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AD.LIB Department. Wheel of the Year. Pagan holiday Beltane

A series of pagan holidays “Beltane” (Walpurgis Night, Celebration of lights, Zhiven Day).

1st of May.

This is the day of awakening of the element of Earth. Awakened by Water, it opens itself up, releasing its power into the outer world. By the moment of the awakening of Earth, Air and Water have already manifested the rhythm of time for the whole year: the pace of events, and speed of the change. Now is the time for the Earth to manifest all that has been done. All that has been planned and wished for needs to be visible, it needs to stop being a fantasy. But for that to happen, Mother-Earth herself needs to provide space for this manifestation. And she does that, showing everyone their space of the possible, their space of existence. On this night, the night of awakening of the Mother, people and magicians performed their rituals.

In their sacred rites, people honored the power and the will of the Mother, since according to the ancient legend, it was on this night that the goddess chose her spouse. Lighting the May lights, celebrating and having fun, as if at a wedding, our ancient ancestors would somehow say: your choice is sacred; we will accept with our heart the god that you choose. It was believed that everything happening on Beltane has a mystic meaning and in one way or another everything manifests the will of the Mother. On this day, they held competitions between the people as well as assemblies and veche. On this day, the future ruler would undergo various tests guided by the priests.

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The night of Beltane represents the right of a woman to chose her destiny. It is the night when the ancient right of a Mother abolishes all the other unnatural laws. It is the night when any woman can connect to the Mother, absorb her power, and thus acquire the right of a free choice. For the ancient peoples, there was nothing surprising about this: any woman without doing any added witchcraft was considered to be a personification of the Earth goddess. But at a later stage of worship of a faceless and nameless alien god, a woman was left with only one day in a year. One day when she could take her power back and demand that her rights should be respected, call for the ancient law of justice – the law of the right of the Mother. And no one dares to contradict her on this day, no one dares to discredit her right. That is why no other pagan holiday would make the priests and church dogs tremble as much as the Walpurgis Night  – the Night of a Thousand lights of Beltane. This day (as well as Samhain – its counterpart that takes place on the 1st of November) was terribly dreaded by the church people.

In me Middle Ages, during the mayhem of the Christian Inquisition, every woman turned into a witch once she opened herself up to the Mother goddess. She called upon her spоuse, the Great Horned God, the lord of the forests and fields. The Celts called him Cernunnos (Kernunnos, Kern), Dionysus-Zagreus, the Green man. He has many names – each nation has its own one. This name is common for the defeated gods of nature (hence the horns – an element of connection with the animal world). Connecting with him, the witch would perform a magical rite based on the principle of movement: on this night the goddess is united with her god-husband by right and law. Of course, this union could bring no good to the alien religion and that is why priests terribly hated Beltane and in a state of impotent rage they would call this great mystery of unification “an intercourse with a goat.”

The new religion was scared to death of everything related to the power of nature and the true magic. So it out the most horrifying labels all over this day. According to Germanic medieval mythology, the night from the 30th of April to the 1st of May (the Day of the Saint Walpurga, hence the name) was considered to be the night of the early wild celebrations of the witches that would “fly on their brooms and forks to Mount Brocken, and gather with other evil spirits around Satan”.Of course, they were doing something harmful and unholy  – witchcraft. I will not mention everything that could be created by the minds of the priests of that time that were damaged by disorders, malnutrition, long sexual abstinence, and limited by fear. If you wish to familiarize yourself with the history of disease of those who day and night curse their nature (that is themselves) and deny it´s right to exist, then you can enjoy the writings of the clergy of that time, as well as the chronicles of the witch proceedings of the “holiest inquisition” – everything is written there. We will talk about the power as opposed to how you can carelessly lose it.

Beltane is the night of the reign of women. There were quite a few of them among the druids and magicians of the old tradition. But it was on this night that only a woman by her nature could absorb the power of the goddess and even just for a moment, she could become her. In the process of this unification she could have all the memory of the Mother as well as the power of all her children – humans, gods, plants, and animals; living beings and yet unborn ones, departed and the ones getting ready to go back. Not only magicians but also people obtained power on this amazing day of Awakening of the Earth. People now have one day in a year to remember that they have the right to power. All the gold of the domes and rich priest’s garments fade before that power and the air becomes clear of the smelly smoke and of all the lies. All because this power is real, whereas the other one is not. 

