Green Wedding Dresses for a Beltane Handfasting

by JoHarrington

Traditionally, Beltane bridal dresses are green, red or white/silver. To match the Lady as a May Queen bride, you will need to don a green handfasting gown.

In truth, the color of a handfasting dress can be whatever the lady wishes to wear. But many brides want to take on an aspect of the Goddess, relevant to the current turning of the Wheel of the Year.

Beltane is the most popular time for Pagan marriage ceremonies. At this time of year, attuned brides may opt for silver or white, as the colors of Sovereignty ritually wed to Her champion on May Day.

But they are also the colors of the Maiden, therefore popular all year round. Ditto red, worn anytime by brides emulating the Mother, while topically connecting to the Beltane fires.

Only one color belongs to Beltane alone. A wedding dress in green links Goddess, bride and Sabbat in perfect accord!

All Hail the Green Lady, Goddess of the Wild Wood!

In this aspect more than any other, the Goddess brings unity. The interweaving energy that makes all one in nature, awakening anew to burst out at Beltane.

She is as young as the fresh grown bud; and as old as the yew. She lives in the transient moment of the dawn light flashing on a falling leaf. She's always there, watching from the grove.

Time passes. In any given instant, she is being born or dying, a billion times over in countless different forms. Time stays still. She is simultaneously here; and in the apple landing on Isaac Newton's head; and in the oxygen frenzied flora of a prehistoric age; and riding the Big Bang's potential; and you.

The Green Lady is a human being. The Green Lady is an ant. She's the primal force raging through the Earth's core; and dancing as a dryad in the woods. The Green Lady is the universe. The Green Lady is a bride. The Green Lady is.

Full Length Ruffled Green Wedding Dress for Beltane

Embroidered Green Gown

The Green Goddess at Beltane Awakens

All through the frozen winter She slept. Cradling safe all She could create, She's been alone too long.

See Her in the green shoots rising, breaking from seed underground. Tunneling upwards, ever upwards, towards the light of day. She is the rhizome producing protein, fueling surging flora. Her colony of roots will bring the May.

See Her in the green growth reaching from the tree. Inside the trunk, She travels in channels, their courses reopened after the thaw. The sap is rising and She is in it. She will be the leaves and the twigs, the blossom and the seed.

So pile your Beltane fires high. Call Her Consort, call the sky. Sing to bring Beli Mawr to where the green sprouts through. The Green Goddess is awake; let the Great Dance begin anew.

The Triple Goddess is a major deity in Wicca. She is a single being, who is viewed as three divine women: Maiden, Mother and Crone.

White and Green Handfasting Gown for the Beltane Lady

This combines the green of the Summer Queen with the white of the Maiden awakening after Her winter slumber. As Beltane as it gets in Pagan wedding dresses!

Beltane Bridal Dress

Robert and Matilda

- Four verses from a Medieval ballad.

...As Robert was ranging in the Earl's wood
He espied this pretty maid,
Her gait it was graceful, her body was straight,
And her countenance free from pride.

Her eyebrows were black, and so was her hair,
And her skin was as smooth as glass.
Her visage spake wisdom and modesty too.
Said Robin, Oh! what a fine lass.

Her gown was of cloth as green as the grass,
And her buskin did reach to the knee;
The cloth was homespun, but for color and make
It might have befitted a queen....

...Said Robin, A question that every true man
Asks of a woman once in her life.
And how sweet it would be,
If thou would'st be my wife.
This ring my mother gave to me,
It was her own betrothal ring;
She prayed me when with all my heart
I loved a maid, to pass it down her finger.

Beltane Bride in the Great Wedding of the Goddess and the God

'Chant the chant of souls entwining round and through the sacred fire...'

The Great Mother at Beltane brings the feminine divine. The Great Father matches Her in sacred masculinity. They meet and in that instant the circle is complete. They are one, they are united; Mother Earth and Father Sky.

Consciousness flows; yin to yang, animus to anima, the universal chakras are aligned. The world has found its soul. So dance the circle dance of dreaming, lonely by the crystal sea, spin the web of mist and moonlight, come beloved, follow me...

Beltane is a time of fertility, renewal and fire. It's between the end of darkness and the beginning of light. The veil is very thin.

Full Green Handfasting Dresses for Beltane Weddings

Robin's mistress dear, his loved Marian
Was Soverign of the woods, chief lady of the game;
Her clothes tuck'd to the knee, and dainty braided hair,
With bow and quiver arm'd.

- Polyolbion by Drayton.

