Tomorrow, May 1, is Beltane– the Pagan festival of fecundity, the time of fertilization. In the old days, countrymen and women would lie together in the fields to encourage the beasts to bear, and the crops to grow strong and provide food for all. It didn’t matter whom you chose for a partner– on this day all boundaries ceased to exist, all ties were broken, all bets were off. What mattered was that you peformed this holy rite because if you didn’t, the people would starve.
Today, many in our puritanical Western culture find public displays of sexual affection lewd (and in some places illegal). But Beltane is still an opportunity to celebrate physicality, to rejoice in the body– animal body, human body, body of the Earth Herself– to worship the sensual in all its many manifestations. The whole of Nature thrills to this swelling, bursting, outpouring of pure love! We are seduced by buds on apple trees, bright and tender new grass, birdsong filling the morning and evening with hymns of praise and the joy of being alive, gentle breezes that caress our face and body, scents of loam and flowers, and movements of tiny insects scurrying from place to place as they rediscover mobility and purpose after winter’s cold. And color! Soft blush of cherry blossoms and deeper rose pink of hawthorn, royal purple of iris and yellow daffodils, periwinkle blue and forsythia gold– and above all green! Green— the color of life and hope!
Woman– the Divine Feminine– is the High Priestess of the sacred Beltane rites. Although we may identify as female, male, transgender, or other, we each carry this precious feminine energy inside us. So whether or not you choose to lie in the fields (with or without a partner), by all means do choose to honor the Divine Feminine in whatever ways you can imagine.
Ava Park, High Priestess of the Goddess Temple of Orange County, notes that Woman as Queen must care for herself, must enjoy herself, even pamper herself– for when She is fulfilled and content, the people prosper, the crops grow, all are fed and cared for, all is well in the Kingdom. No matter if your “kingdom” is an office, a classroom, a home, a vehicle, or someplace else, It will prosper if you care for yourself.
For many of us this is the most difficult thing we’ve ever tried to do. Considering how many years I’ve spent in the role of Woman-as-Caretaker, Woman-as-Worker, Woman-as-Mother-Daughter-Sister-Wife, Woman-as-Martyr I’m amazed I’m still alive to tell the tale! But that was expected of young girls back then– I would grow up, marry some nice man, and follow the protocol. No one EVER suggested that I pamper myself!
So, how do we do this? We may not be able to afford to visit an expensive spa, fly to the Bahamas, or buy an elegant gown. But we can and must devise some way of honoring the Goddess within. Perhaps lunch with our BGF, or a leisurely cup of coffee at our favorite coffee spot (in Berkeley mine was Original Peet’s, and here in Santa Fe it’s Downtown Subscription– I love their patio!). Maybe a solitary walk in a nearby park, or an afternoon spent reading a favorite book (with all the techno-wonders turned off). Maybe purchasing that lipstick or eyeshadow you’ve been wanting to try. Maybe bringing a special flower or bouquet into your home. (No matter how overwhelmed I may feel, when I bring fresh flowers for my altar and my favorite antique vase, I am instantly rejuvenated and inspired.) Maybe just a lovely, sensuous, candle-lit soak in the tub before bed, (If you choose this option, Sarva Soaps is the way to go!)
Whatever we choose to do, we must do it with a sense of the ritual meaning behind it.
I am Goddess. I am the Source of Life. All that I do to nurture myself nurtures others. I deserve this gift of reverence. I claim it. I open my arms and my heart and welcome it. I inhabit it.
Jose Stevens, of the Power Path, has a wonderful MP3 on Manifestation that offers a 4-step path to manifesting what you most deeply want in your life. I’ve tried it and it works! But manifestation practice (via MP3 or any other means) is not the secret. First we have to realize how holy we are. We are not slugs inching along an inexorable path towards death. We are not work-slaves. We are not procreation machines. We are so much more that any of these! We are Woman-and-Goddess! And as the Charge of the Goddess states,
Let My worship be in the heart that rejoices, for behold, all acts of love and pleasure are My rituals.
I honor those whose work has inspired me to write this blog: Starhawk, Doreen Virtue, Ava Park, and last but definitely not least, Jose Stevens.