Beltane is a Pagan/Wiccan festival of sexuality and fertility, usually celebrated on the evening of April 30th or May 1st. When celebrated in a group, the sexuality is usually symbolic, represented by dancing around the May pole – which yes, is representing just what you might think that is meant to represent, and the ribbons encasing it, also, exactly what you’d think. Similarly a chalice and blade may form the central imagery in other rituals. While the traditional imagery is heterosexual, this imagery can be adapted to any configuration of humans you enjoy, again, *all* acts of love and pleasure are Her rituals. When celebrated privately, with just you and your lover, spouse or partner, the symbolism can be more direct, and can be customized to the bodies involved.
Celebrating Beltaine with a Partner
Celebrating Beltane with a partner can be beautiful, sacred, magical and smoking hot all at once. Connecting energetically/psychically and physically with a partner in sacred space and in the presence of the Gods deepens the experience, and can raise energy for a goal of your mutual choosing. If you’re new to Beltaine with a partner, here are some good places to start in planning your ritual.
Setting the Space for Sacred Sexuality
You can site your ritual either out in a growing field or forest, as is traditional, or within your own bedroom. Outside can be tricky to organize, unless you have private access to an outdoor space that feels right for you. Indoors, it’s a good idea to also ensure privacy and to adapt your bedroom or ritual space to fit the sacred space you’ll be creating. Some ideas for location can include:
- On a blanket-altar on the floor in the living room or other ritual space
- Inside a tent decked out as a temple in the outdoor location of your choice
- In your freshly cleaned and tidied bedroom with candles and an altar on a bookcase or dresser and some wordless ritual music playing
- On a blanket in the sun warmed soil of your garden before it is planted, or after seeds are in the ground (but not sprouted yet).
- Under a particularly sacred tree.
- In a cave (you may want to bring a heat source).
In Perfect Love and Perfect Trust
If you are getting up to sacred sexuality, I assume you already know how to cast a circle, call the directions, and invoke the Gods. I suggest casting a nice formal circle, and call the attributes of each direction or element that fit the themes of love and or fertility (if you’re trying to make a baby). As a priestess of Aphrodite, I almost always invoke Her when celebrating Beltaine, but your own matron or patron god is also a good choice. If you are celebrating with a partner who is willing to have ritual sex with you, but isn’t Wiccan, it’s a good idea to ask whether they feel comfortable with you invoking your gods, or to invoke the gods as qualities such as Love, Life, the Sacred, or Joy.
A ritual bath before casting the circle is a lovely thing to do. You can also anoint one another with oils that smell good to you or massage or bathe one another.
Five Fold Kiss
The five fold kiss is when you consciously and ritually kiss your partner on feet, knees, genitals, heart and lips. I’ve also seen it done as a 7 fold kiss on each of the chakra points. This is a good way to bless the other person’s body and can be done as slowly and thoroughly as you both like. You may wish to say a blessing phrase with each kiss as well, such as “I bless your heart, which loves so bravely”.
Dedicating the Energy
After that make love in whatever way works well for you both, with a focus on being and staying present, staying open to one another’s energy, and touching one another with both love and pleasure. You may discover an extra energy dimension to your love making that may not have been there before. If an orgasm or two, or three happen, you can dedicate that raised energy to a goal you both agree to in advance. If that’s not going to happen, the sacred care, attention and connection is the sacrament. You get out of this kind of ritual the care, attention and love you put into it.
Devoke and ground
It’s a good idea to have some food and water available for after and to devoke the circle, even if you are planning to sleep, or perhaps to make love again after a rest.
I wish you and yours a blessed Beltaine. May all bodies and spirits be blessed.
Further Reading on Sacred Sexuality
A good accessible source for more information on sacred sexuality and designing sexual ritual is the book Urban Tantra: Sacred Sex for the Twenty-First Century .