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Beltane Flowers

Flowers symbolic of Beltane include roses, bluebells, marigolds, daisies, primroses, and lilac.  Any springtime blossom in your area can be used though!

 There are many herbs associated with Beltane.  I’ve picked a few with some interesting folk lore associated with them.



  As part of May Day celebration, young women rose at dawn to bathe in dew gathered from Hawthorne flowers to ensure their beauty in the coming year.  As the old rhyme goes:

                 “The fair maid who, the first of May,

                  Goes to the fields at break of day,

                  And washes in dew from the Hawthorne tree

                  Will every after handsome be”

It was important for the girls to wear rowan sprigs as they did this.

Hawthorne was also used on Mayday by the early Celts.  They decorated their barns with branches to ensure an abundant supply of summer milk.



To purify a room, stew the flowers about or keep some fresh lilacs in a vase.   In Devon and Cornwall they believed that on May Day one should bathe in lilac dew and so become beautiful all year long. Giving a fiancé a lilac flower tells him or her that the engagement is broken.  Lilacs are generally considered lucky, but they do have some negative folklore.  If the flowers are worn on any day except May Day the wearer will never marry, and it is considered unlucky to bring the white blooms into the house.



This herb is used to flavour Beltane wine.  It is also used to protect, consecrate, and attract money and to bring victory to athletes and warriors. 



Folklore recalls that parents once forbid their teenage daughters from bringing this plant into the home as it was thought to induce erotic dreams!  If honeysuckle is brought into the house, a wedding will shortly follow.  The blossoms are also used in Beltane rituals.



Primroses were carried by women to attract love.  Milkmaids would wash their faces in milk in which the petals had been infused on Beltane believing it would make their faces glow and attract their beloved during the festivities. 


Lily of the Valley:  

These flowers are favoured by the faeries.   Some faeries out gathering dew, stopped to dance in the moon light.  They hung their cups on a blade of grass.  When dawn came they discovered that they had danced too long and their cups had attached themselves to the grass and were shielded by two large leaves.  Lily of the valley symbolizes love and fertility so fits right in with the Beltane rituals.



Marigolds are holy to the Virgin Mary.   The English peasants scattered the flowers upon the thresholds of cottages and farmhouses and wove them into garlands as part of Mayday festivities.



Myrtle was held sacred by Aphrodite and Venus.  Small branches were woven into wreaths symbolizing love.  Myrtle’s love associations were so strong they banned the herb from many of the ceremonies believing it to contribute to incest and unlawful love.  The branch can be used at hand fasting and marriage ceremonies and is connected to the union of the god and goddess at Beltane.