On a lighter note, I was fortunate enough to celebrate Beltaine in Scotland. The festival of Beltaine, which literally means “Bel’s fire” (Beal-teinne) marks the beginning of the summer and the light half of the Celtic year. Traditionally, all fires were extinguished on the eve of Beltaine, to be re-lit from the sacred “needfire” kindled at dawn. The Celts were predominantly pastoral people and Beltaine was the time when the cattle were put out to their summer grazing on the higher slopes. The cattle were driven through the sacred Beltaine fires for purification. The sacred fire would also, it was believed, bring protection, good fortune and fertility to the people. The celebration I went to, was sort of a cross between a Dead concert and Mardi Gras.

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