May 1st is Beltane, the Gaelic holiday marking the midpoint between the spring equinox and the summer solstice. In pagan and pre-Christian traditions, it is one of seasonal festivals alongside Imbolc, Lughnasadh, and Samhain, the latter of which is currently being celebrated in the Southern Hemisphere. A celebration of fertility and the beginning of the warmer months, Beltane often included bonfires, trips to holy wells, and rituals for growth and abundance.
What type of rituals for growth and abundance? you ask. Well, this is where it gets a bit steamy! Washing ones face in dew collected on Beltane morning was said to increase sexual desirability, and it is believed by some that revelries included having sex among the ritual bonfires or in the freshly planted fields to encourage a bountiful harvest.
First, I think it’s important to acknowledge this mythology as being rooted in a heteronormative gender binary that erases the LGBTQIA+ experience. Additionally, folks who are healing from sexual trauma might experience the day as problematic. [Obligatory reminder that there are resources are available to help!] Personally, as a queer femme living in a colonized, Judeo-Christian, and patriarchal society, I find a celebration of sexuality to be beautiful and revolutionary, and if you feel called, I encourage you to at least lean into the sensual magic of a spring day.
Remember, we are still in Taurus season, so take a cue from this deeply sensual earth sign and spend some time exploring what makes your body feel good. This is an excellent time for a deeply sensual ritual bath, time spent beside a crackling bonfire, or building a shrine to Venus. Find joy in your body, and revel in the experience of touch—it’s pretty miraculous. Take a moment to remember, pleasure is a birthright, and I invite you to tap into yours today.
Happy Beltane to all who celebrate! 🔥