I have been following the Wheel of the Year for many years now and I have found a certain predictable unpredictability about tracking the seasons this way. There are 8 key points on the Wheel of the Year referred to most commonly as Sabbats. They occur about every 6 weeks and are often recognisable within other traditions and even within the secular calendar, Beltane is one of these.
Beltane marks the beginning of summer, heralding the ascending power of the sun god and the fertility that this brings. It is a fire festival but is also marked by other celebrations such as Morris dancing and the good old Maypole, all fertility celebrations that have survived the ages. Beltane is a time when life’s energy begins to really flow, the earth is beginning to green and all around us are signs of fertility and fecundity.
I’ve found over the years that with some of the Sabbats I feel called to create an opportunity to celebrate, a gathering of some kind or a special outing. At other times it seems that life presents these opportunities of its own accord. I can’t count the amount of times a special celebration or visit has coincided with one of the Sabbats and I have learned to keep my eyes open!
These weekend was one of these, many threads coinciding to create a hectic and celebratory energy. Our new motorbike arrived on Beltane itself (can you say fertility symbol?) and Stephen earned his bike license this same weekend. On Monday a special friend dropped by for a visit, something enjoyed by me and the children. The message of this Sabbat was clear – life is for enjoying!
It can be easy, with so much to do and keep up with, to feel out of touch with our inner selves or at least the way we would like to be. Energy flags, demands overwhelm and life can seem like a series of chores. The energy of Beltane can be like a tidal wave if we are not prepared for it and I have to admit even with years of experience I get caught out regularly! This week that energy sent me chasing to appointments and meetings with friends in quick succession, most of these were happy experiences but the pace has been a little frenetic. That surge of Beltane energy overtook me a little!
So now I am focusing on harnessing that energy (a little bit like lassoing a loose horse as it runs by) and channelling it into the projects I would like to see come alive. But Beltane and the energy it brings is a wild creature and that is to be respected. The god of sun reminds us that youth and fertility are short lived, the summer burns brightly and quickly and then it is gone. He is playful and mischievous at this time of year, but the deeper message is one we can all benefit from. Don’t let the true moments of love and celebration pass you by while you spend time planning and organising.
At this time the god of summer seems like a clear voice to me and he is saying “Live, love, kiss with wild abandon, run barefoot in the sunshine and laugh whenever you can. Chase the moments and let your heart be free.” It is certainly a message I need to hear.
So if you find your plans falling apart, or are frustrated by a lack of order and predictability know that the spirit of Summer is at work in your life. He is telling you to look up and feel the sunshine on your face (and in your heart) and don’t take life too seriously. That way we are never afraid to be overtaken by the joy of the moment.
The beginning of summer is here!