Beltane is hands-down one of my favorite Sabbats! We, in my tradition, combine dancing around a May-pole with delicious spring food, and a ritual that is entirely lighthearted. As we spin around the May-pole and weave our intentions, we are also asked to internalize the merriment. For me, this Sabbat has always meant recharging and finding faith that things are coming to life again.
Since I am not too fond of setting New Year’s resolutions, I use the Sabbats to set my intentions. Each season brings new goals into my life and as I try my best to align myself with natural cycles; I find that my needs also wax and wane. This coming season I am bringing commitments to my practices in the kitchen, the world, and for myself into the light. I want to bring the joy I feel from Beltane and have it spread well past the Summer Solstice and into the harvest.
My Commitment in the Kitchen
The kitchen really is where my art of witchcraft comes alive. Whether it is creating tonics, balms, jams, dessert, or meals for my family; this is where I am happiest. I think there is something profoundly special about combining elements, ingredients, and intentions to come up with the perfect chocolate cake (so hungry!). I imagine that my ancestors must have felt the same awe with each confection they created.
As you can tell by my writing, I lean heavily into the realm of sweets and treats. This is where my commitment to my kitchen and craft is slowly shifting. As I explore the uses of plants and herbs I am finding that my desire for healthier and savory foods are emerging (No, don’t panic! I still make delicious treats and have one for you at the end). This emergence has caught me by surprise and I am welcoming it completely.
My commitment for this season is to see how I can cook with seasonal vegetables to create dishes that are equally magical to my desserts. I want to find ways that will help local markets and my body. That damned cliché of age catching up has truly started to happen. Although I am still in my 30’s I am seeing signs that my body is changing. With that change I want to make sure I am treating myself to delicious and nutritious foods.
I know yucky that all must have felt. Especially coming from a blog that is centered on witchcraft. Healthcare aside, the message spawns from a place of magick; I assure you of this. As I’ve listened to my needs and those of the people around me; I am hearing a need for change. I believe this also benefits the earth and if I can do one more thing to help our planet, I am going to!
Laying out my commitment has been extremely fun. First, I subscribed to an eco-friendly and health conscious food delivery service. I use this to show me how to cook in a way that isn’t your traditional American meat and potatoes with a stick of butter (ain’t nothing wrong with butter by the way!). I’m using vegetables in a way that I am not used to and learning how to create some banging flavors from ingredients around the world.
My second amendment to this commitment has been kindness. To be kind to myself and those I feed. I do this by making those special treats and not having an ounce of guilt around it. I don’t make it feel like some reward for being this supremely healthy guy. Instead, the treats are an addition to my newfound enjoyment. While COVID-19 has restricted my ability to share these delights with many people; I am able to share them with some people. I’ve found that the healthier variety and sweets have equally been enjoyed; which makes my heart happy!
My Commitment to the World
Because Beltane in some ways is about what we place into the earth; I wanted to amplify what this meant for me. My second commitment is about trying to make more of my consumables plastic free and doing a better job at recycling. Before we dive further, I do need to jump onto the soap box for a second. It is important to note that it is not the consumer’s fault that the world is drowning in plastics that are not compostable. It is the organizations that continue to produce and use products made from plastics. However, it is the consumer’s responsibility to voice their concerns about this problem and play a part in the solution in any way that you can. I also realize that my ability to purchase plastic free is a massive privilege that many cannot avoid. You are not to blame for the problem but you can still demand better from whomever you purchase from.
Okay so off of my soap box and back to what I am doing here. I’ve been able to successfully convert my entire oral hygiene into plastic free and compostable products, my shampoo and conditioner, and much of my food is plastic free or recyclable. I am trying to explore how to make some of my beauty routines less wasteful and am finding that more and more resources are beginning to open up in the beauty industry.
In other areas of my life I have begun to research which plants are native to my area so that I can use those in my spell work. A lovely example came from Mickie Mueller’s seed bombs spell. By using this spell I was able to spread some gorgeous native flowers in empty spaces near me and make a few intentions grow as well.
Another amazing practice I recently learned involves saving the dusty herbs at the bottom of a bag/bottle or chipped crystals in a singing bowl. I add a pinch of herbs here or there and whenever I am bored or just near the bowl, I play it. This not only cleanses the herbs but infuses them with the happiness you’re building up over time. You can then use these herbs as loose incense or an offering (Thank you Elemental Inspirations for sharing this with me).
