It’s May: the month of yes you may!
Yesterday was May Day and memories filled my mind of making may baskets with my mom & siblings out of whatever came to hand. We’d fill the old fruit baskets, or construction paper cones, with popcorn, small candies & sticks of wrigley’s gum, with some violets to represent the spring, we’d plan who got each one. Then we’d run through the neighborhood, ringing the bell & leaving a basket, then running away as quick as the wind, sort of hoping to be caught & kissed. Later, my daughters, dancing ’round the may pole in the hippie town of Woodstock, all backed by the soaring sound of Julie Andrews in the musical CAMELOT singing verses in the lush British spring proclaiming “the lusty month of may” in honor of the Beltane fires that burned upon that cross-quarter day. All things bright & beautiful: a reminder of the goddess at play.
Flower wreaths crown maiden heads & young bucks run races on swift feet & coupling seems more imminent than on any other date. The babies born at Imbolc considered a blessing directly from the goddess. I wonder at times about our Jesus, the Savior, the son of god incarnate, & if he was truly a child conceived with the blessings of the goddess, in a holy ritual, on a date lost to history, as I look into the wise eyes of Mother Mary.
I gaze at this postcard of Madonna & Child from the Byzantine 10th century, picked up in Venezia on a journey through northern Italy. I wonder at her foresight, to bring the goddess’ teachings forward, to help the light live on despite patriarchal treachery. Her bright eyes, large & darkly lustrous, knowing more than common folk about the plans & hopes of god & goddess, her long fingers gently hold the baby who is king enough to frighten the Roman guards, the stability of the Jewish caliphs, & the sturdy church she’d rock & shake just by having this blessed baby whose golden halo implies his spiritual awareness.
The symbols of May Day, the sacred purple flowers with their sweet blessed aroma, bring us remembrance of the union of goddess, human & nature. This union, of course, is always there, but at certain times of year that feeling is more alive, easier to notice & share. Perhaps a louder vibration or more aspects of sacred come alive, and May Day, or Beltane, is one of those special times. The bright heat & color of flowers & nature’s strong vibration of conceptive lust to live on & procreate, another generation at least, another chance to find solutions, to birth a Savior or King! That we birth not only babies but the ideas they carry with them, to re-focus on how we live together with each other & this planet. I know not everyone agrees on the path we ought to follow; if we could just open up to hear one another & not be forced by big oil or Monsanto! It’s time to leave behind the patriarchal paradigm of “more is better” & “drill drill drill” shifting to a simpler model of nourishment on all levels. We know to reuse, reframe, recycle but perhaps it’s even more important to create what we need at home, with friends, rather than depend on factories in China, and to share the foods we have right here rather than off-season organic from Argentina or Chile?
I and my friends like our comforts, it’s true, and travel by plane is totally common (unlike when I was a child) to see new lands or visit old friends or stay in touch with family, but it’s come time to settle on down or become creative with our fuels. There are too many of us to burn fossils to get home; perhaps a horse carriage or oxen cart will be an alternative solution and keep us from living so far apart from the loved ones in our circle. The power of the wind from the planet’s turning, the tides & waves of the sea, these are more likely energies in our post fossil fuel economy. And keeping the chemicals from our food, water & soil more important than ever as young mothers carry toxic loads & pass on asthma & allergies to their newborns. We have problems of major proportion if we want to survive but we also have the solutions: our DNA wants us to thrive!
So tuning in to May Day rites, the rhythms of the year, the love that Jesus & the goddess taught, the music of the spheres, can help us find the path of heart to save our earthly world. As we say about Jesus “he came to save us all” and perhaps we can continue with, “we came to save ourselves.” It is our turn to save ourselves from despotic corporate interests and stop chasing the energy dollar & return to survival investments. Not the fast-paced techy toys or pseudo-entertainment or gas guzzling accessories to life but dirty fingernails, grubby faces enjoying our garden’s delicacies. A child’s sweet smile, a gurgle & laugh, all the healing needed to rid ourselves of the curse of our time & its over medicalization.
And so Beltane, or May Day as it is more commonly known, where in Germany they still enjoy a day off from work & a fireman climbs a specially chosen pole & places a wreath of flowers over the pole’s great height: a symbol of the union of god & goddess & light.
We may not climb a pole, or even dance around one, nor feel the urgency of a buck seeking a rut or a maid with flowers & visions of prince charming, but our souls are still reminded to enjoy the sensual seduction of spring. To play in the dirt of your fertile garden be it earth, or paint, or song; to feel your skin kissed by the newly warm sun, or by the heat of steam or sauna; to breathe deeply of pine green air or the aroma of lilacs & body oils. The gift of Beltane is the gift of life, the essence of our senses.
The simplicity of a child’s laugh, the smell of baby on my sweater, the stretch of my muscles in a yoga pose after their long winter’s slumber. Find the beauty in each day & forgive the dirty dishes, take time to notice the brilliance of All That Is in May’s forgiving weather~
Now that I’ve rung your bell, chase & give me a kiss!