It befell in the month of May, Queen Guenever called unto her knights... warning that upon the morrow she would ride a-Maying in the woods... And I warn you there be non of you but that he be well horses, and that ye all be clothed in green.

- Le Morte D'Artur by Malory

Strapless Long Green Beltane Handfasting Dress

The Goddess of Sovereignty at Beltane

Her colors are white, red and black, but the land is green. When Sovereignty is at one with Her Champion, you can be sure that She'll be decked in this hue.

On May Eve a terrible cry sounds across the realm. Lady Sovereignty is without Her mate, a worthy ruler to plough Her pastures and husband Her land.

In history, Beltane was the time when Celtic rulers ritually wedded the land. Sovereignty took the form of a white mare, ridden before witnesses to prove he had Her favor. Then a Maiden would take him to her bed, Sovereignty's representative in human form. In passion and fertility, land and ruler would become one.

In legend, the white hart dashes from the cover of the greenwood. Everyone gives chase, except the hero, who encounters the Lady in White. He claims Her as his own, and her gown changes to white. But He does not yet have Sovereignty. She will challenge him before he's judged to have that right. He enters into Her tests and passes! Now her dress is green. She loves and supports him until his vitality or life is gone. Sovereignty wears black, as She wails her loud lament. Then looks for another Champion.

Beltane belonged to that much maligned Maiden aspect of Sovereignty - the Flower Bride.

Many of our oldest stories and legends conceal a divine journey to find a king or queen. The land itself is personified into a Lady. It's a concept which still has echoes today.
Also known as Geraint Son of Erbin, this tale from the Arthurian Romances looks like the usual Sovereignty story. But there's much more going on than that!

Medieval Emerald Green Wedding Gowns

Beltane and the Flower Bride

She is the Maiden of Sovereignty; a woman of such unearthly beauty that men will abduct her to have her, then will fight to the death for the right to keep her.

Rhiannon was snatched from Annwn; Gwenhwyfar from Arthur's side. Fflur was taken to Rome by Julius Caesar, but Caswallawn grabbed her back.

Blodeuwedd was constructed from flowers, magically brought to life. The pretty flora married to Llew, abducted by Gronw, then turned into an owl, when she tried to exert Her will.

Diarmuid eloped with Grainne, right from under the eyes of her elderly husband Fionn; while Eochaid fought Midir in his rough wooing of Etain. Cú Roí entered into endless battles with Ulster's champion Cú Chulainn, all for the love of the Flower Bride Bláthnat.

And as for poor Creiddylad, she will remain for all eternity unwed, because of the battle between Gwyn ap Nudd and Gwythyr ap Griedawl:

'Creiddylad was left in the house of her father undisturbed by either side, and every May Day the two men would fight, and the one who conquered on the Judgement Day would keep the girl.'

- Culhwch and Olwen, old Welsh legend

Beltane is the time when the God of Winter and God of Summer clash too. Both of them want the land. Both will die for its Lady in Green, the Flower Bride about to rise.

Such is the intoxicating ardor sparked by Sovereignty in Maiden form. So beautiful, so enticing, that She will be tumbled back and forth between armed suitors, each ready to take what won't be given. This is the state when too many men want Her, and it's not yet obvious which is the best, most worthy champion amongst them.

Until She chooses there will be this trouble. It's in Her nature to inspire it.

Bring Flowers of the Rarest (Queen of the May)

Christian hymn wherein Mother Mary becomes the Summer Queen.

Renaissance Fayre Handfasting Gowns in Green

The Queen of May, The Summer Queen

She may be the Flower Bride. She may be an established Sovereign Queen with a Champion. She is the legendary May Queen.

At Beltane, the Summer Queen presides over a world gone mad. All civil order is turned upside down, with dancing, hunting, singing, coupling, battles to the death, passion and love.

Love at its most primal. If you wanted the Hallmark version, you should have grabbed your chance while you could in February. There's all the madness of spring here at Beltane; the headiness found at the brink of summer, when everyone is here to shake off the cobwebs and learn to live.

That's what the Queen of May is here to judge. She will follow her nature in the carefree, living life, not just surviving. Making choices which might scandalize society. Watching or riding in the Wild Hunt. Racing into the Greenwood for a temporary marriage, breaking it off again the next day.

Yet these frenzied Pagan parties now are nothing to what Cybele surveyed, in her flowery tower inside a mountain. Men would tear themselves to pieces at Her will. Just look up Attis sometime.

The May Queen teaches us all to go a little crazy (or a lot). And if She happens to be missing a Champion just now, then let the Sovereignty Games begin!

