On Bealtaine

The world turns, and we turn with it.

We sway and dance together through this short life of ours.  The seasons pirouette eternally around us, for though our performance is but a brief spectacle, the dance of the gods is eternal.  They move around us every moment, great beings, though we are mostly blind to their passing.  We live and love and die within them, their bone and muscle and flesh, a world not created but awakened and aware!  They know us from our movements and our prayer, to their senses indistinguishable.  They are drawn to our halting dance, illuminated by moonlight and flame.  Recognizing it for what it is, an imitation of their own movements, they hear our invitation and the dance is joined.

The world hungers, and we hunger with it.

The sacred night calls to us.  First we add our offerings to the great fire while whispering blessings into the night air.  Then, like planets around their sun, we begin to revolve about the flames.  One side briefly warmed and the other cooling, goosebumps raised against the chill.  We touch and are touched, by each other and the night and a deeper attention which surrounds us in anticipation.  Waiting.  Wanting but not taking.  I hear a familiar voice, not with my ear but with my heart, and I move aside, not with body but spirit.  I feel my flesh filled and falling.  What more do I have to offer than a share of my own life?  He will see and touch you, through me, with my eyes and hands.  There is no greater trust I can bestow.  This body is ours now.  I feel what the god feels, a fraction of infinite need and hunger.  It is almost more than I can stand.  Who am I now, if not myself?  I am the god and the sacrifice and we are yours if you will have us.

The world burns, and we burn with it.

Who do you see when you look into my eyes?  I would call your name but we are without language now.  There is only the puff and blow of my breath and your hair whips in the breeze of it.  My lungs expand until I think my chest might burst.  Are you in there, or does your flesh also ache with the presence of another?  The roaring fire casts it’s light on the earth around us and our shadows seem to shudder and twist, our shapes changing as we come together.  You glow with your own light, brighter than the needfire which roars beside us, while above you, twin arches of bone climb into the moonlight.  Antlers rising.  And falling and rising again, like tree branches swaying in a wind.  Do you feel the coming storm?  The sky above is clear, yet I can feel the energy gathering in the air around us.  The small hairs on my arms stand on end as the charge builds.  Lightning about to strike.  It rolls and twists, seeking ground, needing release.

The world dies, and we die with it.

Thunder rolls.  Lightning flashes in the violent ecstasy of sky against earth.  We are the storm and perspiration falls like rain.  Fevered flesh on a bed of leaves, mortals and gods, atoms and galaxies, we dance and turn and twist in perfect rapture as the energy of creation passes between them.  Euphoria and triumph, mixed suddenly with loss.  The fire is burning down now, it’s heat diminished against the raw night air.  My heart is racing but my flesh is my own again and the shadows around us have grown calm and still.  What did you feel?  What did you see?  I want to ask the questions but I feel suddenly alone, bereft of the certainty that seemed so close only moments before.  Was it all imagined?  Are we but singular beings dancing our little dance within an indifferent universe?  I feel your hand in mine and the questions drift away on the breeze.  Gazing up with you, at the vast expanse of stars arcing above us as we lie cradled in the soft earth, I see it all very clearly.  Close your eyes and you will feel it moving under you.

The world is dances…,


Filed under Holidays, Poetry, Spiritual Journey, The Gods, Traditions

2 responses to “On Bealtaine

  1. Isabeau D'anjou 1981

    This has to be one of the more beautiful descriptions of Beltane that I have ever seen. You have a magical, lyrical, extremely readable way with words. For this hemisphere, Beltane approaches next month, and I will reread this post before then more than once.

  2. Pingback: On this, our desexualized fertility festival | Stone of Destiny

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