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The Sun festivals of ancient Ireland are still known by their old Irish names, Imbolg, Beltine, Lughnasa and Samhain. These Sun festivals are many thousands of years old; they have survived an imperial invasion and occupation for 800 years and the attempted erasure of indigenous consciousness by the catholic church for almost 1500 years. These Sun festivals are the gateway for todays Celtic Men and Women to celebrate with the Celtic Gods - Brigid at Imbolg, Bile at Beltine, Lugh at Lughnasa and Tlachtga at Samhain.
But the advice for anyone seeking connection to the Celtic Gods is to avoid the current catholic calendar of the so-called civilised world to time your ceremony. Pagans and Druids on a Celtic Path use Natural Time as their ancestors did, this means working with the alignments of the oldest temples to the four bright stars in the belt of the Zodiac. The Solstices and Equinoxes do not line up with particular Stars, they are turning points of the day / night balance such as when the Sun's energy enters the ancient temple at Bru na Boinne (Newgrange) energising the God Dagda after the longest night of the year. The history and correct timing methods are shared below for those who wish to walk a Celtic Path.
Celtic Druid�s Beltine
Beltine means 'the two fires of Bile' (pronounced as Bil-leah) and refers to a ritual of purification. The month of May is called Bealtaine as Gaeilge and it marks the first day of summer. This was a specifically Irish holiday and many of the other Celtic cultures also celebrate a springtime festival known by a range of names. As Samhain marks the end of summer of the old year and the start of winter of the New Year - Beltine marks the end of winter and start of summer. In the past (still observed in Ireland in the 19th century) on the first day of Beltine - cattle were driven between two fires for protection from disease and then they were let into pasture. History associates Beltine with the arrival and departure of Partholon, then the arrival of the Tuatha Dé Danann and then the Gaels. As it is the start of summer - everyone reckoned it to be a great time to start an adventure.
Beltine is also called Bealtinne, Beltine, Beltain, Beal-tine, Beltan, Bel-tien, Beltein, Bealtuinn and Bealtaine, Mayday, Walburga, Galan Mai, Shenn da Boaldyn and it is celebrated or honoured across the world.
Bile, the first father of the Celtic Gods
The "Beltine" festival or Eightfold Day is sacred to Bile. He is the 'first father' of the Gaelic Celts in Ireland - the Sons of Mil, the Mileasians from northern Spain. Bile is the patron of sheep and cattle. Bile is the Irish equivalent of Belenus - the ancient Celtic pagan god in Continental Europe and in Britain. The Welsh called him Beli, the husband of Don (Danu) He is the god of the underworld and his name has a root syllable 'bel', which means "to die". Bile means "sacred tree" as Gaeilge. The steel swords of the Mileasians won the wars against the bronze swords of the Tuatha De Danu. Danu (also Don) was wife to Bile and mother of Nuada and Dagda and she was grandmother to Brigid. These two late bronze age / early iron age Celtic cultures overlay and use the temples of a much older tradition that Druidschool refers to as the 'Quartz Stone Age'.
We honour Beltine by a twin fire ceremony here at the Celtic Druid Temple / Ireland's Druidschool in the west of Ireland. There is an open invite to all on our Invitation List to join us (free of charge). We use two similar fireboxes with one sitting on a square base (male) and the other firebox sitting in a round base (female). The round base firebox is the one we also used for the fire ceremonies on Tara.
In the Celtic World and in the time before it - there were no clocks, no calendars and the festivals of the year were measured in Ireland by the penetration of a sunbeam into designed passages in stone Cairns (such as Newgrange) to exactly light up a section of a stone with carvings upon it. This happens even today so the ancestral calendar is 100% accurate. There is no temple visible on Lyons Hill today just the outline of the stone base remains, it is calculated guesswork by me to declare Lyons Hill as the Beltine temple. This is based on the star Aldebaran and the Sun at 10* of Taurus aligning over the Volcano to Lyons hill, the temple building is gone and today only the base of stones remain. Lyons Hill has restricted access due to its use by a University as a crop and animal health research farm. We have had access on a number of occasions seeking connection with the guardians and confirming the visibility to Lambay Volcano for the Beltine alignment. The same solar alignment that determines the correct time for Beltine is also the exact same alignment for Lughnasa but with star Regulus behind the Sun, more on this at Celtic Druid's Lughnasa.
