Beltane Fire Dance by Lorena McKennitt.
In addition to May Day, International Labor Day, yesterday was the much older celebration of Beltane in Celtic traditions and Walpurgisnacht, a thinly Christianized celebration of the Night of the Witches in Germanic and some Norse cultures. Both are half season holy days marking the mid-pint between the vernal equinox and the summer solstice. Here in Northern Illinois the weather was damn near perfect—mild and sunny during the day, nature erupting everywhere, and perfectly mystical that night with occasional clouds scudding past a half moon. Somewhere there were neo-pagans dancing around a fire in the woods.
An Irish Beltane bon fire.
Among the many customs ancient and re-created in both traditions are the bonfires lit to warm the earth and summon a sleeping earth goddess and the warming sun that brings forth a lush natural re-birth. In dance and art the Goddess often trysts with the Green Man who will rule at Midsummer.
The Earth Goddess and the Green Man.
To sing about all of this we have Loreena McKennitt, a Canadian singer, composer, harpist, accordionist, and pianist known for her Celtic, World, and New-Age music. Her pure, ethereal soprano is well beloved and she has sold more than 14 million albums world-wide.
This version of Beltane Fire Dance was recorded before a live audience for her 2007 album Nights from the Alhambra.