10 Ways to Celebrate Beltane (Celtic Summer)


May 1, 2020

travel faves
follow PWT
I believe trips can transform — everything. Everyone deserves luxury, leisure, and most of all to experience the extraordinary when you travel. Look around. Be inspired. And let's chat real soon.
Expert Tips
more categories
i'm cassandra marcella

Did you know the Celts are not only from Ireland and Scotland? They’re known to have also lived in some unexpected places, such as northern Spain and southern Russia. Here’s a podcast from the BBC on some fascinating Celtic history.

At sundown on April 30, Beltane (pronounced bell’tane) began. So, today is the start summer in the Celtic calendar! We’re in a very powerful and important thin time.

A thin time is a period when the portals between the now and the universal world are more open. Our intuitions are heightened, and you may find that you are more sensitive and empathetic this week. Celts believed that fairies moved more freely during thin times.  

That makes it the perfect time to elevate self care!

Seek out deliciousness and delight.

Laugh more. Smile more.

Celebrate the fire – it represents the return of life, energy, transformations, and awakenings.

In honor of Beltane, the beginning of summer, of course: all things fire, I compiled ten ways you can kindle your spirit to live brightly and warmly…even if you’re sick in bed!

10 Ways to Celebrate Beltane

1 / ignite 

In honor of the sacred nine, make a list of 9 things that bring you immediate delight so you can embody joy. Turn to your list and have a ready resource.

My nine include: blowing bubbles, a bubble bath, Last Week Tonight, fresh flowers, a playlist of college music, phone call with friend, a historical novel, a warm self-oil massage, and knitting.

2 / dance

Admittedly, I can not dance like I used to. But still, we can all move in rhythm to music and enjoy dancing! Be fearless, spontaneous and silly. Move in whatever way you physically can and use it to express your connection to the earth.

3 / invite

This thin time is a time to set work aside and celebrate life. We gather to laugh and cultivate joy.

Since we can’t have a physical gathering, pivot! Invite your friends to a Zoom call. Break out of that isolation and reach out.

4 / dream

This is a time of hope. Dream differently.

Look for heroes and heroines who can inspire and light your pathway. Who are the people that can make you come alive now? How can you emulate them in your own life now?

5 / grow

Grow something. Grow anything! Water a house plant. Take care of a pet. Really, anything!

Ask yourself: where do I need to allow growth in my life or in myself? What can I unfold and open myself to? What feeds and fertilizes me?

And then, go get more of whatever that is.

6 / nurture

Where are you overextended? Are you getting enough rest? How can you improve your evening routine to support better rest? Do you honor recreation time?

Set aside a day or a half day to play and have fun (regardless of how your body is – adapt as necessary!).

7 / breathe

Fire needs oxygen.

Create the space you need with your breath. Due to the breath’s connection to the nervous system, we can modify our breath to help us calm down, alter our moods, and ride out intense emotions.

Breath also connects us to the source of life within each of us. Honor your breath to celebrate life at the start of summer.

Find a guided meditation or download a meditation app such as Insight Timer or Calm.  

8 / lite

Lite a fire. Or a candle. Or some incense. Or sage. Honor the fire within you – the one that keeps you going, despite anything and everything.

You are the keeper of the flame. Light something special and honor your courage to persevere.

9 / shed

Snakes lay in the sun and shed their skin. Cats, foxes, birds and dogs shed their fur or feathers.

They do this to promote new growth.

Last spring I cleaned my kitchen and shed a lot of unused items. I was inspired by this video, and even managed to clear my counter tops! An impressive feat.

Where can you shed so you can grow? Are there relationships you are ready to shed?

10 / spark

Revive your motivation. What gives you purpose?

As long as we lift the burden of another (even if it’s as simple as being quiet to listen or bearing witness), we have purpose.

How can you connect your spirit to others? Find that spark that still gets you excited. Examine the gift of your life and how can you make it even more meaningful.

So, there you have it! Any or all of these ten things will help kindle your spirit to live brightly and warmly…even if you’re sick in bed!

A Little More on Celtic Fairies

In Celtic times actual fairies were believed to move among us. It was a time to be guarded against fairy mischief.

Caitlín Matthews, a beautiful writer about these ancient traditions, described how the Celts celebrate the beginning of summer this way::

At twilight this evening, May Eve, the great festival of Beltane begins, a great communal celebration that excludes no one from its embrace. Ancient Celtic celebrations involved the kindling of bonfires at this time .” (1)

The fire signifies the beginning of the return of light and a gathering of the community around the fire. Historians discovered classic Beltane fire had to be made of nine different kinds of wood. The wood had to be gathered by men who wore no metal because the metal adversely affected the fairies and deterred their desired presence. 

The sun has been my faithful lover
For millions of years.
Whenever I offer my body to him
Brilliant light pours from his heart.
— Hafiz

Nine teams of nine married first-born men would light the bonfire and then dance around it in the direction of the sun. As the fire dwindled, the community moved farm animals through it to promote the animals’ fertility. Embers were taken from the communal fire back home to each individual home fire. The community worked together and gave each other fire, emphasizing their reliance on each other.

extra elements of interest ::

Fire Starter Sessions : A Soulful + Practical Guide to Creating Success on Your Own Terms

Fire Starter Sessions Digital and Audio
Enjoy additional supplemental material at Danielle LaPorte’s website.  Check out her blog
posts on creativity too.  

Sunlight Is the Best Medicine: Sunshine can shorten hospital stays and promote better healing
Psychology Today 

Home Fires
A lovely  PBS Masterpiece drama about how a community of women supported each other during World War II.

(1) Matthews, Caitlín. The Celtic Spirit : Daily Meditations for the Turning of the Year. New York: HarperCollins, 1998, p. 192.

NOTE :: the links above are affiliate links – which means that I may earn a commission on these items (at no extra cost to you). Purchases made through these links are very appreciated. Thank you!

Comments +


22 Ways travel has changed

22 Ways Travel Has Changed in 2022

Discover 22 ways travel is different now and beyond. And get the latest and greatest in news, tips and exclusive experiences.





Be awed by escapades you didn’t even know were possible. And savor an impeccable holiday that makes you feel like a star before, during, and after your trip.

work with us