Beltane, not Halloween
Pagans in South Africa are once more consciously distancing themselves from commercial Halloween promotions in October, as we prepare to celebrate Beltane, a religious celebration of the Sun-God Bel / Belenus. For those of us who spend a lot of time on social media, trying to distance oneself from the popular northern hemisphere Pagan celebration of Samhain (as Halloween) is a daily chore of avoidance.
Halloween, celebrated in October / November in the southern hemisphere, is purely a spiritually valueless commercial event; a meaningless and empty copy of an American northern hemisphere holiday.
The religious celebrations of Pagans are most importantly seasonal, closely timed to actual seasonal events. These seasonal events remind us to renew our bonds with what truly holds value for us, the people of the Earth; our intimate bond with Nature, and the necessary cooperation we must fulfill with the Spirit of the natural world, of Nature and Her sacred cycles.
Pagans in the southern hemisphere are preparing to celebrate Beltane (or Beltain), a neo-Pagan religious celebration adopted from a pagan Irish and Scottish festival – ‘Bel-teine’ meaning ‘Bel-fire’ or ‘the Fire of Bel’ – in honour of the Sun-God Belenus.
Belenus, also known as Belenos, Belinus, Bel, and Beli Mawr (the Great), is a Celtic God of the Sun. Called the “Fair Shining One” (or “The Shining God”), Belenus is said to be one of the most ancient, and most-widely worshiped Celtic deities, associated with an ancient fire festival and modern celebration of Beltane. Like the Roman god Apollo, with whom Belenus became closely identified, Belenos is depicted riding the sun across the sky in a horse-drawn chariot.
The festival marks the seasonal start of summer.
Pagans, especially Wiccans and Drui, will be celebrating Beltane with their families, covens, clans and groves, across the country. Most of these celebrations will be hosted in their homes, and will be private family events. A few larger covens will offer public Beltane events, including public maypole dances and feasts.
This year, the largest open air Beltane festival will be hosted by the Coven of the Crossroads and Coven of the Dark Moon Crescent at their first ever Witchcamp 2018. The event that will take place in Randfontein on 3 and 4 November 2018.
I wish you one and all, a blessed Summer.
Am Beannachadh Bealltain (The Beltane Blessing)
A Pagan adaptation of a Gaelic prayer collected by folklorist Alexander Carmichael in Carmina Gadelica.
Bless, O threefold true and bountiful,
Myself, my spouse, my children.
Bless everything within my dwelling and in my possession,
Bless the kine and crops, the flocks and corn,
From Samhain Eve to Beltane Eve,
With goodly progress and gentle blessing,
From sea to sea, and every river mouth,
From wave to wave, and base of waterfall.
Be the Maiden, Mother, and Crone,
Taking possession of all to me belonging.
Be the Horned God, the Wild Spirit of the Forest,
Protecting me in truth and honor.
Satisfy my soul and shield my loved ones,
Blessing every thing and every one,
All my land and my surroundings.
Great gods who create and bring life to all,
I ask for your blessings on this day of fire.
“Belenus.” Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Online Academic Edition.
Wigington, Patti. “Am Beannachadh Bealltain (The Beltane Blessing).” ThoughtCo, Sep. 28, 2018, thoughtco.com/am-beannachadh-bealltain-beltane-blessing-2561668.
Gorgon’s head stonework at Roman Baths in Bath, Somerset, England.