“Good morning, ladies and gentlemen;
I wish you a happy day;
I’m come to show my garland,
because it’s the First of May.
A bunch of May I have brought you,
and at your door it stands;
it is but a spray, but it’s well spread about,
‘Tis the work of the Fays’ hands.
And now I’ve sung my little short song,
no longer can I stay;
Faeries bless you all, both great and small,
and grant you a very happy May.” (1)
By Lady Arsinoe
As they sing in Camelot, “Ah, that lusty month of May!”
Beltane is the time of year when Wiccans celebrate the union of the God and the Goddess within the metaphor of a wedding. We celebrate the Masculine Activating Principle coming together with the Feminine Generating Principle, bonded together to bring forth life. Plus, we are a fun-loving bunch, and what can be more fun than frolicking in the woods all night a’ conjuring summer in?
When boiled down to its basic components, Beltane is all about fertility and the blessings fertility brings. The obvious fact is fertility is all about sex. It’s difficult to bring about the next generation without it! Plant sex drifts on the breeze and fills the gutters and clogs our noses. Plant sex becomes the fruits and vegetables we eat as the summer progresses. The birds and bunnies are at it, too. Babies are being made everywhere, from baby grasses and leaves, to baby birds, bunnies, squirrels, and…you get the idea. Lots of fun being had in the Plant and Animal Kingdoms!
We have a pair of crows who built their nest in a tree in our yard. They have been busy preparing the way for their next generation. Their nest is lovely, by crow standards. Once they are finished building, they will fill the nest with a great treasure.The crows in our yard truly care for each other and their nestlings. Otherwise, they would not spend so much time preparing the way, and expending all the energy to provide for them and each other. I’ve watched them travel back and forth from the nest carrying twigs during construction, and when that task was complete, gather food for each other as they take turns sitting on their eggs.
As much as some spiritual traditions would like to deny it, life depends on sex. And not just sex, but intimacy. Sure, we can go out and bonk and have babies, but without intimacy, there is no caring. It’s the intimacy and caring that creates the bonds that hold us together. Richard Dawkins says that humans have the Selfish Gene. I would politely disagree with him. I think all life has an Altruistic Gene.
As soon as a mother looks into the eyes of her baby, she is hooked. Fathers, too, will kill or die to protect their offspring. This is true for animals of all stripes, humans included. Just as the crows care for each other and their young, humans care for each other and their offspring. A lot of time, energy, and resources are necessary to bring the next generation up to self-sufficiency, as well as maintain a cohesive bond between communities. Wouldn’t it be a lot easier to just take care of ourselves, and live a selfish life? No saving for college educations, use that money for your own selfish enjoyment! But that’s not the way most of us are, because that’s the Altruistic Gene at work.
Life wouldn’t be quite so wonderful, or spiritual, if we were selfish. With joy, we watch our children grow and become their own beings. And we, as parents, revel in their accomplishments, and partake in our own bit of immortality with the next generation.
There is something to be said for rugged individualism, but without caring and intimacy, it’s worthless. So, this Beltane season, revel in the joys of pleasure and intimacy and the bonds they create. For without that bond, life just isn’t as fulfilling. As the Goddess says, “All acts of love and joy are My rituals.” This Beltane season, may we all be bound with the Lord and Lady and revel in joy.
(1) English Carol sung door to door on May Day
Lady Arsinoe’s Bio:
I was initiated into the Wiccan spiritual tradition as a First Degree in 1993. Over the years, I continued my studies and increased my involvement. In 2000, the members of OakSpring (www.HouseOfOakSpring.org) separated from Ravenwood to go our own way. In 2006, I became the High Priestess of OakSpring, with my husband serving as High Priest. OakSpring is large by Wiccan standards, and has been blessed to own and maintain our covenstead on 38 acres of woodland in the Metro-Atlanta area.
Like most Wiccans, my mundane life is similar to anyone else’s: I go to work each day (for a large engineering firm), bear with traffic, and go home to relax with my family and pets. Living a magical life isn’t always about the spells; it’s about living in a way that is harmonious with Nature, the Universe, and ourselves. I do my best to live in accordance with Wiccan principles every day of my life. I think that is the best way to show the world what Wicca is all about.