We step into the threshold of May with Beltain (often now seen as Beltane) bringing so much promise, so much potential and as we stand here on the threshold of May, a time of blossoms what will the month of May bring us this year? Will we leave May as we enter it? As we leave May will we leave our homes? Will our freedom return? This time has been so difficult for many and others have so enjoyed this freedom, this time with their families; time to be, to stop, to slow, to think, to draw, to write, to paint, to create, to fully immerse ourselves in our surrounding. To notice the bluebells as the primroses fade, their yellow fades into the sunset as the bluebells become vibrant across the woodland floor. I know so many have completely immersed themselves in their surroundings and seen the complete joy and wonder of all that is around that they don’t normally notice; normally too busy hurrying from here to there; to do this to do that. I hear so many people saying that the one thing they will take from this is to slow, to stop, to pause and if that’s all you take from this then what a blessing what an absolute blessing.
I find it hard to believe that this time last year many of us were gathered at Crystal Space in Silsden we danced around the labyrinth witnessed, witnessing, drumming, dancing, moving, swaying, singing, chanting. How can that have been but a year ago? In many respects in seems so long ago and the reason we walked the labyrinth we danced the labyrinth is that its something that is connected to Beltain, to this time of year and as we walk into the labyrinth taking our wish with us, pausing a while in the centre of the labyrinth a time to dream in a time to release a labyrinth is such an absolute magical being; it is a being it comes alive and the more a labyrinth is used the move alive it becomes. The one that I have, I made with my lively friend Bev and its been used many times at many gatherings. We had a lovely time making it in her garden in the sunshine, its not perfect there’s a tight corner to go round parts are wider than other parts but within the very making of our labyrinth is happy memories of sunshine and laughter and within our labyrinth now so many wishes so many dreams, so many releases, letting go, so many tears and laughter the power grows.
Labyrinths make me think of the beautiful golden labyrinths that Jackie Morris imprints on stones and leaves; leaves at the seashore, leaves at river’s edge. At the moment I so hanker for the sea and I love seeing her golden rock labyrinths at the seashore waiting to be taken who knows where and then I cannot mention a labyrinth without mentioned the wonderful Simon Cook who took me on a blindfold guided labyrinth a time of such beauty and magic and trust an experience that can never be re-created but an experience I would urge each and every one of you to take.
So why not take this opportunity at Beltain to create your own labyrinth whether its’ something you draw or paint or stitch or sow whether you create a temporary one outside whether you create a permanent one outside whether you create a small one and leave it as a magical gift just as Jackie does or whether you create a large one that you can walk upon or maybe your paint a rainbow one to meet with the current times the current theme of rainbows maybe one that people can take their fingers though just big enough to wind their fingers through as they walk past your house taking in with them a wish. If you are unsure how to draw a labyrinth you an find on the internet or follow the easy steps in this photo.
If you’re interested in celebrating these festivals of changing seasons of changing energy of changing life and death throughout the year then these books are wonderful books. I am a book fiend and would far rather feel the magic of a book in my hands then looking at a screen, although I know I’m asking you to look at a screen to read my words here.
I somewhat distracted myself down the spiralling round the labyrinth then, back to Beltain. Beltain was the time at school when we danced around the Maypole, I used to love doing that, it is a time of celebration, of being outdoors. A time of union, a time of potential, we can see it in nature as we look around us. We are in the peak energy of Spring, you an see how active life is all around us, birds nesting, seeds in our gardens, greenhouses and allotments growing. For those of who are able to go outside and have beautiful countryside within walking distance, we can see just our rampant growth has become, the bluebells I mentioned earlier, the ground is becoming just covered in green lushness, a visual of the potency, the potential, the creating of life in so many forms, in plants, in blossoms on the trees, the nesting birds, just so much life force happening in front of our very eyes. We event had courting bats outside our lounge window yesterday evening! It’s there if just we look for it, and it is right outside your window. Open the window wide and listen to the birdsong, listen to the trees in the wind, smell the rain as it hits the dry warm ground.
A great tradition at Beltain is to hang a ribbon on the branch of a tree to make a wish, or blessing, to thank the trees for their gifts, to thank Mother Nature for all she brings to us. If you’re unable to hang a ribbon on a tree right now, perhaps you have a plant in your house, or in your garden that you can tie a ribbon around. If you don’t have anywhere to tie a ribbon and would really like a blessing, or a message of thanks we have plenty of Hawthorn trees around us that would love to be honoured in such a way, just left me know and I will be honoured to make this gift on your behalf.
Beltain is a time of celebration of gathering, of joy and laughter and I know that that’s not so easy right now, but what about a Beltain Zoom(other options are available!) party with your friends or just dress up in something green on the day to celebrate the new greenery all around us and the Green Man. Or what a fabulous excuse to wear a crown or make a headdress of greenery and flowers. So many people are telling me that they are spending every day in leggings or joggers or similar and missing their finery, why not take this opportunity to dress up and celebrate. If nobody sees you it matters not, you will know and you will feel glorious in all your Beltain splendour.
Beltain is also a time of fire, last year we lit the cauldron and as we jumped, or carefully stepped over the fire sharing what we wished to be left behind. This can be done at home too, with care, if you are inside you can light a candle and step over it, if you’re in your flowing Beltain finery beware of the flame.
This is a time of year I love and I could go on forever, although this blog didn’t turn out as I had thought at all. I’ll just leave you with these few thoughts, if you would like to do something I would recommend checking out Glennie Kindred, she of the books above – here’s a link to her website too. http://www.glenniekindred.co.uk/ There are many others you could look up and read but she is my favourite.