I love this picture I just found on tumblr here .
Lunar Beltane was over the weekend and I officiated a wedding and stepped into my own elder priestess role in what was a fully whimsical and fabulous and sacred way, and the whole thing was epic, finish to start. All this and also I have a broken heart, which Life as life will is presently breaking more than once in the same spot.
On the new moon we burned the herbs and drank the violets and banged the drums as the sun went down to welcome in the new moon and Spring. I said my bows to Chantal and Elisa and the medicine and healing we will do together. Now the holiday comes and it is potent and I burn candles and wait out heart break, I fly home to the midatlantic to see all the trees have bloomed green. There was a thick rug of yellow pollen on my car. It is traditional Beltane or May Day and also the first day I go swimming here in the sea.
Here is more on Beltane, from my old site The Impulse Itself. It was written in 2011:
So Beltane comes to us from the peasants, or country folk, all over Europe.
Pagan, or peasant or folk (of the people) religions centuries ago meant worshiping polytheistic, or worship of more than one God. I think the reason I was drawn in my teens to learn more about Paganism was specific: Pagans also worship female divinities or Godesses. Mary, though present in my Catholic upbringing (if I tried hard I could still remember the words to her prayer) was never a female godhead to whom I, as a grl in the eighties and nineties, could readily relate.
Depending on the culture, and in this application we can span the whole world, folk religions in every single country as far back as anthropologists have dated venerate or make holy all kinds of Gods and Goddesses.
There are corn gods, fire goddesses, snake gods, bird goddesses, elephant gods. For every god there’s a goddess you can find and likewise. It goes on and on and on and is a beautiful, traditional example of the everything is holy approach, that ever-present basic tenant of all great dogmas: how you treat life is how you get treated…do unto others…etc. Joe Campbell, the pre-eminent mythologist of the last century, normalized the idea that the world was far more encompassing than Judeo-Christian myths or beliefs, and in his many books and interviews put it this way. (I am paraphrasing.) Indigenous, folk cultures of old applied their religions as if everything in the world was a Thou.
Beltane was celebrated traditionally all over old Europe as May Day, time when the female aspect (the Lady, the Moon, or any one of many different Goddesses,) and the Male (the Great God, the Green Man, the Sun or any one of several Gods) came together to make life. It was a celebration of the fecundity, or ever-re-creating fertility of the earth. In those days the earth, and the food and fruit it provided, was holy because of the integrated relationship the peasant people had with their environment. Literally, the earth and its harvests were how they lived and sustained. Beltane was when the first crops started to put forth, and it was this Thou which was celebrated.
The ancient world over, this earth holiday was celebrated in different and various forms. You find history of it in Native American, Chinese, Roman and Grecian traditions as just a few examples.
Religious applications, as far as how the individual practices, vary and are as different as footwear is from person to person in one single pew at church on Sunday. That said, a tenant of Paganism that I have always intimately enjoyed is the enlivening of the female aspect within Life. I’ve never, personally, worshipped many different Gods or Godesses, though I do pray periodically to everything from trees to the ocean to Marilyn Monroe to Jesus to Kali-Ma, depending on how my spirit and heart and poet words and the whimsy move me. Afterall, I believe in Thou. But that said, as a poet who speaks in the first language of metaphor, or symbol, my studies of Paganism continue to inform me of a rich and ancient heritage that specifically embodies and empowers the feminine aspect of the Divine. The moon often is a symbol of this energy.
Folk wisdom teaches us that the earth lives and dies and lives again in cycles (what the Old Sun-God did, every year. As later the Son of God did, dying and being re-born right around Beltane, she wrote with an ironic wink…)
Personally, I just really like having a significant tide to tie my own inner-life processes, and outer-life growth and changes, to. The parts of me that live and die and come back to life, too. The moon cycles work really well for me to watch myself, it’s an active, hands-on way for me to feel connected to this great, wide and holy Life as a whole. The full moon is a time that life peaks, we are fertile, abundant, shiny. You cut crops then, both because the moon helped the field workers see AND because the grow cycle, as all is connected, is at its peak. Just google farmers almanac and full moon for more on these old folk ideas. It’s really beautiful and will undoubtedly connect you to someone in your family (we all come from agricultural roots in this country) maybe only a generation or two back.
Flower Moon or Taurus Moon is often in May (or when the sun is in the constellation of Taurus), and is also known as Lunar Beltane. It’s time to celebrate the growth aspect–union of man and woman and the converging fertility as result–but with the moon as your starting point. The moon lights up the dark. The feminine aspect, as the Chinese teach with Yin, is the flow aspect inside every person, it is that which cant be contained. It is the dark or pureness of void-potential, or to my liking, where the light of gnosis or Knowledge makes its entry point. Yang, the male energy in each person, is solid, concrete, manifesting. To this one person’s way of thinking, this application is how to capture just some of the celebration of Life using old folk holidays as a guide. We use our consciousness or doing-aspect of Yang to find the Stillness in there, the moving beating constant of presence which is Yin. At the conjuct of Yin-Yang is your own Holy Thou in the center. My intention from there is to be happpppyyyy about Life, and that all of Life may Beee Happpyyy, too. As within. So without. Amen amen amen.