Bealtaine Blog 2018

Innié á La Bealtaine    Tuesday May 1st traditionally considered La Bealtaine and the beginning of the summer season in Ireland.

Samhain and Bealtaine are the two most important festivals within the Celtic year calendar, marking the gateways into the dark and bright halves, and the winter and summer seasons, of the year.  As we approach Maytime the possibility of summer weather beckons us on after a long cold and wet winter and spring time.  These past few months have been a tough and challenging period for many people, communities, for the animals, birds and for all sentient beings.  Yet that struggle we lived through the extended wintertime may allow us to be even more welcoming and appreciative of the coming of Bealtaine and summertime.

As we cross over the threshold into the season of Bealtaine we are invited to let go and unburden ourselves of the heavy restrictive energy experienced of the winter season.   Taking this step allows us to open up to the bright energy of Bealtaine, filled as it is with possibilities.  Stepping away from the restrictive, yet containing and deeply nourishing energies of wintertime, we are invited to embrace, each in our own unique way, this aliveness and the creative expression of the growing life force.

May is a beautiful time in Ireland.  There is a special quality of colour everywhere in the natural world a special newness and un-wornness of the world as the tress and hedgerows re-invent themselves, it seems like the world has fallen in love with life.  Perhaps this prompted Patrick Kavanagh to write the following lines:

“O unworn world enrapture me in a web of fabulous grass and eternal voices by a beech. Feed the gaping need of my senses.  Give me the ad lib to pray unconsciously with overflowing speech for this soul needs to be honoured with a new dress woven from blue and green things and arguments that cannot be proven “ The Canal bank

Becoming aware of the natural world where the tress, the plants, flowers, the hedgerows blossom in an unselfconscious way, each into its uniqueness, may prompt us to ask of ourselves

“What is the gift or potential, hidden deep within me at this time, and nourished by my wintertime experience that is willing to break free, to follow its own allurement and in doing so blossom into its fullest expression?

This question reminds me of the poem St Francis and the Sow by Galway Kinnell

“The bud stands for all things, even those things that don’t flower,

For everything flowers, from within, of self-blessing;

Though sometimes it is necessary to re-teach a thing its loveliness,

To put a hand on its brow of the flower

And retell it in words and in touch it is lovely

Until it flowers again from within, of self-blessing;”

Maytime and the season of Bealtaine is for me a state of mind as well as a season.

This state of mind allows the space where I can risk bringing something out into the word of form so that it can blossom into its fullness.  It is a place within me where I step boldly into the world, like all nature does in May regardless of what may lie ahead.  To do this successfully a person must know their own Maytime… this requires a deep listening to yourself and a willingness to be true to your own process.  I have often tried to force May-times in my life to force a piece of work from its inner space before it was ready or to force myself to be in May-time because some aspect of my ego thought that I should be in May-time.  What I learned from this is that when I do this nothing blossoms fully and I feel frustrated.   I am also learning to recognise the many Bealtaine (blossoming) moments that present themselves to me each day.  These opportunities, which often come at unexpected moments, are the times when I say Yes to my life as it is right now and in doing so allow the moment to blossom into its fullness unperturbed by “should “or “what ifs “.

Maytime evokes a sense of Gratitude.  However, we humans can choose to live with an attitude of gratitude at any moment in our lives and this attitude of gratitude has the capacity to transform how we view ourselves and our lives in each moment.  Developing acceptance of what are our lives actually in each moment is a prerequisite to embracing this attitude of gratitude.

We live in a world that demands instant manifestation yet the wisdom held within the   philosophical underpinning of the Celtic year calendar invites us to journey into the unfolding process of life because in this tradition Samhain and Bealtaine are inextricably linked and the fullness of Bealtaine is only possible when we embrace the losses, decay and death that is at the heart of the Samhain season.

We learn that in truth There is no Bealtaine without Samhain.

With Bealtaine blessings of abundance and blossoming,

Dolores Whelan