Beltane blessings! (May Day!)

Greetings to you on the 2nd of May!

Yesterday was a holiday. It was Beltane, the last of the spring celebrations in the wheel of the year. It’s all flowers and maypoles and passion and honeybees… and, above all, fire. Beltane is a fire festival. It is the fire festival. There’s usually a bonfire somewhere in Beltane celebrations, but any fire will do if a bonfire isn’t possible! I kept candles burning all day.

A bit of background, for anyone who’s unfamiliar: Outside of the religions of Wicca and Paganism, Beltane is celebrated as May Day on the 1st of May, just as Samhain is celebrated as Halloween on the 31st of October. Beltane and Samhain are the two times of year when the veil between worlds is the thinnest, so both holidays involve traditions around protection from spirits… the spirits of the dead at Samhain, and the spirits of nature and the Fae at Beltane. The two holidays are not only direct opposites on the wheel of the year, but they’re also opposites in essence: Beltane is about celebrating life and fertility (of all beings, and of nature), while Samhain is about honoring death.

A part of my Beltane celebration was spending time outdoors in nature with Geronimo and Salem. Another part was baking. It was while I was baking that a bird hit the living room window. Again.

I hurried out of the kitchen to look through the guilty window, and I saw the little gray bird lying on his side on the patio, struggling. I didn’t know what to do. I went back into the kitchen, then returned to the window about 15 minutes later. There was no movement that time. The bird’s spirit had left his body. Suddenly, my day of celebrating life had been punctuated by death.

I felt responsible. (Why did I ask for a picture window in that huge window space?) It wasn’t the same kind of sad as Salem’s dove kills in the backyard. I wasn’t facing the disposal of days’-old, torn-apart pieces of large bird remains. It wasn’t nature that killed the little bird in the front yard. It was my window.

At dusk, I went out to the front yard and dug a tiny grave about a foot and a half deep. I tried to collect the bird gently, but his little head was stuck to the concrete with his dried blood… I believed that he’d broken his skull. I had to slip my fingers beneath it and work a bit to loosen it. (Yes, I was wearing disposable pandemic gloves.)

When I laid him down to rest in his grave, I said a prayer before covering him up, telling Mother Earth that I was returning to her the body of one of her children.

After that, I did some (alchemy) workings in the Beltane energy, then ate a Simple Feast of (vegan) vanilla cake, fresh strawberries, and ginger ale sweetened with extract from the stevia plant. Stevia.

It was a beautiful and magickal day overall. Even though.

Now, to end on a cheery note, I want to share these pics I’ve taken recently of the flowers in my yards. I’ve got a plethora of them!

First, the ones that are not in my yard:

Gerberas – flowers in the daisy family (which is associated with Beltane) obtained at the grocery store a few days ago.

Beltane colors are fiery and botanical: reds, yellows, greens, colors that happen to be in generous bloom all over my front and backyards.

Starting with Geronimo’s hibiscus! These plants are exploding! I’ve never seen so many blooms at once on all of the hibiscus plants.

Even this one by the back gate is loaded with flowers this year. It’s always been sparsely flowered.
Prickly Pear in bloom in the front yard, which is entirely carpeted in golden Palo Verde pollen.
Back to the backyard! The red hibiscus behind the burrow of a certain desert tortoise that I know.
Desert willow
Ruella
Verbena? Lantana? One of the two. I never know which.
Mesquite
Fig tree doing nicely!
Desert rose also doing nicely!

This desert rose looks like a Dr. Seuss flower, doesn’t it? What a wonderful character it is.

Happy Beltane Season to you, my friends.

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