May Day, or Beltane, is the most celebrated time of growth and passion. The history of the May 1 holiday brings forth a plethora of traditions, myths, and longstanding practices that continue to this day.
This time of year especially has a reputation for sexuality, due to the flowering of nature. In the musical "Camelot," Guinevere sings, "It's May, it's May, the lusty month of May! Those dreary vows that everyone takes, everyone breaks, everyone makes divine mistakes, the lusty month of May!"
In agrarian cultures, Beltane Eve fires would be lit the night before May Day in one main crop, on visible hills. The townspeople were encouraged to make love in the fields to ensure a good yield at harvest time. "Bel" is the name of the fire God, thus deeming this sabbat "Beltane" in Celtic lore. Dancing would commence at sundown and continue all night. Couples meaning to be married would jump over the fires for blessing. Others would jump over the fires too, since the higher the leap the higher their crops.
Beltane is the time of the stag's head, green man, or fertility god in marriage with feminine passion, nurturance, and the goddess. This great rite, which honors the marriage of the God and Goddess, includes consummating their union, either physically or metaphorically. Beltane Eve was a time to make love and celebrate passion. The horned God was revered on this night, thus the origin of the word "horny." It is the season when trees are budding, life is pouring forth, sap is rising in the trees, and all is ready to bloom and cultivate.
Drawing upon the inherent passion available in nature, May Day is a ultimate opportunity to discover or conjure that which inspires healing and pleasure, and act upon it.
On May Day proper, gather flowers in honor of your discoveries and celebrations. As with the day after any passionate experience there is an "afterglow." Revel in the peacefulness, the beauty, the breath, and the thrill. Tossing flower petals to the wind to see where they fly is a beautiful practice in letting go. Let go of that which you perceive as passion and let the next chapter begin!
Honor May Day by creating your own May Pole. It can be as small as a pencil or as tall as a tree. Decorate its crest by tying colorful ribbons at the top. Either on your own or with friends, take each ribbon, conjure what passion the color of the ribbon symbolizes and speak blessing in this vein of pleasure.
Most of all, just make time to get outside and breathe the air. Place a flower in your hair or moss or bark in your pocket. Notice sunlight and the fire within your belly. Smile at strangers and allow yourself to play.
This is a celebration of flowers and flirting. Pick or purchase a flower that seems to be flirting with you! Bring it home and put it in a central area where all can enjoy its beauty. Happy spring, happy merry-making, and a beautiful Beltane to all!
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