Ephemera: Beltane 2021: Thoughts & Ideas For You

Beltane is fast approaching, as we look forward to 1 May in the northern hemisphere. In Wales we call it Calan Mai.

This festival is usually commemorated with bonfires, maypoles, dancing, and performing other rituals.  And, as well there is a couple of English videos that you might like to watch.

“A little Madness in the Spring
Is wholesome even for the King.”
–  Emily Dickinson 

Ancient Celts used to light two bonfires. At one bonfires they believed the would purify themselves, as well as increase fertility in the world. At another bonfire they would pass cattle between them, and they belief they would would purify the cattle, and ensure the fertility of the herd. Although many modern Celtic doesn’t do the ritual, as you will see something similar that will encourage you to do some relevant practice.

Here is how you might like to do something close for Beltane (and there are a couple of videos that will show you Beltane being used in England), such as:

  • how about you use google for a photo of a maypole of (usually girl) children on the alter, and imagine it for five or ten minutes, and maybe use imagine yourself as part in it, or watching it close by. Here is a video of young children using a maypole in England: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ncIAdeQGxoo
  • you might like to use one small flower to plant a little cup of water to think of nature, ecology and fertility.  
  • maybe you might like to spend 30-60 minutes for a walk in a forest or city park etc.
  • you might like to read a poem, such as

There is no time like Spring,

When life’s alive in everything,

Before new nestlings sing,

Before cleft swallows speed their journey back

Along the trackless track –

God guides their wing,

He spreads their table that they nothing lack, –

Before the daisy grows a common flower

Before the sun has power

To scorch the world up in his noontide hour…

(Christina Rossetti, by ‘Spring)

  • you may might celebrate a small altar (maybe with a small cloth, a candle, a small posies of yellow flowers) 
  •  maybe you might like to use a prayer for Beltane, one below here, or one of yourself:

Creator God, forgive our moments of ingratitude, 

the spiritual blindness that prevents us 

from appreciating the wonder that is this world,

the endless cycle of nature, 

of life and death and rebirth. 

Forgive us for taking without giving, 

reaping without sowing. 

Open our eyes to see, 

our lips to praise,

our hands to share, 

and may our feet tread lightly

on the road that, together, we travel.

(Copyright © John Birch, 2016 · Prayer written when copied freely for worship).

Conclusion

Do have something special for Beltane for yourself – have a liturgy or prayer, an altar, a meditation or imaginational time for a few minutes, or use the time in the forest or city park for a small time to celebrate this time of Beltane.

Many blesses, Tadhg.

Home, The Land, Energy & Us: Home As Sacred Space

20180105 HOME THE LAND ENERGY AND US HOME AS SACRED SPACE

‘The least movement is of importance to all nature. The entire ocean is affected by a pebble.’ Blaise Pascal

In France there is a delightful word, terroir (pronounced tair-rwah) and it is the sum of all landscape features such as soil composition, valley or mountain terrain, crop growth habits and farming practices, that affect crops for wine growing. And, so landscape affects the taste and ‘body’ of each bottle of wine (though terroir can be applied to coffee, tobacco, chocolate, chili peppers, hops, tomatoes, heritage wheat, maple syrup, and tea). Minor landscape changes do, it seems, affect that crops outcome.

But, this isn’t an article about wine or tea etc, but about the way the land affects us, and how we affect the landscape or close environment, energetically. There is an interconnectedness, that we sometimes miss because we take it for granted or because it is ubiquitous. The landscape, or land affects us and we affect the landscape – whether we’re thinking about rural areas, urban areas or our homes.

‘The connection to place, to the land, the wind, the sun, stars, the moon… it sounds romantic, but it’s true – the visceral experience of motion, of moving through time on some amazing machine…’ Antoine Predock

In ‘A Celtic Way Of Seeing’, a wonderful book by Frank MacEowen, he talks of the eastern quadrant of the Irish Spirit Wheel, and how the energy of the hearth-keeper, the householder is evident there in a house. It is the perception of Celts, Druids, ancient tribes and those aware of the Sacred Earth.

