May-time in Ireland is a truly magnificent event in time. The natural world bursts forth from its period of hibernation and inner growth. Everywhere the fertility and fecundity of the earth is visible and the sense of aliveness throughout the country-side is palpable. This year the hawthorn tree (so closely associated with May and Bealtaine) was spectacular, the branches drenched and heavy with white and pink flowers. As always in May, the translucent light green leaves of the beech trees shimmered creating an aura of magic everywhere. In May-time a special newness and un-wornness pervades the natural world ……it is like the tress and hedges have re-invented themselves. It seems that in May-time we, humans, notice the natural world more intensely like the way we notice everything when we are in Love.
Perhaps Patrick Kavanagh wrote the following words in May
“O unworn world enrapture me
In a web of fabulous grasses and eternal voices by a beech tree
Feed the gaping need of my senses
Give me ad lib to pray unconsciously with overflowing speech
For this soul needs to be honoured with a new dress woven from green and blue things and arguments that cannot be proven” (Canal Bank)
The Festival of Bealtaine, which occurs around the full moon in May, is the second most important festival within the Celtic year calendar. It stands diametrically opposite the festival of Samhain which occurs around Halloween and is the entrance in winter and a time dominated by darkness. The festival of Bealtaine is the gateway into the bright half of the year, into a time of light and outwardly focused action. Both of these festivals and seasons offer different experiences creating the reality of our lives. Neither season is better or worse than the other since both are an integral part of reality and of our lived experience. In May-time the natural world steps boldly into the visible world, courageously displaying its gifts and its power. We humans are also invited to step boldly into the world. We must summon our courage to support us to bring our gifts into our community, our work place, our families and add our voice to the symphony of life and its constant re-creation. When we engage in life in this way we become aware of the essential roles we play within the larger fabric of life.
May- time is a state of mind as well as a season. It is a space within me where I can and will risk bringing something from inside of me into the world of form. This is a space within me where I dare to say YES and I step boldly into the visible world, like all nature does regardless of what lies ahead.
To know your own Bealtaine time requires a deep and sensitive listening and a willingness to be true to your own unique process. I have often tried to force Bealtaine moments in my life, to force a piece of work out of its inner space before it was ready or to force myself to be in the season of Bealtaine because some aspect of my ego thought it should be. What I have learned from these is that when I do this nothing truly blossoms. I am also learning to recognise the many small Bealtaine moments that appear every day in my life. These happen at unexpected moments when I say YES to my life as it is in this moment and allow the moment to blossom into its fullness.
So today let us give thanks for the Beauty of May time (Bealtaine) in the world around us and for the blossoming energy of Bealtaine where ever it arises within ourselves. And let us honour the journey which began in the darkness of Samhain and moved through the seasons until it reached Bealtaine because I have found that in truth there can be no Bealtaine without Samhain. And remember it is always Bealtaine in the grateful heart because gratitude opens the heart to flourish.
Thugamar fhein a samhradh linn (we bring the summer time (energy into ourselves)
Le beannachtai Na Bealtaine Dolores