Have a Magical Beltane!

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Beltane: A Festival of Fire and Fertility

The Wheel of the Year turns once more. Ostara, the Maiden Goddess, at Beltane yields to the May Queen and the celebration of life. Beltane, also known as May Day, begins at sundown on April 30.

Beltane, an ancient Celtic festival of fire and fertility, may have evolved from the six-day Roman festival Floralia, which celebrated the goddess Flora and occurred on April 27 or 28. The Floralia commemorated the flowering of spring and included theatrical performances, and competitive games paid for by fines collected when public lands were encroached upon.

Beltane in contrast, is primarily a fire and fertility festival, and is the last of the three spring fertility festivals, following Imbolc and Ostara. It marks the halfway point between the vernal (spring) equinox and the summer solstice. In ancient times, Beltane celebrated life, the end of the dark time of winter, the beginning of summer, and the virility of the Sun God, known during the festival as the May King or Green Man.


On May Eve, Druids lit the Bel fires (bright fires, balefires) for luck and protection. Witches jumped the flames to fortify the protection spells. Cattle were driven between the balefires to safeguard the herd. Couples spent the night in the woods “A-Maying.” Married couples cavorted as well. They were allowed to remove their wedding rings, and for the night were free of the restrictions of marriage.


Then on May Day, villagers danced the Maypole. The phallic-like pole represented the god; the rainbow ribbons, the goddess. As the dancers circled the Maypole, their entwining ribbons wrapped around the pole, signifying the joining of the god and goddess.

THE BELTANE ESCAPE


Lady Fenella, Thaness of Thorburn, has no idea her fate is shackled to a powerful sorceress. She believes Merlin and the Lady of the Lake are myths, Gran’s warnings about Fairy are superstition, and Fairy was invented to make children behave. But a spell cast forward to sixteenth century Scotland finds Fenella and leads to her being branded, stolen, and betrothed. Traumatized and separated from her clan, the Highland heiress finds an unexpected ally in her kidnapper’s son. But their fragile romance is tested when the Lady of the Lake lures Fenella’s cousin into Fairy. Fenella has seconds to decide. Should she remain with Edward, or should she dive into Fairy to rescue her beloved cousin, endangering her clan, and abandoning Edward to his ruthless father?


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