But, if energy within a house is blocked then those in the house may suffer as they take on no energy or absorb negative energy. Haven’t we all been in places, homes or old or external places that ‘feel’ gloomy or lifeless, or places where ‘you could cut the air with a knife’?

Similarly, those who have some negativity in their psyche or ‘core’ may affect the environment or the house. Haven’t we all ‘felt’ places that seem abandoned because of negativity, a loss of interest, or an imbalance that devalues nature, the environment or a particular premises?

‘Round like a circle in a spiral, like a wheel within a wheel
Never ending or beginning on an ever-spinning reel…’

‘The Windmills Of Your Mind’, (Song). Written by Alan Bergman & Michel Jean Legrand.

There is an energetic circularity where an individual (or group) can affect the local environment, and in turn, the local environment (locale, premises, house) can affect an individual – either negatively or positively.

How we define or perceive that energy or power will depend on our viewpoint, but I would suggest that we, at least, think of ‘it’ as more than just an electric force-field, but as part of the loving fabric of the Universe, The Source of All, That Which Is Bigger Than Us, as having personality and more.

‘…Someone touched me; I know that power has gone out from me.’ Luke 8.46b The Book

It can be a ‘downward’ spiral of energy, or an ‘upward’ of positive energy. It’s the later that I would encourage.

So for instance, how do we encourage positive energy within our homes?
How about an ‘Abundance Altar’ or space: and include a candle that you can light periodically and gaze at or perform a ritual at, and don’t forget to include representational items like a photo of some good friends (if you’re seeking more friends or deeper friendships), a small coin (for fiscal wealth), a bag of grain (for a good harvest) etc. Or use this space, when thinking of someone else’s wealth or use it to give gratitude for abundance.

‘An altar is like an airport where spirits take off and land.’ Steven Chuks Nwaokeke

A Healing altar or space for yourself or another for healing (or to give thanks for healing) might ‘lift’ your home. That space might include a candle (and yes, I do like candles so they’ll be frequent ‘tools’, and also the lighting and extinguishing of them is also good to denote entering and leaving sacred space-time). But, such spaces might include, also, the photo of a loved-one if healing because of bereavement is needed (and my encouragement even then, if you can,  is to be as positive as you can in affirming and giving thanks for that person’s earthly life), a small green plant to denote life and growth, or a band-aid to represent ‘repair’, or anything that means something deep to you.

And a…person shall take hyssop, and dip it in the water, and sprinkle it upon the tent, and upon all the vessels, and upon the persons that were there, and upon him that touched a bone, or one slain, or one dead, or a grave… Numbers 19.18 The Book

One more? How about a Purification altar or space? This could include…yes, a candle. But, maybe a small hyssop twig (a symbol of purification), or indeed any twig, that can be dipped in a small bowl of water, and used to ‘flick’ sacred water, or burn an incense stick or a sage-stick or smudge-stuck (bundle), or place a feather on the table etc. For more ideas do see Denise Linn’s book: Altars: Bringing Sacred Shrines Into Your Everyday Life.

Ofcourse these are just a few ideas – we’ll return to this idea over the next few weeks. How you use these altars or sacred spaces will depend on your background and requirements – they can be used as places to have there to energise the house, or as places to gaze or meditate upon, as places to go ‘inward’, or as places where you can perform a small ritual. There is power and potential here, so often neglected in our daily lives.

And, ofcourse, because of that connectedness, that circularity, our attitude and wellbeing also affects it – and so there is encouragement to you (and that includes me) to meditate on positive things, to read good books and poetry, and to look for the good, to give gratitude in all things. And, to remember, never to neglect the day of small things.

Our homes are an expression and an extension of our minds and hearts. Inner clutter and discord is expressed as clutter and discord in our homes.’ Frank MacEowen. De-clutter as a spiritual practice and opportunity.