Beltaine

The east is bright with morning light,
And darkness it is fled;
And the merry horn wakes up the morn
To leave his idle bed.

Behold the skies with golden dyes
Are glowing all around;
The grass is green, and so are the treen,
All laughing with the sound.

The sun is glad to see us clad
All in our lusty green,
And smiles in the sky as he riseth high
To see and to be seen.
William Gray

Oddly enough, I would say Beltaine is right about on time this year in New England—perhaps even a bit early!  All the signs are in place, from flora to fauna to meteorological. It’s a clear day here in central Massachusetts, after some heavy spring rains yesterday. The sun was practically begging for us to come out and play, so I packed up the Boy on my back this morning and we went for a long tour of the conservation land surrounding our community. Everything smelled wet and fresh in the woods, with the acidic tang of decomposing leaves. We had sightings of:

  • a great blue heron
  • a salamander
  • two garter snakes
  • several chipmunks
  • fresh deer droppings (although no deer)
  • first dandelion flowers
  • first skunk cabbage
  • a pair of hooded mergansers
  • peas and spinach are sprouting in the raised beds

Between the activity of the animals and the wide variety of plants popping up, I’d say that high Spring is definitely here!

Beltaine was one of the holidays that I have a harder time wrapping my head around.  In addition to the fact that I wasn’t really into the whole fertility thing back when I started working the Eight-Spoked Wheel, the hotter days are when I begin to have trouble connecting to the Otherworlds.  Beltaine marks the last time when that sort of journey work flows easily—and the last ride of the Wild Hunt as well.  This isn’t to say Otherworldly travel is now impossible, however I rely much more heavily on my guides and allies during the warmer months.

But after having struggled and trod around in circles trying to get excited for May Day, I think I’m finally starting to get it.  I started “getting it” back in college, since my school held a huge May day celebration each year, complete with a Maypole (and a Mayhole, for the feminists), hoop races, plays, music and song.  It was, in fact, the last hurrah before finals.

Now, living in co-housing, I manage to take joy in others’ bustling actives within our community, and I’m able to start losing myself in the work of tending the garden.  There’s compost to be turned and trellises to be repaired.  Beltaine marks the end of the inward times, and welcomes community activity and interaction.

So really it’s time to shed some clothes, put on some sunshine and sink our hands into the soil.

The hunt is up!

—A.V.

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