Rose’s latest vlog for the Wheel of the Year looks at May and looks at Beltane and its importance to the Celts.
So here I am, in the month I wait for all winter – the merry month of May. I’m standing on the edge of the bluebell woods. You can hear, in the background, the steam trains. Below me is the river and beyond that is the yard where the
steam trains come and go. Representing the age of man and machine. It was the beginning of the industrial age that destroyed so much of what was so green and quiet and beautiful on the emerald islands we call home.
Today, I’m going to take you down into one of my favourite, most magical places. In the woods, there is a celebration of May and the beginning of the time of the faeries. So May was always heralded with a massive ritual
of celebration and fire festival to celebrate the coming of the great God of Fire, Bel. Beltane, I love the name, its like the banging of a drum.
Here, as I’m moving slowly into these ancient bluebell woods, I’m reminded of what is gentle, what is really sacred,
what remains and how nature valiantly, where she is allowed to, unfolds and puts on her best frock. and dazzles the eye.
At Beltane, the Celts would light fires. and they would send their animals through the smoke. It was believed it was a cleansing ritual. Beneficent forces would then take care of the animals,
village and land.
The Celts also believed in gratitude. They believed that ingratitude created a kind of dark morass and pushed you through the veil in to the darkness. Bitterness, fear, resentment, anger and evil would only lead down the dark tunnel.
So, there was a great thanksgiving in May – a great celebration of fertility, renewal and re-birth. of life and flowers and the stars and the sun and the birds and all the wonderful things of this incredible world that we live in. All is held within, what the ancients called, Anima Mundi, the world soul, of which of course, we are all a part.
It was Parmenides who coined the term Amina Mundi and they could see the soul of the world encapsulated in the
galaxies and the earth herself, a living being. As it is said, everything is alive and magic is afoot.
When you watch nature, you can see that it is perfectly OK and that life is always born again in a new form. Each bluebell here is brand new growing from the bulbs and the roots of its ancestors. The earth is alive and magic is afoot.
As the days get longer, our energy increases. By midsummer, its hard to sleep sometimes. Life is calling us, calling us. Here, all I can smell is moss and garlic, leaves and clean air given by the trees, breathing out. Thank god for May – a wonderful, wonderful month.
For as long as anyone can remember, the women especially, would dance around the maypole. Weaving together a multi-coloured braid to represent the web of life. There were great celebrations of this fertility and vigour of life. There were many handfastings and marriages and conceptions of children. It was believed that if a child was conceived on May Day, they would have certain magical abilities. They would be blessed.
What more can I say about this extraordinary month. It always fills me with so much hope after the long winter and the grey and the dark. Surrounded by the new hope of nature, by the magic, by the eternal. By that which comes and goes and comes and goes and comes and goes. God bless this beautiful earth.