Happy Beltane! Bel-Who?
Belenos (“The Shining One” ) is a Sun God of Celtic mythology. Beltane, the Fire Festival that commences on May 1st and ushers in the season of Summer in the Celtic Wheel, is believed to have come from Belenos. We saw the first stirrings of Spring at Imbolc with Brigid and her healing fire; now, the Crone of Winter, Cailleach Beara, is driven fully underground. Beltane is the half-way point between the Spring Equinox and the Summer Solstice.
I celebrated the Beltane fire (also known as the “green fire”) on the cross-quarter day this year, which was May 4th, by tending a ceremonial fire for several hours on my friends Paul and Janet’s land. Another friend, Karen, joined me. We sang, cried, drummed, burned prayer bundles and just talked. Because of the Covid-19 restrictions, I actually had not seen her with my eye balls in some time. We, like a lot of folks right now, have been limited to Zoom or FaceTime chats but it’s just not the same as spending real-time with someone.
I arrived around 9:30 in the morning to this pristine piece of land, built my fire, and held the sacred space with Karen until about 3 PM, with a few bio-breaks and to do some reiki on Paul and Janet’s dog, Sage. It was windy, with a few gray clouds but mostly sunny. We listened to the call of Redwing Blackbirds, watched a gigantic Great Blue Heron circle the house, and witnessed a Coopers Hawk chase down one of those territorial Blackbirds. Paul divided up a few of his day lilies for Karen, who had brought bulbs for his garden and a bag of black oyster mushrooms for me. They were delectable later that evening with my lime-cilantro-tamari baked Haddock. I sautéed them in white wine and butter, with fresh kale and garlic.
There is one more thing we did: We offered prayers to the fire for the collective healing of the planet and asked that the fear around this virus to be transmuted. I tend to be sensitive to what the collective is feeling and have to be careful about where and how I expend my energy. It’s easy to pick up on fear and anxiety these days that isn’t yours! But, we all have a choice in where we direct our precious energy.
In times of crisis, and especially in such an unprecedented event like we are in now, it is critical that we remember we can control how we respond to stimuli, people, and society in general. When so much feels out of control, just knowing that you have a choice in how you react can quell some of the fear. Not only that, bringing consciousness around your response re-sets your parasympathetic nervous system and allows your executive function center to do what it’s supposed to: make clear, rational decisions from a place of flexibility, curiosity and creativity.
I know what you’re thinking: There doesn’t appear to be a whole lot of flexibility, curiosity and creativity going on right now. But you do have a choice. It’s not selfish to take care of yourself. Whether you agree or disagree with the mask-wearers or the mask-deniers, it’s okay. Just know that at the end of the day, your vitality will keep you healthy and your connection to what is truly important to you will keep you sane.
You are the only one who can decide what is best for you.