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.
Beltane, if celebrated on the lunar-led earth path of the medicine wheel, is tonight.
Ancestors used to celebrate Beltane as the traditional start of summer.
Think fire, passion!! May Day, when maidens danced the Maypoles and the lusty earth was potent with the growing BLOSSOMS that at spring were birthed! When certainly some of those ancestors made love to celebrate the union of romance and marriage, as the union of sun and earth that produced the fertility of crops every year.
What a special time to think of LOVE.
Agape LOVE. Unconditionally altruistic, life giving, accepting. Transformative. Eros love, the craving for union, the longing for self and other as One. DIVINE LOVE.
I start tending my “dark” side at Halloween. On the medicine wheel, I walk an embodied daily understanding of as within, so without, and vice versa. For me, this is the truest way to be in sacred relations to all of life.
What this means is that when the days darken, I tend the season of the dark. I take it as reality that from Fall Equinox onward, and especially when we reach November and the time changes, this is a time when I am closest to my own interior darkness.
Recall (from Wild Women Wisdom, Ovulation and the Active Imagination, Nov 13, 2014) that the psyche projects its earliest understanding of dualistic thinking. Dualism is self and other. Think as well of opposites, mom and dad, good and bad, right and wrong becomes internalized as the right worldview. Good behavior is behavior that gets positive feedback so all else is bad behavior. This becomes an unconscious way we relate to the world!
Dualism is the nature of consciousness. Carl Jung deepened our modern understanding of this by helping us realize that what we are conscious of, our thoughts and feelings that we can see or name, has a compensatory opposite energy too that we can’t or don’t. He called this our shadow.
Basically, what we associate with as bad we will stuff into our shadow, where it dominates the unconscious. In this way, what we don’t work out will get acted out. Or as Jung said, “Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.”
Tonight, and in general what is peaking or being brought to the light right now, is related to your conscious or unconscious experiences from late October onward.
One of the reasons (from Wild Women Wisdom, Wildness on the Full Moon Tide, Jan 5, 2015) women repress their strength or natural association with the realm of the feminine godhead (and therefor with the realm of the collective unconscious) is because we in Western society esteem a male God. Meaning the feminine has been relegated to the shadow.
The feminine, however, was at one time divined among many other aspects through menstrual mysteries.
During the 14th and 15th centuries 9 million women burnt at the stake because of a document known as the malleus maleficarum which associated menstrual mysteries with being a witch (see Shuttle and Redgrove’s (2005) The Wise Wound for more info.)
Inherent feminine wisdom, or the biological fact that we are cyclical and rhythmic just as the moon and the sun, the seasons and the tides, had to be buried deep within the collective psyche. It was demonized or repressed, which means shamed to the extent that rhythmic knowledge of one’s own psyche either as a female, or in regards to anima or feminine instincts, became associated with Satanism!
Lets consider more closely the archetypal mind of the Goddess, or the feminine divine, as a counterpart to the more known and illumined God. The Goddess oversees the realm of dark, night, intuition, death and rebirth (because the female rules the women’s mysteries, of which birth is one) receptivity, and on a more temporal or practical level, emotions, though that is equally an embodied male or animus or egoic part of the process as well (see Ann Ulanov’s interpretation for more on this.)
Bessel van der Kolk is a doctor who coined the term developmental or complex trauma. This is when the nervous system experiences normalized, environmental traumas like untreated substance abuse in the family, domestic violence, or poverty, among other things.
I would like to suggest that the wound of the feminine, or the collective suppressing of the power of the feminine, is an untreated complex trauma in society at large.
In my own experience, healing it means healing the wound of, in Erich Neumann’s words, the patriarchal uroboros in the feminine psyche.
Uroboros is the snake eating its own tail. Think about it. If the feminine’s strength is the darkness, and the darkness is also what’s been demonized both through the repression of feminine instinct as well as as the demonization of dark as wrong or bad, well then. That’s kind of a problem that, like the uroboros, is self-perpetuating.
This Beltane my dear friends, WRITE ON YOUR HEART A COMMITMENT TO YOURSELF TO LOVE YOURSELF WHOLE AGAIN: Shame shames shame. The shame cycle is part of the nebulous core of almost all complex traumas. SHAME SHAMES SHAME. This is the patriarchal uroboros.
Begin within. Healing is about awareness, keeping right relations within by starting to love yourself by being with exactly how you are feeling right now. Healing is about softening, utilizing the Wise self to be with, to accept what is right now. To accept unconditionally gives us the choice to Love. To serve and to create union with the shadowed aspects that the Full moon illumines.
At Beltane, let us align our Wise selves with the sacred heart of Divine Love inside of each of us, and transform shame. Healing is not so much an action plan as a way in which we learn to unconditionally accept and relate to our self.
This be my prayer for us all!
That big ol silly moon, just a stand out in the sky like someone shot a paint ball up there and smack-landed it on the flat east canvas, a perfect white slab. She was staring at me while the sun was still out. A smile I couldn’t reach or run from, just had to laugh and breathe and let it fill me.
