Happy approaching 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.
The beginning of summer this year brings hope the pandemic will finally re-open the world to new growth and recovery.
At the same time we mourn at Samhain, the losses and destruction of war, even as we dance and cast ribbons and flowers towards the vibrant flower maiden of May and embrace the future and ask that destroyed cities may rise again.
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, despairing that humankind tears down the flowers of peace and yet rejoices in the growing grain that has survived to greet the rising year.
At Samhain in the Southern hemisphere, the beginning of the old winter, by soft candlelight into the flames, drop grains of rosemary for new life mingled with remembrance.
Those in the Northern hemisphere are at the same moment drawing from Beltane, the start of the ancient Celtic summer, future growth and dreams.
For the world still turns and we can and must weave and re-form what we need to solve and resolve our lives, replanting that grain trampled underfoot so it will revive in future times even as the wind carries away the fragile blossom in grieving showers.
As Beltane pulsates beneath our feet, in spite of grievous and grieving humanity, light two red candles and make them sparkle with salt to call better days. At the same time we 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.
Choice and change are not always easy to reconcile..
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 does not forget what the past 12 months have taught us about compassion being as powerful as competition and sharing resources and giving shelter to those dispossessed, softening too single-minded striving for success. For in the midst of suffering human kindness remains and grows fragrant in the summer flowers. For nature springs anew.
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 and that peace and understanding will grow in the world.
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 and new hope and the ending of war and hatred wherever they occurs in the world.
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, where through our efforts and keeping faith, we know health, happiness, laughter, kindness and wisdom and above all peace and rebuilding what has been trampled down.