Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Today is Beltane!

Today is Beltane! (Okay, if you're title impaired that might have been useful).

Beltane, for those of you who don’t know, is a pagan holiday of fertility. Now, for the record, the actual interpretation of this is quite literal, but I like to think that it is fertility of many things: ideas, businesses, new ventures, anything you wish to grow. It is about beginnings.

Now I know many of you reading this blog are devote Christians/Jews/Muslims/followers of the old gods, so I just want to put it out there that celebrating a holiday does not make one immediately another religion. Seriously, if you’re British and in the US for the fourth of July, a hot dog off the grill isn’t going to make your UK citizenship shrivel up and die. The same is true for holidays.

I put out this disclaimer because I know a lot of people who could really benefit from the catharsis of a Beltane fire. You see, since this is all about beginnings, you take all of the things from the past that have held you down: bills, rejections, old manuscripts, evil critiques (they do exist), and pretty much anything else that has hurt you or held you back. Then you burn them (I told you it was cathartic).

Then, while gazing out over the effigy of your pain, you make a wish for your new beginning, and jump over the fire.

Ta-da! Beltane.

Traditionally, you’re supposed to dance, drink and be merry, but I recommend making your wish and jumping the fire before one gets too involved in the May Wine…

Oh, and if you have a really small apartment or what not, most parks allow you to have a contained fire, so you can always burn stuff in a big soup pot, they clean up afterwards with only minor damage to the pot.


  1. Emerging Visions visionary art 'zine #22


    In celebration of Earth, our Gifting Gaea has emerged.
    Share our Gift; Enjoy our Earth; Blessed Be

    Sense caressing meadow
    Green grain and brilliant petals
    Lovely buzzing, lively hopping
    Warm, yellow light at play
    Luscious wash of pleasure
    Fragrant, rolling, mellow
    Miles of flowering moments
    Celebrate today

    Imagine May Day

    Brazen witches fly, legends say,
    dark Moon nights; arise, stealthy, silent
    in their joyous revelry.
    Bonded to Earth's creation;
    learning at mother's breast
    to manage life's gifts and lessons.

    Historic Man may proclaim, may murder
    for fealty, to swear allegiance to
    their hunt's command.
    They may elevate their One True King
    to kneel and obey. They may employ
    counting measure, ceremony and sacrifice,
    taunting and torture or other trials
    thus finding for each loyal swan a pond
    to plunder, to parade in royal colour,
    their place of pride.

    Cruelty descends, more master than tactic;
    it is the enemy of joy, of flavor,
    bonding, works of love and honor.

    Yet men, on real ground, work companions
    to soil and rain, engineers trained to each
    moment's urgencies, philosophers of stone and mud,
    reason and toil, persist. Their sinew and bone feed
    the ages, build clay and richness on which
    wealth relies.

    Wisdom knows the sweat of practiced movement,
    flexible to unexpected obstacles, able to modulate
    quiet or loud as the crowd ebbs
    or grows in credulity.
    Where wisdom seeps through, counters
    prevailing poisons, invigorates blood to nourish
    minds and hearts, look there for blessing.

    Arise, lovers! Bring forth better days,
    ours to play in open revelry,
    neighbors enjoying shared labors and our fruit.
    Accept truth of magic; imagine life into this world.

    Beltane 2012

  2. Such a good idea! Of course, I would suggest dancing, fire, THEN drinking, as opposed to, say, fire, drinking, dancing, which could end up with you IN the fire during the dancing depending on how much drinking you do.

    Not that I've ever fallen in a Beltane fire or anything.

    But I'm sure it's happened.

    It happened to that one dude on Survivor that one time, even. Though it wasn't Beltane and I don't think he was drinking. He just fell in a fire.

    But I'm sure the drinking and dancing is sure to up the likelihood by at least 50%.

    1. Falling in the Beltane fire is one of the many traditions of the young and uninitiated. Though I can honestly say, no one fell in this year. It was actually a pretty modest affair that only involved the burning of a few very important things (images of ex-boyfriends, some rejection letters and a copy of a rejected version of a certain dissertation) but no people. I'm glad because my job is always to explain things to the authorities...

      Although nothing will ever be quite as entertaining as the tradition at one of my universities where they burned couches in the street during finals week. Two brave (and I mean brave in the imbibing liquid courage kind of brave) individuals were jumping over the couches from opposite sides. They collided midair and landed in the fire. Both suffered some burns (and the loss of a lot of hair), but were not badly injured... Ah yes, those were the days, when our furniture was so awful the only decent end to it was a pyre.

    2. There is no courage like the courage of the drunk.


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