Written by Vanessa Anderson
The rhythm of life, our life, woven closely to the changing of the seasons. The warm glow of a summer harvest nurtures the body while stoic the preparations of a cold winter night feeds the soul with the promise of things to come. The Wheel of life, forever turning, reliable, predictable, a comfort in the ever-changing landscape across the journey of time. It is no wonder our ancestors placed great importance on the rising of the sun, the phases of the moon and the constant symphony of stars dancing their way across our night sky.
We are both One and a part of the universe, our performance, protagonist or heroine, but a fleeting twinkle in a grander saga.
In the comfort of the coming season we give thanks for what has past while embracing the fruits of our intention set to come. The thread of all connection is present in every culture and across all spiritual teachings. We are nothing without the Earth we walk on, the Air we breathe, the Water that holds us and the Fire that ignites.
Many are returning to this knowledge as the crescendo of dis ease around us reveals itself as more and more at odds with itself. That slow and steady rhythm of life invites us back to a time when we could feel the inhale and exhale of the Earth as it prepares itself for another season, another cycle. Where we released our own breathe and with it thanks for the passing of the old, and renewed our welcome for the coming months. Come take a walk with us down the garden path, and remember.
Borrowed tradition had the whole world celebrating Halloween at the end of October, but as the summer solstice* tiptoes closer here in the Southern Hemisphere, the earth’s calling does not align. Halloween, or Hallowed Eve is in fact an adaptation of the Pagan, Celtic or Wiccan celebration of Samhain (pronounced Saah-win or Saah-ween) and brings in the new year. It coincides with the end of harvest and the beginning of winter. As we are woke from our winter slumber down here in the South, you can understand the confusion. No, Samhain is celebrated, in the Southern Hemisphere as the ground cools and the promise of rain approaches, 1 May. So as the ghoul-faced spectres rapt at our doors for treats or tricks what lore prevails and was it pure?
The wheel of life represents the cycles or rhythms of nature, for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction, for every season, an equal and opposite season, a yin yang = balance. If Samhain is winter, the end to the harvest, the gathering inward, then Beltane is summer, the time to sow, to venture outward.
Whether you are Wiccan or no, you may recognise and resonate with some of the ways that welcome this season, that honour this phase in the wheel of life.
Like Samhain, Beltane, the celebration just past is fire festival. Fire creates, it gives life, it ignites passion and creativity. The word Beltane comes from the Celtic God Bel which means the Bright one, and the Gaelic word ‘teine” meaning fire and together they are Bright Fire.
Fire is an essence of life, the protagonist in our expanse across the globe, keeping a blazing coal to carry fire allowed man to conquer the cold and reach new land, it can provide warmth and destroy life. We hold fire in every tradition to light candles, to celebrate life and death. On Beltane Eve the change of season is marked by putting out all hearth fires and candles, to relight them in the morning from the flames of the communal bonfire.
Whether you handed out candy to neighbourhood children donning menacing disguises or whether you are searching for a connection back to the patterns of life, there are many other ways to celebrate Beltane.
A SAGE SMUDGE:
When winter sheds its gloomy coat we often feel the need to dust off our spaces, open the windows, let in the fresh air, we call it spring-cleaning. We forget that we are also tinged by old energies and negative patterns. Honour your sacred space and person with a sacred cleansing with a sage smudge or incense.
1 September in the Southern Hemisphere is celebrated as Spring day, synonymous with flowers. Honour the season, gift back to nature by planting flowers for the bees who help to pollenate your other edible plants, remember, the cycle of life, wear a flower in your hair for beauty compliments beauty.
Let the slow rhythmic pulse of the earth guide you back to yourself, with a slow breath in activating your heart chakra (green) towards compassion, understanding and balance. A balanced heart chakra can more easily gift joy and kindness to others.
SPEND TIME IN NATURE:
The wheel of life has eight days of honour closely tied to ebbing seasons of the year. Walk on the earth, within its forests or on its shores, hear its sounds, breathe its smells, feel its pulse. Collect the gifts it offers along your walk, these can be feathers, flowers, stones, bark. Give thanks and remember to return a gift, water the ground, plant a seed, speak to the earth. Connect with each season by spending time in nature.
Blood is not the only tie that binds. Love, friendship and soul connections, our soul tribe come and go, we honour a forever connection with hand fasting, a tradition that is often observed in Gaelic weddings where a couples hands are bound together with a braid as they recite vows. Be you blood, friend, tribe or love that binds, fasted hands are vowed to last.
Each season invokes its own memories and feelings, sounds and smells and Beltane or the calling summer was a treat for a palette, earthen browns and fleshy greens, romantic pinks and lunar whites warmed by the gentle solar yellows. Be you Wicca or no, if you have enjoyed this walk down the garden path we challenge you to celebrate with us. We will be sharing information on the Wheel of life as the months proceed. Come find us next at Litha, ( 21 December 2021 in the Southern Hemisphere) the Summer Soltice to learn more about Wiccan celebrating life, love and happiness.
So mote it be