Beltane to celebrate the beginning of life

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By Special to the Monitor

Sunday celebrates Beltane, or May Day, the third and last of the ancient Pagan fertility festivals. The first, Imbolc, is the first stirrings of the new season. The second, Ostara, celebrated at the spring equinox, recognizes spring has arrived. In many northern climates it is still too early to plant. Beltane would be the time when northern communities would be getting ready for their planting season.

Beltane is one of the two most important Sabbats, or Holy Days, of the Wiccan Wheel of the Year. It is the equal and opposite of its sister, Samhain, which is celebrated Oct. 31. Samhain is a somber occasion, where believers reflect on the end of life and honor those who have come before.

In contrast, Beltane recognizes the beginning of life. All of nature is renewing itself. The Earth is warming, turning green, fruit trees are blooming and animals are giving birth to their young.

Beltane, like Samhain, is a time when the veil between the worlds is thinnest. At Samhain, it is believed that communication with the departed is easier. At Beltane, communication with the world of Faerie is possible.