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Fire Gods & Goddesses of Beltane
Beltane, the wonderful Fire Festival that falls at the start of Summer, or at the mid point of Spring (depending on what you feel the festival that falls smack in the middle of the Spring Equinox and the Summer Solstice is. For me, with the tradition I was trained in, its the start of Summer). Traditionally, Beltane was a time of cleansing from the long winter, and a celebration of fertility. After the long cold winter everything is showing signs of life again, Plants are sending up new shoots, animals are coming into heat, people are starting to spend more time outdoors (usually!)

For thousands of years people have celebrated this time of year as a way to give thanks for the abundance that allowed them to come safely through the Winter. And to make offerings to the Dieties to ensure that safety and abundance continues through the coming year.

But which Deities?

Well, there is a long, long list of deities that have been honored at Beltane. Typically this honor goes to the Gods and Goddesses of Spring, of new growth, and of Animals - think, the Green Man, Demeter, Ceres, Brigit. Brigit? she isn't animals and stuff. Yes, but not always. Look back a little deeper in history and her original name, Breo-Saighead, means fiery power or fiery arrow. She is primarily a solar goddess. As such, she is the element of Fire, and we see this in her blessings towards Smiths and other crafters.

This is an aspect that she shares with many other Deities around the world. Beltane is a festival to celebrate the return of warmth and sunlight, so it makes sense that the Deities honored are those who at their core are Sun Deities, Fire Deities. Ra, the Egyptian god of the Sun, light, warmth and growth could be honored in your Beltane Rituals, as could Sekhmet, the Lioness Goddess of the Sun and Fire.

The Yoruba have Oya, the Goddess of Fire and Fertility. In Japan she would be Amaterasu, in the Philippines her name is Lalahon and she also watches over the Volcanos - Earth's Fire. Nantosuelta is one of the many Celtic Goddesses of Fire, Nature and Fertility.

Yes, there are more Goddesses than Gods when you add Nature and Fertilty to the Fire aspect. That is because women are nearly always associated with the ability to bring forth new life. And Beltane is, above everything else, the celebration of new life.

No matter how you choose to honor Beltane this year, perhaps you could light a fire for the Deities of the Flame. Maybe add some freshly baked bread to it as an offering. I hear they also love spring flowers and the first fruits of the garden.

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