Monday, April 30, 2012

Where's the maypole?



Today is the first day of the old pagan ritual we used to call Beltaine. It's the half-way point between spring equinox and summer solstice. This time of year was once celebrated with big bonfires, feasts, dancing around maypoles and lots of sex. At this time in spring, when the northern hemisphere is at its lushest and most fertile, the celebrations were intended to bring abundance to the land and the people. The people danced in shamanic alignment with the profusion of spring.

Beltaine is exactly six months before Halloween, arguably the two most powerful of the old holidays, for good reason. Agrarian societies in the old days couldn't pop over to the Whole Foods; if the crop was not abundant, they were screwed. So the time of planting as well as the time of harvest were crucial moments in the cycle. Of course we used to celebrate both. We still celebrate Samhain (Halloween), kind of.

Beltaine is one of the old celebrations we in contemporary America don't honor in some way. I think that's weird. Especially right now when our financial system is on the verge of collapse and we as a nation have fallen so far, a hearty, joyous Beltaine would really be an auspicious holiday to celebrate.

But as far as I can tell, folks will put on their dreary suits and faces tomorrow, march into the office. They are very dutiful and I admire the tenacity and focus it takes to work as hard as do the citizens of the District (in general). Also it makes me sad. We don't make space to be goofy and excessive, hence, we drink. Oh well.

The pics with today's post were taken yesterday afternoon at Lincoln Park. People were out and were relaxing in the green, but there was no joyful, unselfconscious celebration of fertility and creativity ongoing out there. I didn't even see any flirting. In terms of how one should behave at Beltaine, it was a pathetic show of restraint and maturity. Good lord.

Perhaps in Washington we are too busy to notice this turning point in the season. Who knows? In 21st century America, we are cut off from the agricultural cycle in every way. No wonder we don't tune in to the energy of the moment.

Right now I'm going to crank up the music and dance around until my clients arrive. I'll put a tealight on the floor and leap over it, to bless and purify my energy and the energy of all my relationships - family, friends, clients, the dead, my spirit guides, the mysterious ones, etc. Maybe I'll wear a flower in my hair. I will smile and laugh, because I definitely want to put it out to the universe that I would like an abundant harvest this year. Yes? I say YES!

Sigh. It's like swimming upstream here sometimes, I swear.

Happy Beltaine! May summer be beautiful and yield an abundance of joy and all good things for you and yours. L'chaim, y'all!


This person should be dirty dancing with someone. For heaven's sake!

8 comments:

Christine said...

This is how I will be celebrating Bealtine in Ireland
http://www.festivalofthefires.com/

ellen abbott said...

we live in such a prudish society.

Reya Mellicker said...

Wish I were there, Christine!

Ellen yes - at least here. In San Francisco, some of my friends tell me, there will be sex and pleasure and chocolate covered strawberries, dancing and leaping over cauldrons and merry making.

Sigh.

Pam said...

Happy Beltane Reya.
Our seasons are different of course, but the general adult lack of playfulness is the same unfortunately. People seem to be in financial survival mode here, meanwhile our government is reeling from several improprieties, one being the Federal "Speaker of the House" stepping aside due to sexual harrassment charges, so maybe the cavorting is alive and well!
Seasonally, rather than preparing for an abundant harvest, Natue is starting to slow down in my part of the word for winter. Autumn however is my favourite time of the year.

Reya Mellicker said...

Autumn is my favorite season as well. Happy Samhain, Pam!

The Cranky Crone, she lives alone! said...

Beltane Blessings Reya, all that matters is that you have the spirit to celebrate and mark the festivals! even though there will be fires I for one will not be jumping them, I could manage a tea light yay to the tealight jumpers!

Gary said...

Happy Beltaine to you as well. Interesting post. Odd that I took the day off today and then read your words. Maybe I have some internal understanding of need to celebrate or something.

I've only gone around the Maypole once and that was with you. Happy memories.

Reya Mellicker said...

It was a great party!