The Sabbat of Beltane has many meanings to different people, but for me and my path, it is about celebrating your masculine side.
Beltane is the last of the three fertility Sabbats which included Imbolc and Ostara. It is a mid point between spring and summer and it is another time when, like Samhain, the barrier between the living and the spirit world is a little thinner. Fairies are a big part of the celebration since it is said that they can easily come into our world from across the veil.
But for me, Beltane is about celebrating masculinity. As someone who adheres to the Aztec pantheon, among others, I’ve always believed in a balance and duality in nature. The Aztecs were very much in tune with the natural world and they believed that life needs death and dark needs light and part of this is the idea that we all have feminine and masculine aspects.
Imbolc was the celebration of the feminine so Beltane is the celebration of the masculine. And the concept of what is masculine could mean different things to different people and there is no wrong answer. Many of us may be governed by western ideas of what is gender, and if that helps to define things for you then that’s you. For me, gender is more abstract.
I would start by celebrating the masculine attributes of nature. Flowering plants, male animals, things like antlers on an old stag, colorful birds since for many species of birds, the males tend to be the most colorful.
Or you could enjoy the men in your life. Or, if you do tend to adhere to western style gender roles, maybe embrace those traits in yourself, regardless of who you are. Do things that are traditionally ‘male’ where you come from. Go to a sports bar if that’s what the dudes around you like to do and its something you associate with them.
I don’t necessarily adhere to western ideas of gender so I tend to celebrate what is masculine in nature. I like to be around flowers at this time of year. I might make my husband something nice this week for dinner. I might give more attention to the male characters in my stories.
For me, since I am a solitary pagan and don’t celebrate the Sabbats with anyone, I tend to make up what works for me as I go. And one thing I do, is that I can’t always celebrate the Sabbats right on the Sabbat so I tend to have Sabbat seasons. So for me, Beltane begins on Beltane and lasts till the eve of Litha. Yes, that means I leave Samhain and Halloween decorations up until December and Yule decor stays up til February, but it gets me to acknowledge nature all year around.
Also, yes the may pole is a phallic symbol. Phallic symbols are quite common around this time of year.