In the Celtic Christian tradition, Easter and Bealtaine celebrations were often similar. The festivals were closely linked in both linear time and spiritual and agricultural significance. As a child growing up in Ireland, Lent and Easter were very significant events. At the start of Lent the conversation among friends often focused on “What did you or are you giving up for Lent?”Everyone was encouraged to give up something that they enjoyed for the period of Lent to purify themselves in preparation for Easter. However the focus then was on penance and to seek forgiveness. And of course on Easter Sunday you could indulge yourself in those pleasures that you had forgone during lent. My question was and is how did that actually support my spiritual journey or my soul growth? Some years ago I encountered the Ceili De tradition, an ancient mystical Christian tradition, which has a very different understanding of Lent and Easter. www.ceilede.co.uk.
In this tradition, the period of Lent was an opportunity for a person to reflect on where they are in their life and soul journey and to begin a period of reflection. The invitation was not to give up things in an unconscious way but to bring them fully into awareness. In doing so a person saw how certain thinking patterns ,behaviours and practises hindered their soul journey and prevented them being fully themselves and living their true potential.
During this period they would choose to sacrifice the needs of the small self in the service of the greater deeper call of their souls. This would lead to a powerful Easter-time, where the life enhancing energies would take root in the person and the new life within the person would emerge in its full glory.
This year with Easter occurring on April 20th ,the time and space between Easter and Bealtaine is short . Bealtaine represents the next stage in the unfolding dance within us and in the natural world. At Bealtaine there is an unashamed bursting forth of new life and abundance!
Here in Ireland, May time is very special, the natural world is spectacular as the white of the Hawthorn and the translucent green of the new foliage sparkle in the special light that desecends on the land in May. The millions of wild flowers the primroses, blue bells, wild garlic and dandelions that grace the hedgerow add to the symphony of new life bursting into being. At Bealtaine so much possible not only in the natural world but also for each of us! So my question for you and each of us is “what gift will you bring forth in your life this Bealtaine?” What will you add to the symphony of life in your family in your place of work, in your community?
This Year you might like to celebrate Easter by climbing to a nearby hill to watch the sunrise on Easter morning and see it dance in celebration of the risen Christ, present in every atom of every living being on our planet.
La Bealtaine or May day offers us the opportunity to celebrate coming of summer with one or more of the many traditional practises.
You might wish to go to a holy well at sunrise and bathe your face in the water struck by the first rays of sunlight. This action brings into the combined power of fire and water into yourself and thus available for all creative action.
You might wish to wash your face in the dew that morning ensuring for yourself the gift of eternal youth at least for your soul!
Or you could create flower garlands for you hair, throw flowers on your roof to welcome summer into your home or you . You might create your own unique Bealtaine ritual celebration for yourself or with your friends . Easter and Bealtaine are expressions of the amazing generosity of the natural world and you too can add your generosity.
Bealtaine is a time of expansion and possibility …..so my advice to you and all of us is this Bealtaine….. Go for It!! Is feidir linn (yes we can?)
Le gra agus beannachtai