Durstan, The Monk who Cast a Spell, falls in love with Ailan after their sexual awakening at Beltane in 794AD. They celebrate the ancient fertility rite with Brionach the Druid and others, in Chapter 9 of the book.
Durstan speaks of it later, "...that night was like nothing I had experienced before. The drumming and smell of herbs burning on the fire under the stars... Ailan haunts my dreams and every waking breath. I will never forget..."
The Church is still trying to convert the British Isles to Christianity in the 8th century, but people follow the Gods of their Ancestors, and are reluctant to take on another from across the seas whom they don't know.
The traditional Gods are at their most powerful during Beltane. Abbot Faisal at the Iona Monastery has to turn a blind eye to what takes place that night, whilst Durstan's experience causes him to doubt his earlier beliefs, and helps create change in his life.
Traditionally, Beltane signifies the union of God and Goddess; man and woman; fertility and harvest. It's the season of maturing life and deep found love; a time of vows, hand fasting and commitment. The God and Goddess are stirred again by the forces in nature.
The flowers and greenery we see at this time of year symbolise the Goddess, and the Maypole, the God.
Summer's passion returns to the world as
the sun becomes stronger, and earth blossoms again. There's the hawthorn too! It was sacred to the ancient Celts, and is still considered magical by many; a protective influence, whilst its white flowers are always a pleasure to see in fields and gardens.Beltane will soon be here for us when the Moon rises on 30th April, May Day eve. If you would like to read Durstan and Ailan's story, it's available now from
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Happy Beltane! Thank you for visiting the Hope and Dreams blog.