This means if you were to stand on top of Lyons Hill (north Kildare) when the Sun rises at 10* of Taurus (Beltine) and look 60* east of north the star Aldebaran would be behind the Sun rise over the Lambay Volcano to shine into the temple that used to exist on Lyons Hill on Beltine.
The following dates have been added to the image below 30/4/2016, 30/4/2017, 30/4/2018, 30/4/2019, 30/4/2020 showing the correct timing for Beltine to 2020.
Bile / Beltine as a Star
The reason that 10* of Taurus is the timing for Beltine is because of the presence of one of the four bright stars at 10* Taurus - this star is called Aldebaran in Arabic but we reckon this star was called Bile by our ancestors. Traditionally this star is known as the Eye of the Bull - we reckon this star was called Bile meaning 'sacred tree' and our ancestors referred to the time of year as Beltine meaning 'the two fires of Bile'. There are 4 bright stars making an equal armed cross on the belt of stars we call the zodiac and each star marks an important Celtic festival.
Alderbaran, Taurus was one of the four guardians of the heavens to the ancient Persians, the other guardians were Formalhaut below Aquarius, Antares in Scorpius, and Regulus in Leo. Some may know of these 4 bright stars as The Man, The Bull, The Scorpion and The Lion. They were demonised as the four beasts of the apocalypse as an attempt to direct people away from Natural Time and into church time. We refer to these four bright stars as Brigid, Bile, Lugh and Tlachtga.
Astronomer Jack Eddy has suggested a connection with the Big Horn Medicine Wheel, an ancient circle of stones atop a mountain in Wyoming. Eddy wrote that the ancient Americans may have used this site as a sort of observatory to view the rising of Aldebaran just before the sun in June to predict the June solstice. Alderbaran, Taurus is a giant red star the Bull's fiery red eye, some see it as having a reddish-orange glow. It is the 14th brightest star in the sky. Aldebaran is a red star that is visible in winter and spring in the evening sky. By early May, it hangs low about the western sunset glow and before the end of the month, it's gone from view altogether. Aldebaran's position is RA: 4h 35m 55s, dec: 16�30'35�
God, Goddess and the Four Archangels
When the Sun and Moon were not visible the time of the seasons and the time of night could be obtained by looking to the bright star in the night sky. This placed the four bright stars next to God and Goddess in order of importance. These four bright stars form an almost equal armed cross within the circle or belt of stars we call the Zodiac. When the Sun rises making an alignment with the bright star Alderbaran Taurus their combined Light would have entered the Cairn at Lyons hill (only a stone base now remains). So the essence of the Sun (God) and the Star (Archangel) is received under the roof so to speak. This is the ancestors timing for Beltine and it is not a mathematical mid-point as some propose but instead it is a glorious archaeo-astronomical feat of Sun and Star light engineering bringing the energies of God and Archangel to Earth. The star Alderbaran, the Sun, Lambay Volcano into the passage Cairn (imagined) to the presumed sacred geometry stone inside all make an alignment stretching many millions of miles once a year and this shows the correct timing for Beltine.
Earth�s magnetic field
This is one of Eightfolds of the Solar Year of the Tuatha De Danann. Samhain and Imbolg share the same alignment to Cairn 'L' on Sliabh na Callighe, Beltine and Lughnasa share the same alignment to Cnoc Lugh (Lyons Hill), the two Equinoxes share the same alignment to Summerhill, the Summer Solstice has its own alignment to the Hill of the Fair Gods on Tallaght Hill and the Winter Solstice has its own alignment to Brú na Boinne or Newgrange. All these alignments for the Eightfold Solar year have the fulcrum or pivotal point of the leaking energies from the volcano being wrapped back into the solar wind. This is earth magnetism and landscape healing at an extraordinary level. In magical terminology, this is the Stellar essence overlaying the Solar Word wrapping the Volcanic leaking energy into itself as it connects to the acupuncture of the Quartz standing stone inside Cairn 'L' on Sliabh na Callighe, activating and harmonising the magnetic grid here on Earth.
A detailed explanation of timing for the celebration of Beltine as given in Ireland's Druidschool is explained in depth at Celtic Druid's Calendar
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