In a week, Beltane is coming, whether we like it or not. The sap of spring is running full, the blossoms are bursting, the bees are busy (thank you!) and the weeds are at eye level. We are sheltering in place, but Gaia is relentless in connecting us all.
What is Beltane? It’s one of the old celebrations, one of the cross-quarters that come between the stately equinoxes and solstices. The others are Lammas, the harvest feast, the thanksgiving for the year’s tilling; Samhain, the time when the ancestors are honored; Imbolg, Brigid’s feast, the time to acknowledge what you are pregnant with; and now Beltane, the time when everything calls for connection. Sexual, yes, but way beyond that.
And now we must not touch, other than those to whom we are already committed. Conrad and I are embracing more than ever, and this is good, but when a dear friend comes over for a backyard six-foot visit, I feel keenly the embrace that cannot happen. And with Beltane imminent I am reminded of the power I have felt in group celebration, what happens when people focus their energies, raise them to peak, and open them to those in their circle.
You don’t have to be a neopagan to know this. You feel it when the church choir rips off a good one, when the concert generates a mosh pit you can’t resist, when the home team makes the final score, or now, when you go outside at 8 pm and howl. It’s why people weep for joy at weddings. Humans need to open wide and share the current, and Zoom doesn’t quite do it.
For a time we were part of a really good Moon circle. We came from different traditions, but we were all adults and knew how to raise energy together. Our focus was mostly on healing, and we did some remarkable things. I miss it keenly, most of all because it had given me a way to contribute something communally.
And that’s what I also grieve deeply for: no longer being able to perform for an audience, the deep current that was my sustaining power for most of my life. It may come again or it may not—change happens—but it was my most powerful way of giving. When you are in the presence of a group of people who become in an instant connected and whole, when everyone is breathing together and feels that brush of light, that is nectar.
We must invent new ways until our old ways can return. Think ahead to Beltane. Prepare. Bring to mind those who have helped you feel most alive, most connected. Prepare a time when you can sit quiet and bring those thoughts together. If you could write a thank-you note to everyone you ever loved, what would it say? In these times of rage and division, let your love run free, let its lavish waters burst the banks, and celebrate connection.