Dearest monks and artists,
Beltane (which means bright fire) is another of the cross-quarter days, representing the mid-point between the vernal equinox and the summer solstice and it is often experienced at the height of spring. In Ireland it is considered to be the beginning of summer and the beginning of the light half of the year. We can feel the significant shift in light at this latitude and the days are becoming significantly longer. Temperatures are warmer. Flowering has come to its fullness. Birds are singing in full chorus.
In Ireland the cuckoo birds start arriving from their winter in Africa, and there are music and walking festivals named after its return.
The power of nature’s life force returning is celebrated. Two fires were lit and the sheep and cattle were brought to the summer pastures. It is a fire festival of fertility and garlands of flowers are made up in honor of the creative abundance beginning to stream forth from the land.
This time of year celebrates the rising sap, the fruitfulness of the earth and human beings, and all in the process of ripening toward fullness. We honor the life force at work in the world around us and within us.
Beltane is connected to the later Christian feast of Pentecost, that great celebration of the church coming alive and to full fruits. Fire and wind signal the Spirit breathing through the people and the land to inspire them in new ways.
(Excerpted from our Sacred Seasons yearlong journey through the Celtic wheel of the year. You can find out more and join at this link).
With great and growing love,
Christine Valters Paintner, PhD, REACE
P.S. For our Southern Hemisphere monks here is a link to a seasonal reflection for you >>
Photo © Christine Valters Paintner