I’m not big on the so-called Sabbats. They’re pretty much made up by Garnder, and reflect a seasonal cycle that doesn’t match what most Americans experience. (Then again, that experience may vary: it’s supposed to snow this week here in Kansas.)
Beltane has something to do with fire, right? And growth and rebirth? Oh, and fucking. I’m not sure how that is different from every other Wiccan Sabbat I’ve read about.
But there is one aspect to the Sabbats that I like, and it may be the thing that brings me back into the fold of celebrating them. Most pagans are familiar with them. Even if you’re not Wiccan, you can probably name the eight Sabbats (or at least most of them), and let’s be real, if you don’t know what they’re about you can probably guess based upon what is going on during the time of year they happen in. (Samhain? Oh, stuff is dying and decaying. Must be death related stuff. Beltane? It’s warm and rabbits are humping! Orgy!)
And that gives us a common thread to draw upon.
There isn’t a specific Roman holiday that corresponds to Beltane. But I know when it is, and as a very simple level what it means, and I know other pagans do it. So joining in isn’t too bad. It doesn’t offend my gods, and it does celebrate the progression of the seasons, which is good.
And it brings me together with other pagans. It’s a social holiday, like Christmas for atheists. But for that moment, we’re all on the same page, celebrating roughly the same thing: that the world is changing around us, and that we’re part of that.
And that’s we’re all pagan, and we’re in it together.