The Festival of Bel’s Fire
May You Have A Wonderful Holiday Celebration!
Region has a great deal of influence over early religious and/or spiritual celebrations. Especially in ancient times. While the Celts are generally seen as an individual group of people today, they were diverse and individual regional clans in their time.
They shared mythological stories, or perspectives, but they weren’t exactly the same. Different regions may hold a different set of deities on a higher level than others, or not include them at all.
Because of this, Bel has many names and many stories are attributed to him through out the old Celtic countries of Ireland, Scotland and Wales. Even Gaul was included in that region of Celtic culture (Gaul (Latin: Gallia) was a region of Western Europe during the Iron Age and Roman era, encompassing present day France, Luxembourg and Belgium, most of Switzerland, Northern Italy, as well as the parts of the Netherlands and Germany on the west bank of the Rhine. ~ Wikipedia:Gaul).
In Celtic mythology, Bel, Belenos (also Belenus) was a deity worshiped in Gaul, Cisalpine Gaul, and Celtic areas of Austria, Britain and Spain. In West Cornwall he was called Belerion and the region is associated as the place of Bel. There are currently 51 known inscriptions dedicated to Belenus, mainly concentrated in Aquileia and Cisalpine Gaul, but also extend into Gallia Narbonensis, Noricum, and far beyond. ~ Wikipedia: Belenus
To most Celts, and modern-day pagans; Bel is the embodiment of the Sun God, associated with fire for obvious reasons. But the etymology of his name is actually unclear. He is known as the “Shining One”, “The Bright One” or “The Light One”.
The early Celts were very balanced in the way they scheduled their lives. One of the places this is seen most clearly are in the High Holy days, or the days they honored the Gods and Goddesses they aligned with. Each festival fell in between a solstice or equinox. February 6 for Imbolg, May 6th for Beltaine and August 6th for Lughnasadh as examples.
With the advent of the modern calendar, the festivals were assigned to dates based on solar cycles. And most Pagan Metaphysical traditions follow this selection of dates for their holiday observances.
To some degree this does throw off the balance intended for the cycle of the lunar year. This is also one reason varying traditions hold their festivals on different days. Wicca for instance recognizes May 1st as the date for Beltaine. Where as my tradition, Deborean, still recognizes May 6th as the date to honor Bel.
Whenever you choose to recognize the return of the sun in your life, learn more about Beltaine the holiday and festival and what it means to pagans. You might find some interesting tid-bits of information to help you incorporate more of the story of Bel into your own celebrations.
Samhain: In The Southern Hemisphere
This same time period marks a different seasonal shift in the southern hemisphere. The beginning of winter is upon our brethren below the equator.
At Summer’s End or Samhain is the festival of the harvest, the end of the year and the return to the circle. Contrary to what some believe, is not a celebration of a Celtic god of the dead. It is the time when the veil of forgetfulness is lifted between the physical world and the spiritual world. Where the dead are honored and communication with spirit can take place more easily than any other time of the year.
You can learn more about The History Of Samhain And Evolution of Halloween here on Springwolf Reflections.
Where ever you are ~
May your celebrations and festival days to honor the old ways, the soul within and your connection to the Universal Divine Spirit that you recognize in your life be one of blessings, joyful and prosperous celebration!
Many Blessings & Happy Holidays
© 2013 Springwolf, D.D., Ph.D. Springwolf Reflections / Springs Haven, LLC. All Rights Reserved.