Beltane is the Celtic festival of the beginning of Summer and the celebration of fertility. Many ancient cultures marked this transition from Spring to Summer with rites of fertility. Most of those rites would shock even our modern culture: naked young men running through the streets casting whips of sacrificial animal hide at young women looking to be married or pregnant; couples dancing around the maypole followed by going off into the flower covered fields for a picnic and sexual adventures; the pairing of young couples for a year and a day to see if theirs were a truly compatible fit, with no obligation to continue together if it did not after, well, a year and a day.
Marking and celebrating our transition into the rich, fertile time of Summer can be done in many ways. Why not consider this: what activities do you participate in that take you into the deep places of your life? It might be prayer, or meditation, or reading. It might be a silent and contemplative walk, walking a labyrinth, knitting or crocheting, practicing Tai Chi, yoga, weight lifting or some other form of exercise, painting, singing, playing a musical instrument… What do you do that takes you deep?
Likewise, what activities do you participate in that stretch and broaden you, that make you more open minded, that expand your creativity, that stretch your imagination, that expand your world? Perhaps you travel, go to concerts, attend meet-ups of some kind, attend community school classes in areas that you always wanted to try but were afraid to. What do you do that takes you wide?
Deep and wide. Summer celebrates both the active growth of roots and the expansion of branches, stems, and flowers, and the power to fly and move across the earth. Today is the first day of May, the beginning of the Celtic season of Beltane. The Sun soars above, feeding the Earth with energy. How will you use and celebrate and honor that energy today and in days to come? Go deep. Go wide.