I often share this video at this time of year and that’s because for me it shows some of the traditions of Beltane.
There’s the maidens dancing around the maypole, symbolising fertility. There’s the union of the Goddess and God, the video shows their handfasting. We see the maidens again, washing their faces in the early morning dew on Beltane morning so as to receive the magickal properties that promise a beautiful complexion, and even for luck.
I normally share ideas and pics that tie in with whichever sabbat I’m blogging about, but this time round I felt it wasn’t right. I usually feel that I need to share sabbat cheer on my blog, regardless of what is happening in my own life.
I’ve always done that, put on a brave face to the outside world. You would never know there was anything wrong with me, both physically and emotionally, if we were to ever meet anywhere.
OK, I have a disability (or two), but I’m just trying to make a point about how I keep everything bottled inside. You see, the truth is I’m scared. Scared to let the emotions spill out. Scared to lose control. Scared to go back to the place I was in before I got so good at pretending I don’t have my shit together.
Things have gotten so bad in my life I’m actually having to have therapy. I’m not ashamed of that, just pointing that out in case anyone thinks I’m slating anyone in therapy. I’m not. So, I’m in therapy and it’s going to take a while to sort out my problem.
I have complex PTSD – Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. It’s a psychological disorder and the mental health charity mind explain what it is here. My therapist is hopeful that she can help me process the trauma and learn to deal with it.
I’ve only been working with her for a short time and already I’ve remembered two things that I’d buried so deep inside of my mind. So far we haven’t gone deep, and by this I mean I haven’t gone through the re-living process that should allow me to process the trauma by reliving the experience and then allow myself to deal with it all, and also to recognise it as a past event.
Part of my C-PTSD means I have spent 31 years being hyper vigilant. I constantly scan my surroundings for threats. I never fully relax at home, I’m always listening for something. Being hyper vigilant is exhausting, I really would like a break from it all.
With that going on in my life I’ve been less present on social media. I’ve felt a mix of emotions with regards to social media and because I don’t want to lose it altogether I’ve avoided so many things.
But what has any of this got to do with Yule?
Well, for me, Yule marks a time of rebirth. It’s also a time where I reach the pinnacle of my inward spiralling – as summer comes to an end I have noticed that I feel myself spiralling within, becoming more reflective in my life and preparing for the long, dark days of winter. At this time though the light begins to grow, ever so gradually at first, but enough to spark a flicker of hope inside of me.
This year I feel it is even more poignant and I’m gradually feeling hope return to my life. It is just a flicker, but it’s there, and I have a tiny flicker of optimism about the coming year that has been absent in my life for a very long time.
Yule falls on or around December 21st and other religions have similar festivals around this time of year; Hanukkah is celebrated by Jewish people. Kwanzaa is celebrated by Africans, and of course Christmas is celebrated by Christians and many, many non-Christian people too.
For me, Yule is about reflecting upon the past year. It’s about making plans for the coming year, not too far removed from traditional New Year’s Resolutions. I may perform a ritual, it just depends on what I have planned, but if I don’t do anything remotely like that I still mark the occasion in some way. Besides, I class Christmas as Yule anyway. Some of the family celebrate Yule in the traditional sense, others just celebrate Christmas in the non-traditional sense. I never get hung up on celebrating Christmas, even though I am a pagan. We see this as a time to come together and celebrate us. To exchange gifts and have an absolute blast.
Whatever you’re doing this Yule time I wish you much love, peace and happiness.
This year I am having a very quiet and reflective Samhain. Going through some issues has made me realise I need help and so I’m doing just that.
It feels very symbolic, today, for me, is all about letting go of that which no longer serves me and by making plans to get the help I need I am letting go of the pain that I’m currently rooted in.
So, from my hearth to yours, I wish you all a very Blessed Samhain.
Beltane is here once more. I love this festival the most, the feelings it evokes inside of me, the rituals, the abundance of flowers…..oh, and my birthday falls very near to this festival too adding an extra layer of sparkle to my celebrations.
What is Beltane?
Beltane is a fire festival. It marks the beginning of summer – although we are led to believe that the beginning of summer is actually around June 21st – 23rd, this is in fact midsummer. Way, way back in time we celebrated the beginning of summer at this time of year in the northern hemisphere. Cattle were driven out to the pastures by walking by the Beltane fire. The tribespeople also walked by or around the Beltane fire too as the flames, smoke, and ashes were believed to have protective qualities.
Maypoles are erected at this time too. The significance of maypoles has been lost through time, but many speculate that they are remnants of the old Gaelic may bushes or trees that became outlawed. Others speculate that the maypole is a phallic symbol and this seems to be quite a popular belief. Beltane is steeped in myth and lore and it is believed that this festival is dedicated to fertility rites.
There are so many myths and legends associated with any of the festivals so it is impossible to tell what is true. What I have found is that we can celebrate these festivals by looking at our surroundings, seeing what is going on in the natural world around us. Indeed, at this time of year life is springing forth all around us and it’s easy to see why our ancestors believed that this was a potent time to perform any kind of fertility rite.
I love the stories about courting couples who would go into the woods on Beltane Eve (April 30th) to bring in the may. Spending the night together in the woods sounds like a fabulous way to start your celebrations off, although the reality of that here up north makes me cold just thinking about it. But this sort of activity was an integral part of the Beltane celebrations with maidens going off to gather flowers to decorate the may tree and their homes. Their suitors would follow them out into the woods to woo them.
Whatever you believe, I hope you have a wonderful Beltane and that your life is filled with love and joy.