What I Did for Beltane

For those who don’t know, Beltane is celebrated on May 1st, and is celebrated as a secular holiday in many places as May Day. In Celtic tradition, Beltane (Bealtaine) was a fire festival bringing in the beginning of summer. The celebrations often including young men and women collecting wood for the bonfire the night beforehand, and on returning livestock would be passed between two bonfires to ward off disease. As such, Beltane is also a fertility holiday, and a traditional time for witchcraft work having to do with love (though many Neopagans speak against love spells directed towards a specific person, spells for general help in the romantic sphere are acceptable). This holiday is generally a lively celebration, and a time to let go of inhibitions.

What did I do for Beltane?

Almost nothing.

I lit a candle (jasmine) and burned some incense (rose and lavender), and I sat at my desk chock full of DayQuil and attempted to write a paper.

This paper is a final for a religion class titled “The Story of the Universe”, and the paper is giving me a headache. I had little idea what I was going to write on, and at first explored what interested me as I was developing my own new cosmology: Celtic paganism.

I am beginning to accept to my own sadness that Celtic tradition might not hold a lot for me, and I had little interest in reporting on the tradition. So instead, this became more a creative writing project than a paper per se, and I decided to begin to write on what I believe, and use that as a base to answer the question of my class: What is a cosmic person?

I could answer that question for someone else, follow a disconnected cosmology, research and cite and find what wisdom some other tradition offers, but instead I am trying to find the wisdom I’m developing, searching to see if I have the answer in my changing spirituality.

Yesterday, Beltane 2016, I had a hard time writing a paper, but I sat down and worked on it, I wrote through my ideas of the divine masculine, my ideas of the divine feminine, my ideas of the source of life, of the physical and metaphysical, of travel through the Wheel of the Year, and of the Holy Days of Catholicism, and I may not have had any revelation but I solidified words inside me that had yet to be turned into words. Maybe I did something for Beltane.

So, if Beltane is getting a party this year, it wasn’t yesterday. It will be later in May, my birthday, my 21st birthday. This signifies something of the reason I have transitioned my own faith system into the Neopagan paradigm. If this is a holiday of freedom and excitement, celebration of light and my favorite element fire, if it is joy and growth and the Triple Goddess entering a new life stage, then I truly ought to celebrate it when it feels right, and sure it seems silly to call getting inebriated on my 21st birthday religious, but I truly believe that if I do a spell, a meditation, an offering for Beltane, if I attempt to connect to the Divine in nature and in myself and in the cosmos, that is where it belongs, at least this year. It certainly doesn’t belong in the middle of papers and finals stress.

Oh, and I guess this is something to, because this writing is the first time I’m attaching my name to paganism online.


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