Overall, I am trying to do better and the theme you’ll find in this post is that we need not beat ourselves up if we can’t take it all on. Do what you can and recognize how that small action ripples into a larger impact. Being a witch can be a massive blessing and a heavy-ass-burden as well. We see the liminal and constantly experience waves of empathy; typically for things that are massively out of our control. So while global warming may give you anxiety; try your absolute best to transform that into action. Also, be kind to yourself throughout this process.
My Commitment to Myself
Most of you will understand when I say that this is the most difficult area to honor. A commitment to self is more than a superficial wish to do or be better. One will have to face their shadow side and learn to accept faults, flaws, and find those things beautiful (or at least acceptable). Beltane is the perfect time to do a lot of this work. Primarily because you have the support of the elements around you and the growing season. This lends more sunlight, warmth, and positivity to us in the practice. All of these are beneficial in fighting anxiety, depression, or general malaise.
My own commitment is focused on recognizing these internal seasons and how they meet the external. Am I planting positive seeds this season so that I can harvest them in winter? Is my environment conducive in nurturing my growth? All of these things are deeply important during this season. It also makes us sound a great deal like plants; which is the general idea. You need nutrients, the right conditions to grow, and even some sunshine.
The advice of self-care is so easy to give and yet so difficult to follow. Some ways that I maintain this is through mediation and reading. However, I wanted to push myself to make sure I was planting seeds that create something more than my usual crop of mediocre self-love. Ways to do this, for me, is to expand on my magick. I’ve neglected this part of myself in favor of reading, education, and career. Although these other areas have brought stability to my life; they have not fulfilled joy.
So how do we take the usual and progress to a higher level? I have no idea, honestly. I think that is best left to a therapist (had to toss in sarcasm). Okay, so here is how I am advancing and planting seeds of growth. First, I am taking my love of books and actually doing the practices recommended in them (I know you skip these just like I have). Second, I am educating myself by listening to other people’s practices. I’ve began conversing with other Pagans to see how they practice and if something excites me, I bring it into my own practice. My career is something that I honor by leaving it outside of my personal life. I do my best while at work, feel gratitude for what it allows me to do, and then allow it to stay apart from other joys.
My magick is growing and after twenty years of practice I am constantly blown away at what I have ignored. I believe that it is human nature to take the clichés and lessons from others and let them slide in one ear and out the other. Everything that blows my mind now is something that others have been saying for years but holy gods it is phenomenal when we finally realize the truths. Some of those truths have been about getting my hands dirty with magick and really discovering my own way verses reading and following. Other parts have been about being kind to myself when I don’t nail something on the first, second, or eighteenth try.
This Beltane, try to make some commitments and plant intentions for a better future. As you tend to those seeds do you your best to remain kind to yourself. Bring in the warmth and colors from this Sabbat and allow them to penetrate into other areas of your life. If you take anything away from this holiday; let it be the fun and joy. Have a happy and safe Beltane!
Beltane Clafoutis Recipe
Ingredients: Serves 6
4 TBSP. Butter – individually sliced
2/3 cups granulated sugar
1 1/14 cups whole milk (oat milk is an amazing substitute)
3 large eggs
2 tsp. almond extract
Pinch of salt
1 cup flour
2 cups of sliced strawberries
Powdered sugar for dusting
Vanilla bean ice cream (if you’re so inclined)
Place sliced butter pieces into a medium sized baking dish. Try to spread the slices out evenly.
Put the baking dish into the oven and pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. This will melt / brown the butter.
Place milk, granulated sugar, eggs, almond extract, salt, and flour into a blender and blend it at a top speed until everything is frothy. This should be smooth and fully incorporated.
Once oven pre-heated pour ½ of your batter into the baking dish and let it bake for 10 minutes. This will build a semi stable film for you to arrange your berries.
Take the baking dish out and arrange one cup of your strawberries throughout the batter. I like to make floral patterns or to just spread them evenly.
Pour the remaining batter over the berries and add the second cup of berries onto the batter.
Bake the dish for another 40-50 minutes. The clafoutis should be puffed and browned. I like to test if it is done by using the good ol’ toothpick method. If the toothpick is plunged into the center and it comes out clean, your dish is done.
Take the dish out of the oven and sprinkle with powdered sugar. Your clafoutis should not be served hot but warm is best. You can add vanilla ice cream on the side or a dollop of whipped cream on the top!