Beltaine — the celebration of the green

beltaineIn the Celtic calendar, May 1 is Beltaine, the first day of summer: the time to celebrate life, growth and love.   The word “Beltaine” derives from the ancient Celtic words for “brilliant fire.”

Our Gregorian calendar says its still spring.  But who cares?  It’s what’s going on outside our window that’s important.  Mother Nature doesn’t follow calendars, as we well know.

And again, this is not the post I had planned for this week.  But as I sat in meditation this morning, listening to the birds, frogs and crickets sing their songs, I suddenly realized it was May 1 and the perfect day to write about what’s going on in the natural world.

The First of May, known as May Day, has a tradition of festivals throughout the centuries.  It’s a time of celebration of springtime fertility [of soil, livestock and humans] and I would add: beauty!

The return of the Green

After a long hard winter here in Michigan, the weather has turned summer-like very quickly.

It seems as though just a few days ago the woods were bare of leaves and as I look out today, everything is turning green.  At an astounding rate!

Mother Nature was waiting for warmth and sun just as we were.  And she’s making up for lost time with fast growth.

As I ask myself what’s the lesson to learn from this, what comes to mind is:  It’s never too late!  Also, all good things come to those who wait.

Just when you think the sun and warmth and spring will never arrive, here it is in all its glory.

In most parts of the country, we’ve finally transitioned from the deep stillness of winter to vibrant green life all around us.  But some parts of the U.S. are still getting snow.  Don’t give up, the green will return.

In Irish mythology, events that mark the end of an old order and beginning of a new order take place at Beltaine.  Think about that in your life.  What would you like to have end and what new beginnings would you like to see take root?

Taking time to listen

During my meditation this morning, the window was opened and I was listening to the sounds of the natural world.

Listen to what’s going on outside your window.  Listen to the birds, watch the bugs.

What are the frogs saying?  Are they spreading good news?

Where are the birds going? Perhaps they’re returning because they know it’s beautiful where you are.

We live in a hurry-up world full of stress.  Turn off the TV news and listen to the news of the natural world.  It helps put things in perspective to know that life always goes on.

Go for a Nature Walk with the eyes of a child

Go for a walk out in nature.  If you live in the city, go to a park, any place where you are surrounded by nature.

Open your eyes and look at the world as a child does, or even try to see through the eyes of the tree or a flower.  That will surely give a unique perspective and make the troubles of the material world seem small.

Observation is what indigenous peoples did more than meditation with their eyes closed.  Meditate on the beauty of the earth.

Lie down on your back and look up through the tree branches toward the sky.  See from the earth’s perspective, looking up.

We usually let ourselves see very little, filtering out so we don’t overload.  Now it’s time to see as much as we can.

Go out in silence.  Noticing things that don’t usually get noticed is another way of giving energy back to the earth.

Spend 5 minutes with one flower: watch it, smell it, listen to it.

Notice clouds, leaves, rocks, and bugs.

Can you find a bird building a nest?  Watch that from a distance.  What an example of ingenuity and dedication.

Watch the sunset tonight.  Perhaps give it applause.

Be light.

Have fun.

Be a child.

Make tobacco offerings to those things that inspire you.

 A problem solving technique

If you have a question or a problem: meditate on it for a few minutes and pray for nature to provide the answer, then go for a nature walk for at least 15 minutes.  30 minutes is even better.

During that time, the answer will come.  It will come as you watch an ant carrying a twig, or a bird flying overhead, or a blade of grass bending in the breeze or . . .

Make a tobacco offering to express your thanks.

Use nature to bring answers, inspiration and health.

Take a deep breath, let it out and say “Thank you!”

[quote] “The spirit still has something for us to discover – an herb, a sprig, a flower – a very small flower, maybe you can spend a long time in its contemplation, thinking about it.”  –Lame Deer, Lakota elder[/quote]


Molly Larkin

Molly Larkin is the co-author of the international best-seller "The Wind Is My Mother; The Life and Teachings of a Native American Shaman”  and other books on health. She is passionate about helping people live life to their fullest potential through her classes, healing practice and blog at www.MollyLarkin.com

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