Happy Beltane or Beltaine or the beginning of summer in the Northern hemisphere and Samhain or Summer’s End in the Southern world. In some magical and seasonal calendars, the twin festivals are celebrated from April 30 sunset till May 2 sunset, as mirror images and two halves of the same whole.
A special time this year as the world begins certainly in some places to emerge from the most grievous of days towards a degree of freedom albeit with caution; for there are still lands where the pandemic rages and we cannot yet be complacent.
We mourn the losses of the past months at Samhain, Summer’s End wherever we live in the world, even as we dance and cast ribbons and flowers towards the vibrant flower maiden of May and embrace the future.
For the old woman of winter casting down her holly staff at Beltane and slumbering until the next Samhain beneath her rock tomb and womb, is one and the same as the laughing dancing feted May Queen, carrying her pain and transforming it but never forgetting.
At Samhain in the Southern hemisphere, the beginning of the old winter, by soft candlelight into the flames we can drop grains of dried rosemary for new life mingled with remembrance. We can and must break with echoes from a now unchangeable past, once resolved allows us to go forward to a beautiful future.
Those in the Northern hemisphere are at the same moment drawing from Beltane, the start of the ancient Celtic summer, germinating future growth and dreams. For the world still turns and we can weave and re-form what we need, wherever we celebrate this time in our hearts.
With Beltane pulsating beneath our feet, we can reach out for happiness and fulfillment, light two red candles and make them sparkle with salt to welcome better days. We recall too in them future generations to whom we will pass on our own acquired wisdom; we can at the same time connect with the still burning Samhain fireside of the ancestors, a reminder of other hard times through the ages where people fought to survive and make a better world- and so shall we by the time six months hence Samhain and Beltane change places again on the ever-turning wheel.
Choice and change are not always easy to reconcile; as we stand with our feet between the rising summer and the falling winter, we can only base decisions on the resources and the knowledge we have now. causing as little hurt as possible as we embrace the new and of necessity abandon what no longer works.
For that old hag of winter, Cailleach just one of the names of the fierce but loving grandmother who broke the winter ice that the moorland animals might drink, hears the Maytime music from beneath her dark sheltering rock and knows we must rejoice; but at the same time she does not forget what the past months have taught us about compassion being as powerful as competition and sharing softening single-minded striving for success.
To integrate Beltane and Samhain, wherever you live, take two apples, eat one and say, I absorb Beltane fertility into my life to achieve what I most desire. Scatter pips and shred the core on soil to be absorbed in their own way. Take the second apple and bury it, saying: I bury unfulfilled Samhain efforts to decay and transform in time to new growth. Even if your seeds do not take root, you have set in motion long term rebirth in your life.
Happy season and may as we reach this point in the wheel six months from now as Beltane becomes Samhain and Samhain Beltane in our own part of the world, know health, happiness, laughter kindness and wisdom.
Welcome to May 2020
Happy month of May. And for those of you still suffering from the effects of the pandemic let this month mark the slow blossoming towards life and laughter one day not too distant. May is named after Maia, the Graeco- Roman maiden goddess of flowers, whose festival was in early May.
Flowers themselves take their name from Flora, Roman Goddess of Flowers whose festival, Floralia, lasted from 26 April and 3 May. She was called Khloris in the Ancient Greek tradition and was the wife of Zephyros, god of the West-Wind. Young people would collect baskets of flowers and children make tiny Flora images of flowers on May 1.
Wherever you live in the world use the growth energies of May for improving your general fitness and health, especially if like me you have spent long months indoors, Plan to make new friends, begin new ventures, connect with old friends with whom you can meet face to face and accept some friendships have run their course but were important and of worth.
Take time to visit a local town or beauty spot signposted off the road you speed along and say one day or explore your own location as a tourist.
Enrol for an activity you never thought you would dare.
The angel of May is Ambriel, Angel of dawn, wearing the colours of sunrise who brings and restores enthusiasm for life and for learning new things, for new love especially if your trust has been shattered and for dusting off creativity for the sheer pleasure or maybe to start a new career.
An excellent time for fertility especially if you have had difficulties and for making that career or study change previously consigned to the tomorrow of the right time. For this Maytime is the time, when the possibilities of even unwelcome change, kickstart a whole new growth journey away from a world that not only was shattered for some, but maybe had outgrown its purpose for others.
Channel the natural restlessness of those blossoms dancing the wind into a short spontaneous long weekend or staycation.
Nurture relationships temporarily dulled by routine or worries, that nevertheless are embedded in love and loyalty – share or regenerate the excitement stirring on the breeze.
For it may be that reworked, brought out into the light of day and decked with flowers, our lives already hold the blossoming possibilities of what we want and need to be rewoven into bright May garlands
This above all is the month of hope and belief, above all in ourselves and all that whatever our age we can still attempt and achieve .
Make a garland of different coloured flowers to decorate your home as a reminder of good times ahead and for each flower make a wish, some that will need all your power and optimism to fulfil. When they fade scatter the petals to the wind and watch the future dance. Some die but others go on to bear fruit and by June, month of wise Mother Juno, we will know they will with nurturing be fulfilled.