This is the time of year when we celebrate new life. I know that the northern hemisphere is celebrating the beginning of winter with Samhain (or Halloween), but here in Australia it is the beginning of summer. We know it’s Beltane because the cows and ewes (who all calved/ lambed around Ostara) are cycling again for the first time since then and will perform their mating rituals if a suitable mate is available. The hens (who began hatching eggs at Ostara) are ready to go back to the chook pen and leave their babies to fend for themselves. The rabbits (who birthed at Ostara) have weaned their young and are ready for a night on the town with any available buck and all over the country spring weddings are happening.
This year we set a pretty altar, the men crowned the women then the women crowned the men (not with blunt objects) and we danced the maypole. There are only a few of us now, and we are getting older, so we made it a stately, dignified pole dance. We then jumped the cauldron to rid ourselves of negativity for the coming year (and to prove that we still could).
Our Beltane altar with Pan and Athena as representatives of the generative forces.
Waiting to begin
As the sun sets, we thank the land for fertility.
The sabbat ritual is important as it marks the passing of the seasons in our minds and reminds us of the things which must be done to preserve our lifestyles (if we don’t sow pumpkins at Ostara, we don’t pick pumpkins at Samhain). I love my religion; it keeps me in touch with my little patch of Earth and it’s a lot of fun too.
You can’t really see it well in the video, but there was a red shadow dancing around the cauldron. Some chose to believe it was the exposure setting on the camera, I choose to believe it was an elemental spirit come to join the fun.
Our Ostara planted sacred garden is growing well.
On a related note; I found a carpet python in my chook house, swallowing one of the broody hens (sitting on guinea fowl eggs). This is a common occurrence, we lose one or two chooks every year to the snakes (I think of it as paying the rent, after all they were here first). We moved her down to the nearest water way in the hope that she won’t come back.
She is a beauty. When I picked her up I had to use both hands, she was very heavy.
2 thoughts on “Happy Beltane”
Fascinating. Thanks for sharing.
Not sure I could handle a snake swallowing a chicken. I guess you develop the skills to handle what life throws at you.
You do indeed develop the skills to cope with life.
I love snakes; they are so perfectly evolved to live as they do, and they come in so many pretty colours. I don't begrudge them a meal, I cry when that meal is my favourite hen or a broody on eggs (they never seem to get roosters) but I like to eat chicken too.
Everything takes life to fuel itself and snakes are not cruel or wasteful about it so I am willing to share.