That wondrous time of the year when everything in Nature is fresh and new, when we enter the garden of earthly delights, and light fires honouring life, fertility and love. Traditionally 2 fires were lit on a hill, and the cattle were driven between them, to cleanse them and ensure fertility. This ancient agricultural practice goes all the way back to early neolithic practices and the worship of Bel, Belin or Belenus. Bel-tane means the fire of Bel. A way to honour or appease the old forest God, when trees had been cleared was to erect and decorate a special tree – hence the May pole. Belenus is the shining solar hero and was also associated with the old thunder gods; a lightning struck Oak was considered a sacred tree by the Druids.
The forest is teeming with life right now, the translucent new leaves opening out from tight concertina cases and fanning out wide to meet the sun. Many early leaves are edible (and I encourage a little gentle browsing) like the Beech, Oak, Birch and Hawthorn or May Blossom, which is prominent at this time – the Maythorn associated with the May Queen. The flowers have the glorious scent of the May Queen’s vagina, and she too is the keeper of the sacred groves. This day is the dance between the masculine and feminine celebrating the sexual energy of all life.
With an increase in Re-wilding and regenerative farming, it is vital that we invite these ancient pastoral deities to come back and sit around our fires, share our songs and feasts, and dance with us to bless the land and the harvest. We are not as sophisticated as we like to believe, and to ignore the spirits of the land is to dishonour the gifts we receive, and maintain that misperception of separation, and ignore our dependence on the soil, plants, insects and animals that share this Earth with us.
This really is such a magical time of year, – the time of the snake, the cuckoo, the wryneck, the summer visitors and the creatures emerging from hibernation or metamorphosis. What energy lies dormant within you that is ready to burst through and join the labyrinth dance, the weaving of the colours and the light. Now is a time to be creative and rejoice, and let our buds open to the sun.
References: Alan Bleakley Fruits of the Moon Tree
Robert Graves The White Goddess