I was driving the coast highway home from Tuesday night on Dove Street. I’m always reflective after going there so PCH in the late day sun matches that mood. Plus you never know with traffic in Irvine and the 405.
It was a Starbucks from the gas station in a glass bottle all sugary sweet and Burger King value menu fries for dinner kinda drive. Every song on shuffle the indy kind that tells a story. Once I got to the coast I caught each light and never had to hit my brakes, just downshifted or idled in neutral, a nice smooth cruise.
Then at Crystal Cove the sun out my back window, and when I looked up there it was. The moon so big and full I huuu–caught my breath. Smiling at me, making me feel like a giggle was caught in my chest.
In a dance as perfect and still as that — precise canyon lands in quiet enchantment, listening and letting her nighttime lullaby siiiing, I too had to let her talk to me. She said, follow, follow, and so I went. East. Off Broadway I turned right and knew I was headed way up in to the hills. I stopped along the way, about half way up because I had the best view of her, but in my blood she said keep going keep going. If it had words that feeling would’ve spoken: you’re almost home! More and more steep I climbed til the road ended in a T. There was a sign for a park to the left. I turned and gasped. Big orange sun, relaxed black hills, ocean the metal shine color of see-through blue. I parked in a instant and got out just in time:
Lunar Beltane, and the reminder that earth magic moves us in its own time if and when we just say yes.
Beltane embodies the archetype of fertility, of maiden fire in the prime first flares of coming-to-life. With this moon in the open light it tells us that whatever ran our thoughts today like clear bubbles we could poke and press–this is the material we work with, this is the way in, the door to more soul and deeper meaning. Wild wisdom is reverent, understands life is a continuum–now is a good time to glance backwards in the rainbow spiral of your rhythms so far this year, and recall February. Think back to its first week. What was going on? Today and tomorrow–indeed this whole week–whatever is going on–tie it back to early February to help you understand your own theme. Beltane is when the first seeds of what you are growing this year come to first birth in material form. You should have some clearer, wiser sense of what (inside you) is growing, or going on~
That’s enough outta me. Other than to say–big ol magic moon, from Dove Street til now, from last New Moon til now, from February til now!! You wow me, every time.
I study depth psychology at Pacifica Graduate Institute in Santa Barbara, California.
Depth psychology was pioneered by Carl Jung. It explores the unconscious aspects of the psyche.
Depth perspective considers the deeper levels of your unconscious as the primary factors that rule your life. Also, much of the time, it is this very area of which we are, in fact, not conscious.
Since 1998 I have kept a morning practice.
I am not always consistent. It does not always happen in the morning. It often differs. But the point is, I have fifteen years of cultivating consciousness of my inner life from day to day.
For anyone who knows me, this practice of meeting what I call the mystery, or Great Love, deep down inside my self is my means of accessing the sacred in an approachable, every day way.
Carl Jung said we use the ego, which lives in the consciousness, to illuminate parts of our unconsciousness. In this way we experience a tension of opposites.
Think about this the way you might a pressure cooker. The pot itself is the container, your ego. The heat cooking it is more numinous, shapeless. Your unconscious, rising closer to the surface of consciousness. The transformation of cooked roast inside, that’s your new understanding.
In Jung speak, this is the transcendent function that other psychologists term human potentiality.
In Wild Wisdom speak, this happens in an up and down spiral way conducive to the patterns (of which we are an inherent part) of nature. Like a never-ending helix, our consciousness and unconsciousness do this in a cohesive dance of flux and retreat.
Beltane, traditionally, celebrates the union of male and female. In Jung speak, male is animus and female anima.
In soul or wild wisdom speak we are not talking about genders. We are talking of active, and receptive, energies.
Recall the full moon is a symbol of bringing in to full consciousness a new energy from our own darkness, or unconsciousness.
So this full moon–Lunar Beltane–is the union of some part of our own shapeless dark, or unconsciousness, being contained by our awareness, or consciousness.
Think back on your own journey through winter’s dark this year. This moon brings your first gifts of manifested transformation out of that struggle!
Meaning Beltane most importantly celebrates CONCEPTION!! The transcendent function–the new birth–that arises might be happening in your life in a real, present way like a new friend or job or relationship or opportunity….or in a settled new aspect of self-understanding.
These are the Wild (meaning still connected to the larger earth and celestial tides,) or Wise, Woman Ways. As within so without, and the other way around!!!
The old pagans would dance spirals around the Maypole and handfast with new lovers, celebrating sex and fertility. Look outside, our earth is such a show off in all her fragrant decorations of pinks and yellows and purples and flowers and buds–it’s in the air! This is the magic of Beltane.
It’s also happening in each of us, starting deep inside.
I’m heading inland to Monrovia to celebrate over a bonfire with Paul and Jill. Happy Beltane kids!