For someone not necessarily attuned with nature, I feel very aware of the turning of the year and the timing of the ancient celebrations makes a lot of sense to me. I am always very ready to celebrate life and wellness when May comes, and so I understand why this time of year was set aside for those very things. I am also a May baby, so this month is of particular importance to me for that reason as well.
Christina at Witchvox writes: ”Beltane marks the passage into the growing season, the immediate rousing of the earth from her gently awakening slumber, a time when the pleasures of the earth and self are fully awakened. It signals a time when the bounty of the earth will once again be had. May is a time when flowers bloom, trees are green and life has again returned from the barren landscape of winter, to the hope of bountiful harvests, not too far away, and the lighthearted bliss that only summer can bring.” And when I can think and feel clearly, between the sneezes of allergy season, I feel this. It makes me understand why students start to get restless – yes, the end of the school year is near, but more deeply rooted in them, their souls are resonating with the new life, and they want to be free, not confined by walls and books and assignments. As my own semester of study winds down, I know exactly how they feel.
This time of year makes me very aware of how far we as a society have strayed from following our natures and our spirits. While I want nothing more, on the spirit level, than to be outside and carefree, I stay inside, full of stress and exhaustion. And that’s the problem. Even when we can feel the pull of nature telling us to go outside, go for a walk, light a candle, watch the sunset, we tell ourselves we can’t. We say that there are too many other things we have to do, and then we spend an hour on Facebook, or watching television, or doing something else that we don’t need to do, but just do, absently, because it’s there.
My goal for this month is to spend more time listening to the inner voice telling me what I want to do, rather than just doing what’s there. While I can’t abandon the very real modern day demands of work, class, internship – I can be more in tune with myself in the other hours of my day, when I am free to do what I will, and rarely do. Maybe I will find myself spending more time on the porch, or going for walks, or doing nothing at all. Maybe I will find more mindful ways to do the mundane tasks that I have to do. Or maybe I’ll just turn off some of the chatter and find a little more peace.
What will you do to honor the merry month of May?
I wanted to write a post for the solstice, so I was wandering around the internet and found this great remembrance from Petrarch of the women bathing in the river at midsummer to wash away the tragedies of the coming year. If only we could…
In some ways, the summer solstice feels more like the coming of new year to me than the winter solstice. Perhaps it’s because I’ve spent so much of my life on a “school year” schedule, where June means that you are promoted to the next year of study, to begin in the fall. Or maybe it’s just that the world is so alive at this time of year, and in December, it’s hard to remember that things are just dormant, not dead.
Take a moment today to wash away whatever is holding you back from the coming year – we may not be able to stop the tragedies by washing them away, but we can always rebirth ourselves into a new way of seeing the world. Why not today, on one of the most celebratory days of the year?
Someone asked me the other day what it is about Easter that appeals to me so much. And my answer was rebirth. Yes, as a baptized and confirmed Catholic, it’s always been about resurrection, but as a mystic (and I do more and more think that’s what I really am) it’s about that, and more than that. At Passover, the celebration is life saved and freedom gained. At Easter, the celebration is resurrection and forgiveness of sins. But as we celebrate all of these things in the early spring, what unites them is rebirth. What brings us bunnies and eggs is the aliveness of nature in the springtime, reawakening as the sun warms the ground and the plans uncurl. And a chance to begin again. Why do we hide the eggs, or the afikomen? So that we can root out what’s hidden, bring it to light, and start fresh.
Happy Easter, Chag Sameach, Blessed Eostre, and Welcome Spring!
“I come to you with strange fire, I make an offering of love, the incense of my soil is burned by the fire in my blood. I come with a softer answer to the questions that lie in your path. I want to harbor you from the anger, find a refuge from the wrath.
This is a message of love. Love that moves from the inside out, love that never grows tired. I come to you with strange fire.” ~Indigo Girls
Easter brings out the Catholic in me – but it also brings out the pagan in me. There’s a love of ritual that is awakened with the birth of spring, and the Easter vigil.
Someone asked me to make plans for the night of the Easter vigil, and out of nowhere, my soul said no. I have to go to church. This is something that I don’t say to people very often, because, well, I don’t really go to church.
But the Easter vigil, where the greens of last year are burned and the new fire is blessed, where the paschal candle is blessed with fire and water, where we begin in the dark and welcome back the light – this is ritual at its best.
Ritual is why I loved being a Catholic for so many years. Ritual is why I am drawn to ancient rites and historical holy places and times. Ritual makes me feel whole again, cleansed, and complete and part of something much bigger than myself.
And once a year, no matter where I am, no matter what my journey has brought in the interim, I need to spend two hours immersed in this familiar and powerful ritual. I can’t wait for next Saturday.
This is powerful…and resonates for me a lot