It’s May Day!

In this edition of the seasonal timings, May Day, also known as Beltane, is right around the corner on May 1st. This day marks the midpoint between the Vernal (Spring) Equinox and the Summer Solstice. The Celtic holiday, Beltane, marks the beginning of summer in the northern hemisphere and puts an emphasis on joyful fire celebrations, earth’s verdant renewal, growth, romance, marriage, and fertility. Let’s explore and personalize these ancient traditions!

  • A Fire Holiday: The ancient Celts used fire ceremonies to honor the four cross quarter days that fall between the equinoxes and solstices. The Beltane celebration was held to welcome the light of the sun and the promise of summer’s bounty. The symbiotic relationship between the sun (a masculine energy) and the earth (feminine) is at the heart of the celebration. Bonfires were built to represent the sun’s warmth encouraging earth’s bursting with lush greenery and flowers. The bonfires were also meant to spark and energize creativity, romance, passion, mating, and marriage.
  • Relationships:  Beltane is a time to reflect on our relationships, including self-to-self. Set aside a bit of time with your journal to consider the masculine and feminine qualities within; the capacity to be active or passive, to be giving or receiving. Are these in balance?
    • Waking up earlier and going to bed later is a hallmark of summer’s longer days. Most living beings are more active in the summertime, but it is important to balance activities with adequate rest. Being overly active can result in the lack of time to renew, receive, and reflect. Constantly “doing” without enough time for “being” may give way to feelings of overwhelm, exhaustion, or frustration. On the flip side, boredom, inactivity, or procrastination may restrict forward motion toward cherished dreams and goals. Honest reflection on these topics can help to restore inner balance.
    • Given Beltane’s focus on mating, marriage, and fertility, those who are in a romantic relationship can take this opportunity to deepen the connection. Partners might want to plan a short getaway, go dancing in the moonlight, or hiking in the sunlight. Even sharing a sandwich on a park bench can be romantic and meaningful if that time is dedicated to sharing heart to heart about the things that matter most. Whether in a relationship or not, Beltane opens the door to celebrate life and spark creativity.
  • Honor the Day:  Folks steeped in Celtic traditions celebrate Beltane for more than one day, beginning on the eve of April 30th with merriment, sharing stories, and dancing around or jumping over a bonfire or campfire. On May 1st dancing around a Maypole is a joyful tradition, as is making May baskets, a centuries old practice that honored Flora, goddess of flowers. Small baskets were made from paper or fabric and filled with sweets or flowers to share with friends, neighbors, or beloveds. Flower crowns were woven for the festival’s May Queen. Today, these activities can be fun for families or friend groups. A May Day picnic basket might include breads, cheeses (or vegan cheeses, like Violife ™); asparagus, snow peas, or sugar snap peas, steamed then chilled, with a lemony dipping sauce; pickled onions, radishes, or cucumbers; honey cakes, mead, and strawberries. Please enjoy the day in a way that brings the warmth and smiles into your life!

Caregiver Notes:  For those who are caring for a spouse or partner in physical decline or at end-of-life, May Day may feel bittersweet. If romantic getaways are no longer possible, there are some ways to honor the day and make it special for you and your dear one.

  • Tender Loving Care (TLC) should be shared on May Day. Care givers and recipients who are also partners in life might enjoy at-home couple’s massages or Reiki treatments. Be sure to choose a therapist knowledgeable in massage for the medically fragile. If a professional massage is not feasible, create a cozy environment with candlelight and soft blankets; sip herbal tea or another beverage of choice; hold hands, share memories or silence.
  • Time in nature can be so healing! If the weather permits (and the care recipient can transfer without discomfort), spending time together outdoors is a great way to celebrate this day. Take a drive to a nearby park, seaside, or botanical garden. If travel is too complicated or tiring for you and your dear one, set some chairs up on the porch and together listen to birdsong, watch for special shapes in passing clouds, smell the rain, be present to nature and your shared companionship, connection, and love.
  • Flowers picked fresh from a garden, field, forest, or store-boughtare a May Day tradition. Considermaking a May Basket for your dear one. If dexterity and energy allow, each partner can make a basket to present to the other at a special moment. Include fresh flowers, and perhaps a friendship bracelet, photo of a shared memory, or other small surprise memento.
  • Connection through art is another way to make for a special May Day. Spending time together to listen to music, watch a movie, read stories or poetry to one another are shared activities to encourage a heart connection. If time and energy allow, undertake some scrapbooking, or create a colorful memory collage together with pictures and fabrics.

On the BlogThe Long Covid Series is both a memoir and a resource for the “living well” portion of our mission. Entries include: Learning Curves and Labyrinths, Toxic What?, Reiki and Holding Space, andRadical Acceptance. Watch for “X” is for Crossing coming soon to the ABC’s for Living Well.

Quote for Season: “When April steps aside for May, like diamonds all the rain-drops glisten; fresh violets open every day: to some new bird each hour we listen.” ~ Lucy Larcom, Poet, Suffragette

May all beings be safe, well, happy, and content.

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