Happy Beltane, friends!
Beltane is a fire festival and the seasonal start of the summer. When I was a kid, I saw footage of some kids weaving the ribbons around the maypole somewhere. Mayday wasn’t something that was a focus of my heritage, but the visual of the dance around the maypole was enchanting. That’s where my MayDay festivities started and ended.
In my adulthood, I’ve become more interested how other groups celebrate their spirituality, and there’s something appealing about Pagan and Wiccan respect for nature. In WaybackLand, when more people of a community were involved in agriculture, Beltane marked the time when a community came together to hold the rituals and celebrations meant to protect the food supply from harm. Some of that, in the right-proper Gaelic tradition, about courting favour from the Fey, who could wreck havoc on your farm and livestock if they were displeased. Maybe you believe that there are Elementals, and maybe you don’t beyond Disney or Tolkien. But if a MayDay fire, and some yellow flowers, and a thimbleful of milk in my garden will keep the faerykind happy and it means I can watch fireflies for a month and not have worms in my cabbages?
I grow a fraction of the food my family consumes. My fig trees hardly have any foliage, but there are already figs growing. My chives are several inches tall. And all my bulbs and tubers have started pushing forward the flower heads that will eventually provide food for the bees in my neighbourhood. I’m excited to be responsible for at least part of the food that sustains my family. And I’m also a staunch supporter of local farms and markets in my area. Mike was a hunter for years when we lived in the Valley. So I’m thankful for every pollinator that shows up to my garden, every bat that eats the mosquitos, and for the guy who delivers my organic vegetable basket every week.
So, on this Beltane, let’s take time to bless the crops and livestock, and be extra thankful to those who tend our food supply.