Medieval Style Fleur de Lis Wedding Dress for Beltane Weddings

Elven Handfasting Dress

Lady Bertilak and Gawain

"I assure you that you are my sovereign lady," Gawain blinks owlishly at me, so constrained by this Medieval telling of our story.

I award him with a chaste kiss.

(And a part of me peers into a part of him, catching the wry amusement, concealed there to find. Is a chaste kiss worth your life, Gwalchmai? His awen flares hawkish with the Truth, Until death us do part, Peir fi.)

I award him with a chaste kiss; knowing full well that what I give Gawain, he will deliver in turn to my husband. That is the deal. That is the test. And Bertilak will take it, because it came from me.

I award him with a chaste kiss, and watch him chastely kiss Bertilak, home from the Hunt. But my green girdle, given to Gawain, stays hidden. As if that will save him, when his head is on the block.

Lady and Sir Bercilak

My Blessed giant Bercilak receives his share of the prize in Gwalchmai's fierce embrace.

Three kisses I gave, each one more amorous than before; three kisses Gwalchmai passed on. But not the baldric of green lace, that I fastened over his shoulder, and promised would keep him from harm.

The raven's share Bercilak gives to Gwalchmai, then rest he brings to me.

I stir a stew, my hunted bounty, bubbling now as Bercilak's feast. Watching him, my ancient consort of the hearty laugh, gained suddenly here in our Middle Ages.

My poor, brave Bercilak, no-one sees here anymore the Truth of You. In every kiss you must have tasted the ardor left inside. Your own private testing to ascertain the lie of the land.

So strong, so worthy, but it is I who choose. Will you one day stand with your ax in your hand, knowing that the Champion chosen was Gwalchmai?

Hunter Green Wedding Dress

Morgan Le Fey and Sir Accolon

I was not there, but I knew, when Arthur fought Accolon. A piercing shriek shook the Earth, thrice to summon my barges.

Spent and spoiled was the old Pendragon; his wasteland scourged with yellow mist, and everything therein dying.

My young love Accolon, I'd armed myself with weaponry and heart.

Excalibur gleaming as it rises, sunlight dancing on the blade. My green scabbard dangling at his side, jewel encrusted gems casting spottled shadows, like morning seen through a canopy of leaves.

There will be blood. There always is. Summer and winter clashing at the May for supremacy of the land. My bounty - for one of them - awaits.

Celtic Dress for a Handfasting

Medb and Bricriu

Cú Chulainn didn't see me at Bricrui's Feast. I witnessed his courageous trusting, rising as Champion for it was required. Ready to die without ever knowing why.

I was there, but I wasn't there. I was everywhere and nowhere.

Bricrui died for me, under the ax of Munremar mac Gerrcind. My Consort rose up whole again, but his Challenger fled the game.

Bricrui died for me, under the ax of the hero Leogair. But that fool too disappeared, when it came to be his turn.

Yet Cú Chulainn asks no questions, nor demands that he strike first. Worthy Cú Chulainn simply rests his neck across the block.

And Bricrui 's ax falls to a stop. A tiny nick, a trinkle of blood. There I see my Champion arising, like a summer breeze warming a fledgling bloom.

Green Irish Wedding Dress

Green Handfasting Dress

Bláthnat and Cú Roí

Old man, hound of my battlegrounds, the winter now has passed. You belong to Medb, my love, and She has been and gone.

She'll be back another day. We'll all be back another day. But for now, at the May, there is me!

I will dance and sing and love in wild intoxication, and one day die a poet's death.

Until then, you cannot keep me from Life. Sweet, dear Cú Roí, you cannot keep me from the cauldron for the feast, that you left to Cú Chulainn as his share.

Nothing is immortal. Only the land endures. I'll see you where the poppies rise, instead of Beltane flowers. My lover will be here soon.

Cú Roí stares with ancient eyes, wise as an owl, unblinking, "Wear your green gown, Little Flower,  you will always be Sovereignty."

"I See You've Met Queen Mab..."

'She is the fairies' midwife and She comes in a shape no bigger than an agate stone, on the fourth finger of an alderman...'

Green is the color of fairy, and the veil is wide open at Beltane. Passage between this world and the Otherworld is unfettered on this day. So be careful where you wander; be wary who you kiss. For the Queen of the Otherworld dances in green upon the green, and she might just spirit you away.

Happy Beltane handfasting, if you dare still marry on this day!  (The Irish say you shouldn't and, you know, they might have a point...)

Updated: 09/26/2014, JoHarrington
 
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