It seemed as if everyone in the small suburban town where I live was celebrating Beltane early this past weekend. Most of them had likely never heard of Beltane, but I saw people enthusiastically raking lawns, planting pansies in flowerpots, buying mulch and peat, bringing babies to restaurants to run on the floor with no one minding, buying giggly little girls new spring clothes at KMart, taking long walks in the afternoon warmth, and in so many other ways being part of the northern hemisphere’s season of life renewing itself and the Earth’s abundance.
As I thought about the festive atmosphere surrounding these ordinary acts, I realized how deeply Beltane is rooted in the everyday life of our planet and all those beings who live on Her. The renewal of life is what normally happens every day, but especially at this time of year, as long as nothing catastrophic interferes. Beings instinctively reproduce and bring forth new generations, people naturally want to nurture their own and other life forms, all of life is woven together in a delicate balance dedicated to the renewal of life.
Of course, humans, in particular, are constantly interfering with this constant life renewal with wars and other violence of all kinds and human-made poverty, homelessness, hunger, and injury, death, and disease. These past two weeks I have been reminded of how wounding these acts can be to an entire population. The town where I live is not far from Boston and almost everyone I know was personally affected by the Marathon bombing in some way, whether they had a connection to someone who was killed or injured or were shocked to see familiar places where they live, work, or shop transformed into battle zones. What I saw this past weekend was people drawing on their natural bountiful and beautiful Beltane spirit, while not forgetting those still in need of help.
So, I am now seeing Beltane as not only a celebration of the season of nature’s fertile abundance, but also an affirmation of the joys and power of the acts of daily life and our relationships with our families and friends of all species that bring forth new life, whether physically, emotionally, or spiritually. So often it’s easy to think that we need to set aside a special time and place with symbolic activities to really become part of a celebration when, in fact, we are constantly surrounded by the spirit of what we are trying to bring into our lives. This week, for my observance of this holiday, I think I will try to find ways to promote Beltane’s healing spirit as it is manifested in everyday activities of a 21st century American suburb – gardening, encouraging kids, giving those traumatized a place to find support. What about you?