Of Fire and Flowers: Reflections on Beltane

Blessed Beltane, "Bright Fire" time (May 1 or 2) a celebration of ripening, blossoming, coming into one's own body, a time to honor the sacred fire of embodied life. The last of the waning year sabbats, Beltane is Persephone rising up out of the earth, Demeter welcoming her daughter with flowers--roses, lilies, orchids--flaming, vibrant, fertile, abundant color.

At Beltane time, I've been considering the nature of love and recognizing that self-love is the root of personal flowering. Yet "self" is a loaded term; it conjures up the personality rather than the soul self, that spiritual part of us. This is why, I think, admonitions to love oneself don't work for a lot of us. One way to reword, recast, is to say that we must tend our sacred fire, tend our own hearth of and for ourselves. If we do, the flame grows, is healing, restorative, even voluptuous. It is large enough to cook a pot of soup, a rich stew that feeds us and overflows to naturally feed others.

But if we have a tiny flame, always in danger of extinction because we don't care for it, because we forget about it, because we summon our energy only to nurture others, we will never be able to receive (or to give) true sustenance. And so, at Beltane, I commit myself to radiance, to a growing and a glowing that magnify and multiply creative life.

The other symbol of Beltane (also called Mayday) is flowers; all those flowers blossoming in the Spring. And we are each tender plants whose care we must commit ourselves to if there is to be a blooming. We must tend ourselves as we would a sacred garden. We carry the seeds of our sacred dreams and we must plant them in our own rich earth, water our souls with love, daily, in order that we might grow toward the sun and thrive.

The Kore is welcomed by flowering woman, her mother. The kore (the maiden) contains within (at her core) the mother. (In fact, at Beltane she celebrates menarche and is honored for her capacity to create.) Most importantly, Kore must mother herself, must know what is right for her, not being seduced by others' passions or pain, living her own authentic life in harmony with her cycles. There is true growth. This is the holy-day. Blessed be Beltane!

Sisters, please note: The Spring Cycle of Women's Wisdom Circles begins May 2nd with a Beltane circle honoring Brigid as Goddess of the Flame. See www.centerforsacredfeminine.com under Circles for dates and more information.

Register at: www.squareup.com/store/center-for-the-sacred-feminine.

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