestral Arts
Half Hour Tarot & Stone Readings $20.
All Proceeds fund Piedmont Pagan Pride 2015
Held Annually to Educate and Connect
Piedmont area practitioners and their allies.
Call 704-903-3527 to book your spot!!
Plan on joining us for some
April Fool’s Fun
While helping support
Piedmont Pagan Pride 2015
Wednesday, April 1
10:00am – 6:00pm
Laughingbrook Spellcrafting & Ancestral Arts
Tarot & Stone Readings
will be available for $20!
All Proceeds will go to the
Planning & Presenting
of Piedmont Pagan Pride Day 2015!