The temple of the Mother is everything around. There is no need to lock it behind any walls, protect it by the spells and pray on its channel. Her home is the forest, the field, the sky, and the river. It is everything around that was born and that is called nature, whose life luckily does not depend on people’s laws or their made-up commandments. Mother´s temple does not need to be hidden, you do not need to specially decorate it – it is beautiful as it is. You do not need to lock it behind the walls – there are no walls that could restrain the free will. The night of Beltane is a chance to witness the ridiculous fuss of the strangers for the right to manage the power of the Mother as well as all the uselessness of their illusion – she will never accept them. Alienated invaders have no business in the forests of Mielikki.

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Nevertheless, magicians and druids may have not only directed their ritual but also sent it into the future along the river of time. The ritual itself is the act of helping all the women of the clan and the tribe to become whole, to become the Three-faced Goddess that determines the place for everyone and everything. The young, the mature, and the old – at this moment everyone felt that everything happening was correct. Men, responding to the great power of women did not wish and could not be anyone else but the one the women chose – the great God of Power and Strength. Druids and magicians created the ritual and directed its movement, dividing the awakened flow of power between all of the participants and all of the living beings. This was done with an eye on the future – the power of the union of the Sky and the Earth needed to give birth to a child. May bonfires were started for this child: they attracted the fire of the future world that would be born in seven weeks.

Later, this amazingly powerful rite was replaced by the act of choosing the May Queen and the May King. It was done as some sort of a compromise with the priests: we give only one woman and one man from the whole tribe. It is clear that this is nowhere near enough to make the Earth power your own and keep your right for the genetic memory. That is why on the eve of the May night, young girls and women ran off into the forest to search for their Horned God, listen to the forest, the whisper of the wild grass, the fortune-telling cuckoo bird, and capture the hot breath of the earth.

Can you hear it?  – It is the rustle in the crowns of the oak trees.

Can you hear it? – It is the music of the forest spirits.

Can you hear it? – The calling singing of the grass.

Can you hear it? – Magical dreams come alive.

On the first of May, the Slavs celebrate Zhivin day – the day of the goddess Zhivena, the daughter of Lelia and Svarog. She is the mature mother face of the Threefold goddess of the Slavs: Lelia, Zhivena, and Mara-Marena. These are the three sisters, three faces, three powers woven into one. Тhe bird image of Zhivena is a cuckoo bird. This is how a Polish chronicle talks about the beliefs of the Slavs:

“There was a temple built for the goddess Zhivena on a mountain called after her name. A multitude of people would gather with great reverence to this temple during the first days of May. They would come to the one they considered the source of life, the source of good and lasting health. She would especially attract the offerings of those who heard the first singing of the cuckoo bird, predicting that they would live as long as the number of times they heard her voice”.

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A dream written on an egg during Ostara and brought to the goddess as a gift is like a seed that needs to be planted in the ground that will bear fruit in due course. But in some strange way on this day, the gift that was previously brought to the goddess comes back to the giver as a new and changed destiny. This destiny is not about expecting heavenly manna and other well and not so well deserved gifts. Every woman on this night became one with the Mother, the Threefold Goddess perceived this gift as a gift to herself. The power returned from the Mother to the woman and allowed her to create her destiny and weave her wyrd by herself. A mere realization of this fact can enable the most common woman to turn into a witch on this night.

But on the night of Beltane, the awakened power of the Mother is not only meant for women. Everyone who has the original force of the First children of nature can feel her call. Every man, old and young can feel the power of the Horned God. What is aroused inside of every awakened being leaves no space for any of the old marks of conditioning and is able to tear the slave’s collar off the one who on the day, in the hour of the Mother, turns out to be able to feel her call and accept his own will and his own freedom. Accept it from her  – having the right to do so.

Extract from Menshikova K.E. Book “Health through the Power of the Elements”

1 Imbolc 2 Ostara 3 Beltane 4 Litha (Kupala) 5 Lammas 6 Mabon 7 Samhain 8 Yule

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