Beltane Festival - Calton Hill, Edinburgh
I fear this post is going to be a lot less full of information and instead full of by expansive ebullient enthusiasm for this wonderful, ecstatically fun Beltane celebration in Edinburgh. If you can ever go. GO. GO!! I was so excited to post my photos as soon as possible I fear I am not planning what I want to write very much.
Besides, I’ve already written a bunch about Beltane already, which you can read right here.
I certainly expected a bunch of Woo. And there was a ton of it, of course. The whole ‘story’ of the main part of the Festival is just invented fun.
But my to my amazement and pleasure and surprise and total and complete delight (and in fact, emotional transport) they DO include the original purpose of Beltane and what we do know about the festival. They in fact, end with this, in the most important part of the ceremony and the fact that they did this moved me to tears. They move the cattle around the bonfire to protect it as it’s moved from the winter pens to the summer pasture. I know this seems silly and even strange but this is in fact the entire reason there is a festival of Beltane at all. It is ancient (read the article linked above) and that they included the ancient reasons for the Festival made my heart soar. The part of me that can reach back into the ages of deep time into our past, our history, our blood, rooted and grounded in the landscape and the seasons of the earth… it was sated witnessing this. Sated in ways I didn’t know I needed to be satisfied. It was deeply moving to me and I’ll never forget it.
I did say before we went that this festival that is put on in the heart of the place where it has been practiced for thousands upon thousands of years is the closest we’re ever going to get to knowing what a real Beltane was like back then.
But we know what it is like now, because it is still practiced to this day and on this night.
The festival climaxed right at midnight with the lighting of the bonfire and the driving of the cattle around the fire for purification and protection and a hark and call to the “Earth, our mother and the Fire, our host.”