Beltane is known primarily as a Celtic holiday, translating to ‘Bel Fire’. A God of light
and fire, Bel also represented the shadow side, often connected with Cernunnos. Beltane
is a gathering of the rising Spring, when birth is abundant and life awakes in its fragile
beauty. The night is the gateway to dreams, through which we take flight blown by
fervent winds in the direction of the Sabbat. As the flames burn high towards a waning
moon, so does inspiration and the shadows of those who shed their flesh. The key lies
within a dreaming and waking world dependent on the friction of desire and will. Will
you not open an eye to the possibilities available only in dream? Nothing is true,
understand this and the key is awakened in that instant. Between each line there is
transition, the moment that young woman becomes hag and hag becomes woman. All is
beautiful in the instant in which lightning strikes. Burn with passion according to your
desire, so the flames leap to heights seldom reached. Ecstasy is belief.
Bel (/ˈbeɪl/; from Akkadian bēlu), signifying “lord” or “master”, is a title rather than a genuine name, applied to various gods in the Mesopotamian religion of Akkad, Assyria and Babylonia. The feminine form is Be lit ‘Lady, Mistress’. Bel is represented in Greek as Belos and in Latin as Belus. Linguistically Bel is an East Semitic form cognate with Northwest Semitic Baal with the same meaning.
Early translators of Akkadian believed that the ideogram for the god called in Sumerian Enlil was to be read as Bel in Akkadian. This is now known to be incorrect; but one finds Bel used in referring to Enlil in older translations and discussions.
Bel became especially used of the Babylonian god Marduk and when found in Assyrian and neo-Babylonian personal names or mentioned in inscriptions in a Mesopotamian context it can usually be taken as referring to Marduk and no other god. Similarly Be lit without some disambiguation mostly refers to Bel Marduk’s spouse Sarpanit. However Marduk’s mother, the Sumerian goddess calledNinhursag, Damkina, Ninmah and other names in Sumerian, was often known as Belit-ili ‘Lady of the Gods’ in Akkadian.
Of course other gods called “Lord” could be and sometimes were identified totally or in part with Bel Marduk. The god Malak-bel ofPalmyra is an example, though in the later period from which most of our information comes he seems to have become very much a sun god.
Bel was believed to be a patriarch from Armenia, somehow related to Hayk (the supreme God for ancient armenians) – the story tells they were brothers, but they may probably have been cousins. According to the myth, Hayk and Bel were both patriarchs of their own tribes, competing for supremacy. Hayk beat Bel, so the latter chose to go south to Babylon, and established himself there, became powerful again and lead his forces to avenge his previous defeat against Hayk. Somewhere near Van, the ancient capital of urartian Armenia, a final battle took place between the siblings. Hayk beat Bel with an arrow, and thus became the sole leader. He unified the tribes, that altogether took the name Armenia (in armenian, Hayastan, after Hayk).