I think May Day (Beltane) is my favorite holiday of the year. I hold it as sacred to myself as others hold Yule or Easter, a high holy-day. I’ve celebrated it in many different ways over the years, but I’ve always remembered to wash my face in dew first thing on May morning. May Eve is the time to invite the fairies to live in the garden with offerings of elderberry wine and bread and butter (they like white bread the best). It’s the time to thank the bees and birds and butterflies who come to live there, and to check out all the flowers in bloom (this year, it’s lilacs, sweet woodruff, and lilies of the valley — plus tulips and rosemary and lavender!)
This year we didn’t make May Wine, but we did teach friends to sing “Hal-an-Tow” at two different May Day parties, one on May Eve and one on May Day afternoon. It’s a bit difficult to learn, but very snappy and fun to sing as the Maypole round is danced. (I couldn’t dance as my broken foot is still healing, but I got to sing and cheer the dancers on.) So we were blessed with two gatherings this year, and two Maypole dances, one out in the county near the border and one at home on the island. On May Eve, we jumped the bonfire too — well I kind of swung my leg over the cauldron — and asked for the blessings of abundant creativity in our lives.
Even though we got home past midnight on the last ferry, I woke just before dawn to hear a very loud rendition of the dawn chorus through the open window. The robins are the loudest but they must have been joined by every bird on the island, joyfully welcoming the May. I smiled and drifted back to sleep.
When I woke, I gathered up my art supplies and headed for the door, intending to walk (very slowly) down to my Secret Spot to sketch the sights of the morning. But when I opened my front door, I realized the view was so beautiful, I didn’t need to go anywhere at all. So I spent the morning sketching the view from my front porch. I love this kind of sketching — it’s part spiritual practice, anchoring you in your “Place”; and part creativity pump, getting those juices flowing.
Later that afternoon Craig wrote a new song, with a little bit of Beltane in the lyrics. It’s fun and catchy and makes you feel good. So I would say that the blessings of the Bel-fire have showered down on us already!
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