Driving backroads yesterday, tender curve of road a beckoning finger yearn in the heart…pulsating canopy of endless unfurled leaves…wrapped up in light touch of wildflower yellow & pink winds…
…And it’s easy to see how Indo-European ancestors believed in fae, to be so enchanted by all this everywhere dancy treebreath green…
AND SO IT IS~!! In the Northern Hemisphere:
Beltane is an ancient fertility festival celebrated as a sabbat(h), or holy day, in the earth tradition on May 1.
Historically, the Celts honored this cross-quarter holiday as the start of summer. It is when we ritualize or revere the yearly peak of Mama Nature making love with herself, in her infinite expression of living forever.
Beltane is a fire festival, and as a cros-quarter sabbath it signifies our moving southeast on the medicine wheel.
The reinvigoration and personalization of these ancient earth-based festivals are a rich way to not just make meaning, but to connect to the natural cycles of life and living in a way that feels meaningful.
The world around, we find anthropological examples of Nature as Sacred. Rituals and festival holy days have existed in every culture to celebrate, revere, and or request the continuance of nurturance and sustenance by her resources.
This does not mean we pick and choose at will: the beliefs and practices of many heritages are such because they are based on details specific to those bioregions, and the elements of people’s lived historical experiences and mythological narratives in those places. Many, if not most, indigenous cultures have experienced their sacred lands defiled and colonized, their beliefs repressed and demonized, their bodies violated and uprooted. Choosing to adhere to a cultural tradition with these sorts of unrectified traumas in its history, without the sanction of elders or teachers connected to those legacies, can create yet another form of the same trauma. Mindfulness, reverence and respect is called for when learning. Be certain to understand, as best you are able, the specific culture’s beliefs that you are studying. Be especially mindful of culture’s with closed or initiatory traditions that require study under an elder or tribes person.
When in doubt, leave it out!
For me, I undertook my own study and interest in neo (modern) paganism in the early 90’s. I read about the resurgence of Celtic traditions happening in Europe, particularly England, Ireland, and Scotland. I was careful to understand the difference between open and closed practices.
It was at that time I started to learn to turn to Nature on my own, giving myself to Nature, or Life as I often say, as my primary teacher.
Earth-based teachers, elders in their own traditions or on their own paths, arrived in natural ways for me not too long after; and continue to, as well.
It was a slow, organic practice in which I found myself returned, again and again, always re-landing, always deepening, always re-dedicating myself and reawakening my own personal connections to the lived animism of Mama Nature.
In my own ritual practices on the wild island where I live, I continue to expand my learning and understanding of the Algonquin ancestors that were native to this land. Though they no longer inhabit the sacred place, they remain the original narrative or myth keepers of the place. It is my work to revere and honor this history, to tend it and make it a living narrative. I make offerings to them every time I connect to the land here.
~That The Balance is Kept~
Similarly, there are beautiful, living matrilineal—meaning mother-based—myths and archetypes of goddesses and other revered examples of the divine feminine. Feeling resourced by the earth, and offering my heart-based resources back to her as a living, breathing, fertile exchange enlivens my own value of me as Sacred and interdependent.
My own intimate, personal practices of moon medicine and Women’s Mysteries was opened by my own monthly rhythms. It led me, while studying depth psychology for my Masters in Counseling, to really broaden, then focus my research on “Sacred Downgoing”. This means I learned all about historical practices of women connecting to the earth and the moon against the rhythms of their own bodies. I learned the value, power, and fundamental importance of women’s experiences of our bodies as sacred, fertile, and creative. I learned the value, power, and necessity of women reclaiming the right to tell these stories according to their own inner voice.
Bringing this into embodiment practices, helping women discover these powerful connections in their own ways continues to expand my experience of my own earth-path.
And so this is Beltane! Feeling the call of her enchantment…while for me at least, also in awe of the fruits of the earth path all around in my personal and professional worlds. Joyous fusion of beginning within, and trusting the results: Sacred within me, sacred outside me…
Lunar Beltane is a women’s alchemical mystery, marked by the full moon that occurs when the sun is in the house of Taurus. This year that occurs on May 18.
Traditional Beltane is Wednesday. It is, like all earth holy days on the medicine wheel, a tide or an energy. It is signified by Fire and is a time to revere and celebrate all that we’ve grown or will grow! Dance, give thanks, connect, make offerings, make love, enjoy!
Let loose: H O W L L L!!!
Social celebrations over bonfires invigorate the soul and clean and clear the mind.
Or, a more quiet, devotional act might be your personal practice of dropping in–meaning quieting and connecting to your subconscious mind, or your inner peace or stillness, your Sacred source, however you relate–and then using a candle flame to visualize.
Let your mind soften and loosen. Be with, in a spirit of love and joyous thanks. Intend: what you’d love to grow, transform, manifest. Set aside your ideas and allow the flame to dance and lead. See what you will see…
Draw, journal, express it somehow.
We are in a dark moon phase with Beltane this week, so this sort of dropped in “between the veils” work will draw energy and imprint in you, because dark moon energy holds. It holds still, in preparation for the break through rebirth of new moon.
TRUST. Drop in, tend the Holy Day, then let go of the results! Trust love. In all moments, choose love.
By the time Lunar Beltane arrives on May 18 watch to see what naturally shows up with the momentum of full moon~
Be well, friends. Be good to, be true to YOU
Don’t let them tame you!
image M.L. Kirk, 1860-1938