Beltane is a great Celtic festival although it’s highly likely that it has its roots drawn down to a far longer distant past. My imagination has always been stirred by far earlier peoples.
At Beltane, the life-giving forces of the land are honored as it manifests within the land and people, yet that energy can take many forms throughout our lives. Here in the foothills of the Appalachians, the land is experiencing the great greening and I take a hammock and go head into the trees to listen to the song of the forest.
The wheel of the year is a lived experience drawing in folklore and ancestral memories which helps to make sense of the world. The wheel is an ancestral soul path, a pilgrimage around the year through the great festivals and yet the meaning of those holy days has morphed and changed through time.
At Beltane I put on a mask, inspired by the mask of Star Carr, a culture which existed at the end of the ice age and could hold a pattern of belief handed down by those who visited Britain in the summer months with the greening of the tundra as they followed great herds of reindeer and wild horses across the land.
Our modern society has herded us, sedates us and tries through a vast array of distraction and addictions to keep us from hearing the call of the wild. If we were to heed that call of the wild we’d find the old stories and ancient ways to know life wasn’t always like this. Patriarchy didn’t always exist. My Beltane takes me to wild places, islands off the West Coast of Scotland – wild places where I can re-wild my imagination, re-envisage this modern life and take ancient inspiration and weave it into my life in ways which resist the psychological smog patriarchy would prefer we lived in.
Red Deer Skull Headdress from Star Carr, Yorkshire, UK
Beltane can invite us to take off our socially acceptable mask, to listen to the plants under our feet, the calls of the birds and animals and step into relationship with the world. To watch the land painted in a wash of twilight which brings out the magic and mystery. To wear the mask of our wild self, to step between the worlds and see through the eyes of the Bean Feasa, the wise woman and offer gestures of ritual to that relationship. To weave
This is my Beltane to step into my wild self, re-imagine myself, celebrate my relationship with the world. To dance what is my heart’s desire, the worlds’ desire for if we don’t dream these dreams we can’t take the steps that are required to get there. This world needs our imagination more than ever!
What is your gesture of ritual this Beltane?
I will be launching ‘Sisterhood of the Antlers’ a creative journey around the Wheel later this year – click on the logo above to be added to the mailing list to get some travel updates as we head to Scotland and be first to hear when the new course launches