I hadn’t planned on doing anything for Beltane this year. I’m a thousand miles away from the people I celebrate with, and we don’t usually celebrate Beltane. Instead, I went to the beach to walk in the water, feel the breeze and sun on my skin, and listen to the surf and shore birds.
Several years ago, I struggled with why Samhain resonated with my being, while Beltane basically left me cold. At that time, I reframed Beltane from “sex in the woods” (not that there’s anything wrong with that) to a mirrored relationship with Samhain that sung to my soul.
At Samhain, we look to the past (our Ancestors) and bring their wisdom into the present. We look into the face of the certainty of death and the uncertainty of the beyond. At Beltane, we look to the certainty of life and the uncertainty of the future. We take the risks to move consciously forward into our future.
Last year, I hosted a maypole working that focused on embodying the elements of creation and weaving the magic of manifestation. What I learned at the Center, holding the pole so it would not topple as it was pulled in different direction, was that we hold in our hands the power of awareness, within our heart the yearning for balance, and within our Will the ability to set and keep to a course of action.
The beach was almost empty; the tide was rising; and the sand was soft beneath my feet. The Beatles’ song “Strawberry Fields” was looping in my internal radio. I found unbroken shell in the sand. At some point, all the sensations from sea, sand, and sun welled up around me, and I just had to do ritual.
Just beyond the upper reach of the waves, I inscribed a three-circuit labyrinth in the damp sand. I breathed to ground and center myself before stepping in. As I walked the labyrinth, I asked myself, “What do you weave into your life?” When I reached the center, I began to turn to face each direction “Earth Air Fire Water Spirit” became “Yod Heh Shin Vau Heh” as I called in the elements of creation into the center of my soul. I spoke words of creation out to each of the directions and then I settled down in the center to enter a light trance as I sang to and watched the waves.
“What do you weave into your life?” At Beltane, I am always reminded that I am an agent can act effectively in this world. It is my birthright and my duty to be who and what I am — a co-creator with the Great Divine, God Herself, the Heart of the Universe. Rather than lie back and let myself be thrown this way and that by life, I can pick myself up and weave together the threads of existence to create opportunities and take advantage of them. I can help myself and others. I am not helpless and passive. While sometimes we need to just “be,” there are other times when we need to “do.” And at Beltane, I remember that I have the right to be and the power to do — all to take the risk of stepping fully, consciously, and intentionally into my future.
To mark this remembering, I inscribed a pentacle in the sand at the center of the labyrinth and sealed the experience into my body. Then I walk out and away back into ordinary time and space.