My homework for week 3 needed to be addressed, so I decided to write down my thoughts here, now.
Since my Hearth culture is Gaelic, more specifically Scottish Gaelic, I needed to look at some customs, both ancient and modern.
This is traditionally the beginning of the bright half of the year; personally I feel it begins at the Equinox, but, the light is NOTICEABLY different now. In general, this was a night of a thin veil, and from the Germanic cultures we have the association with Witches and evil things going bump in the night, Walpurgisnacht, a night of fear. Of course, May Day is a time of dancing the May Pole and general dancing and celebration.
Bealltainn was a time when the cattle were driven to pasture, through the fires to cleanse and bless them. It is a time of fear and uncertainty, for the cattle are as gold to the People, and they are put at risk driving them from the close-in pastures to their summer grazing. During the day, love and charms for it abounded.
In Edinburgh still is the Beltane Fire Festival, on Calton Hill, a riotous ceilidh extraordinaire with a Fire Procession witnessed by about 12,000 people. How I wish I lived in Edinburgh, my favorite city in the world! Fire has always seemed to be a part of this celebration. Fire in its cleansing, purifying, celebratory and passionate aspects, that is.
Since I was raised ‘Christian’ (my family very loosely called themselves such, although ‘nothing’ was a little closer to the truth) I grew up with Easter. It seemed grim and sad and rather schizophrenic, actually; on the one hand, there are eggs and bunnies and chocolate and hunts, and wild splashes of colour everywhere; and on the other, a grim spectacle of torture, suffering and tombs and miracles of rising from the dead. I don’t miss it. Well, now, I miss the baskets full of chocolate 😉 I have to be real here!
If the truth be known, I know it’s here in mundane ways. My boss, a Jew, celebrates Passover and he’s out of the office; Cadbury Eggs show up everywhere, along with Chocolate bunnies, and I’m a calendar watcher like crazy for budgeting and paying bills, so I’m usually excruciatingly aware of the date and day all the time.
I don’t really like this time of year, much. I’m a Winter person – I love the cold, I love the desaturated colours of the leaden sky, and how beautiful the trees are with their naked branches forming patterns against the sky. May-time is ALLERGY season and I have difficulty breathing, and it also reminds me that, as I grow older, I do not have a partner to share my life with. Nothing like Beltane, everyone focusing on love and love charms, and the Lord and Lady’s ‘Great Rite’ to ram that fact home.
But, all in all, there is beauty here, and quickening of life, and I still get caught up in the excitement of watching the trees bud out and the flowers come in waves of beauty.