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How to Decorate a Beltane Altar
The Beltane altar celebrates the gateway into summer, fertility, and the growing season. Beltane is one of the four Great Sabbats that fall on the Wheel of the Year. (The other three are Imbolc, Lammas, and Samhain.) All of the Great Sabbats, including Beltane, are fire festivals. So break out those candles and donít hold back when it comes to decorating your altar. You might want to go even bigger and build a bonfire in your backyard or in a chimenea or fire-pit on your patio.
Beltane colors include a vibrant Kelly green or leaf green, and gold. You can add other spring pastels or hues in the red and yellow and orange spectrums to represent fire.
Nature-themed decorations include antlers and pine cones to represent the male fertility of the God; acorns and fresh green oak leaves to stand for the Oak King, which is one of the Lordís personas in summertime; and flowers (especially spring flowers like daffodils and tulips) and a wreath of vines or ivy to represent the female fertility of the Goddess.
For a basic seasonal altar that is not overtly Wiccan, start by draping your altar with a large cloth of vivid green to represent the vigorous growth of new plants in the transition from spring to summer. Think leaf-green (a bright yellow-green) or Kelly green (a vivid medium green). Add a smaller cloth in metallic gold to represent fire, and another one, smaller still, deep yellow to symbolize the Sun. Arrange the altar cloths so you can see all the colors. For a centerpiece, fill a wooden salad bowl or a bright brass bowl with your pine cones, acorns, and oak leaves. Or you could put a pot of blooming daffodils or tulips into your brass bowl. Add figurines of robins, which are birds sacred to the Oak King, and stags, also sacred to the God.
Overtly Wiccan items for your altar include figures of the Lord and Lady in their youthful incarnations. You might want your altar centerpiece to be a cauldron set on a trivet or heat-proof tile in which to build a small fire.
No Beltane altar would be complete without as many candles as you can cram on there in green and gold and yellow. You can place them in your cauldron or in candlesticks of brass or earthenware, or you could use white tea lights. The fire on your altar represents the bonfires through which our ancestors would drive their livestock to bless them during the growing season. Never leave lit candles unattended. The safest to use are in glass jars, which can also reflect the candlelight through their thick glass for a beautiful magnifying effect.
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