To our ancestors, Beltane celebrates the beginning of summer. Bale or “bon” fires are an important part of the Beltane Sabbat. All fires at home or in shops were extinguished and then re-lit from the sacred bonfires that blazed on the tops of the surrounding hills. This was also the time when the herds were blessed. The people marched their cattle around and between the bonfires to bring good luck and fertility and to protect them during the year.
The Sabbat Beltane, coincides with when the God actually impregnates the Goddess. This sacred act ensures the continued fertility for crops and animals throughout the light half of the year (between the Spring and Fall Equinoxes.) A popular symbol for this sacred act, the May Pole represents the impregnation of the goddess. A May Pole is a pole set erect in the ground with ribbons attached on the top. People then each take a ribbon and dance in a weaving pattern around the pole. The pole represents God’s phallus and the colorful ribbons that the dancers wind around the May Pole represent the goddess with her flowers a-blooming. And so the impregnation of the Goddess is fulfilled.