On the eve of Beltane, what we now consider May Day, the Celts built large fires.
These fires were fed with the nine sacred woods to honor the coming of summer, such as the branches of rowan, apple, dogwood, poplar, juniper, cedar, pine, holly and oak. Some use alder, ash, birch, hazel, and willow.
Animals were then herded between the two blazing bonfires in order to purify and protect them in the upcoming year. It is also said that these fires celebrated the return of life and fruitfulness to the earth after the long winter months, especially in the Highlands of old Scotland.
Besides leading their cows and sheep between huge bonfires to bless them with fertility, the annual celebration included joyous dancing, beverage-downing, traipsing across the countryside, a sensuous ballet around the Maypole by young maidens, and leaping over fires by young warriors. It was customary for young lovers to spend the night in the forest.
Hmmm…how many new bairns were born each winter following this annual May Day celebration? Have a lovely Beltane, and check out my latest release.
Smolder is the 3rd Book in the Clan of Dragons series.
Beltane, the Celtic May Day, officially begins at moonrise on the eve before the 1st day of May. It marks the beginning of the third quarter or second half of the ancient Celtic year. For centuries, Scotland’s Celtic people celebrated the day as the coming of spring. Before driving cattle into the hills, many would hope to ensure a healthy herd by running them between the Belfires to protect them from ills. This practice dates back to the Druids. When the Christian church took over the Beltane observances by holding services in church, the parishioners would follow the clergyman to the fields to light the fires.
Branches of a tree that grows all over Scotland is hung over the hearth in homes. The rowan tree is mentioned several times in my latest time travel romance, My Hunted Highlander. Scottish marriages of old, called handfastings, were traditional at this time. This holiday is still a time of fertility and harvest. It is a time for reaping the wealth from the seeds that the Celts have sown. For a slightly sexy custom: the flowers and greenery, usually accompanied by colorful ribbons, are worn by women to symbolize the Goddess. The May Pole represents the God (fertility, anyone?)
Whether you decorate your home with a rowan branch, wear a ribbon headdress, dance around a May Pole, or light bonfires to acknowledge that spring is finally here, please take a moment to read my book.
My Hunted Highlander is my 6th book in this genre, and the first one where I add a pirate ship, the crew, and their captive. Research showed me there were indeed privateers plying the North Sea of Scotland…at least during the warmer months. The English chased them northward, at times, and I took the liberty of mentioning that the English decimated my pirate’s home base.
A short Excerpt from My Hunted Highlander
“I want to bring ye pleasure, to show ye what a man can do with his mouth, and his tongue,” Niall said.
“Only his mouth and tongue?” Blair asked.
The flame of a nearby oil lamp made Blair’s eyes sparkle. Did she mean to tease him with words? “I am quite capable of pleasing a woman, without impaling her with my cock.”
At the shock of Niall’s words, her mouth opened wide, giving him a chance to demonstrate what his mouth and tongue could do for her.
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