That’s Beltaines plural, I didn’t forget an apostrophe! This year this holiday, while one of my favorites, is a bit bittersweet. Last Beltaine season I held my final May Day Faerie Festival. If you’ve been with me, so to speak, since I had my shop Alchemistica open you probably remember the festival. What you may or may not have known about the Faerie Festival was that I organized and planned it entirely on my own. In fact, that’s honestly a big part of why I don’t do it anymore. As you might imagine, if you had been there, organizing something of that size on my own was no small feat!
As I was always happy to explain to anyone who asked why a Faerie Festival and why in May — well Beltaine, of course! If you’re not familiar, the ancient Celts actually only had two seasons in their annual cycle; winter and summer. Their (and modern Neopagans’) biggest holidays were the two days of the year that were the transition or axis point between seasons. The in-between day of summer into winter was Samhain and the in-between day of winter into summer was Beltaine! It is from the ancient Celts that modern Neopagans have inherited the belief that the veil between the worlds is at their thinnest on these “in-between” days. At Samhain the focus is, as my informed readers no doubt already know — Ancestors and those who have passed onto the next plane of existence. At Beltaine however, we take a lighter spin on the idea of veil being thinned and instead the focus is turned to natural spirits and, well, FAERIES!
The truth is that I LOVED the Faerie Festival. I always had amazing, positive feedback from festival-goers, volunteers, and vendors alike for the most part. And I’m still getting emails from vendors asking if I’m “doing it again” this year. For the first couple weeks AFTER the festival I was riding a high — people were saying such wonderful things about it. But let me tell you what’s more, the three months leading UP to the festival were hellish. It was a non-stop roller coaster of accepting vendor payments, promotions, costume planning, etc etc etc. So, I made the decision last year (in spite of that temporary after high) that it would be the last time. I have since added a new pint-sized member to my little clan of witchlings and just don’t have it in me anymore to torture myself to get the festival off the ground.
For these past few years, though, my Beltaine festivities roundly centered around the festival. So, what do I do now? This year we have the added bonus (that’s sarcasm, folks) of being in the middle of a global pandemic. Everyone is sheltering in place and self isolating for safety. Beltaine is a holiday that seems to just invite socializing and close-standing. (I mean, have you ever danced a maypole??) With my new, shiny online business hitting the ground running (thanks to the pandemic for giving me the time to get it started properly!), I actually wrote a ritual designed to be social distancing-friendly for solitary practitioners and family covens alike. This isn’t a plug (although you can find it in my online shop in the Beltaine Collection), but I do think that I will be doing that very ritual with my kiddos this year. It feels like it will be especially meaningful with all the crud that this self-isolation has been dredging up for everybody.
Feel free to comment below with that you did for Beltaine in 2020 during your social isolation!