~ just as the sabbats are celebrated in diverse ways among individual pagans of myriad paths, so can they be diverse among those in the LGBT community; while some see Beltaine as celebration of fertility and reproduction, others view the spring fire festival to be a time to appreciate fertility, as a form of love for the body and the act of sex ~
letter to a young gay man on celebrating beltane: an unique perspective on Beltaine in the queer community, with a focus on pagan acceptance of all sexuality; talks about fertility in gay culture, considering the lack of sexual reproduction, and how individuals can celebrate their fertility as a celebration of sex, the body and fertility in other definitions
… it is such a standard image, no? Beltane being about the God and Goddess having sex or marrying. She in her long hair and coy long-legged femininity. He always tall, muscular, strong, looking conventionally masculine, holding her a loving embrace. I too attended rituals celebrating their happy union. And at midsummer, they stood together, a couple with their child, born from their Beltane coupling. Like you, I heard this described as fertility. And it did seem logical.
beltane grumbles: a straight perspective regarding the inclusion of different sexual-preferences in the celebration of Beltaine, and how the focus on sexual fertility might not be suitable for all practitioners
… this is the time of year that the union of male and female secures the continuing fertility of the world. Unfortunately for harmony of intent in ritual, I find that all a bit awkward on a personal level. Circumstances rarely combine to getting jiggy on that particular day, for me at least, and I’ve never desired children, so I’m more than just ambiguous about personal fertility, it’s actually something I desperately hope to avoid; rituals and folklore customs about conceiving offspring give me the heebie-jeebies.
I also have to wonder about gay pagans. Now, I find part of the appeal of neopaganism and modern Wicca is that it’s aligned with modern politics; I don’t find I’m torn between 21st century values and religious dogma. You’ll be sorry to hear that, despite this, there can be just as much homophobic attitude amongst pagans as any other faith. At one Beltane Bash, I chatted with chap who declared “Paganism is about fertility; how can you have gay pagans?” I’m going to make my stand again that paganism is not just about the earth and fertility rites. Besides, if homosexuality was good enough for the Greek gods — Zeus and Ganymede for example — who are we to argue?
queering beltane: another explanation for the right of gay pagans to find their place in the Beltane celebration, and how one can interpret the symbolism and significance of the festival in a sensual way
For those of you that may not be familiar, Beltane is the celebration that occurs at the end of April between the Spring equinox and Summer solstice. To Wiccans, Beltane marks the consummation of the sacred marriage between the Goddess and the God. It is often a celebration of fertility and during ancient times, the celebration of Beltane focused on the creating fertile crops and livestock.
For a lot of modern Pagans, Beltane has become a celebration of sexuality. While this is fine, it can sometimes be problematic for the GLBT community. On the one hand, some groups have used Beltane’s original associations with fertility to make it largely about straight sex. On the other, I’ve known gay Pagans that used Beltane to justify objectification and sex simply for sex’s sake.