As anyone who has read The Mists of Avalon and its sequels already suspects, Beltane was once observed with bawdy parties and revelry and lots of sex. It's the traditional wedding date of the Goddess and the God, after all. And by wedding we mean mating, and by goddess and god, we mean form and force.
When the Maypole is inserted into the earth, the sexual symbolism is obvious. The pole is phallic, and so symbolizes the male. The earth is round and abundant and so symbolizes female. But it's not about gender, it's about energy.
There are two kinds of energy;
Receptive energy or Form is the seed. It is pure potential.
Projective energy or Force is bolt that shoots forth to awaken it.
So the seed and the soil are form. The sun and the rain are force. It takes both to create life.
The egg and the womb are also form. The phallus and sperm are also force. This is why our ancestors equated the energies of form and force with female and male. I think it's time for us to use the more accurate terms of form and force, receptive and projective energies.
These two kinds of energy are also why the act of sex is equated with the act of the sun shining onto the earth, and the earth bursting forth with life in response.
The lesson of the High Holy Day of Beltane, May Day, is that it takes both the form and force to create life.
Applying this lesson to our magic
Form and force are opposites. Yet both are needed to create life. To apply this to our magic, we have to think about the magical goal and its opposite. So we must think about our desire for this goal. What made us want it? Usually we can trace our desire back to a moment when something unpleasant made us keenly aware of our lack of this thing, which created our desire for this thing, which eventually will create the thing.
It's important to recognize the source of the desire. Naturally, we don't dwell there. But we acknowledge that experience's part in the creation of our new and improved experience. This requires a deep level of understanding, where we can acknowledge the pain that caused the desire to create the change we are now creating. So in magic, we must honor the painful parts for creating the spark of life in the improvement. It is the fertilizing element of the new creation gestating in us right now. When we give birth to the new reality, it will be because of the painful experience that made us yearn for it to begin with.
Applying this lesson to our lives
You're a mile ahead of me by now, but I'll keep going anyway because this is such a deep lesson, and such a comforting one. Every single event in our lives is both a reflection and a clue. It's a reflection of where our energy is at the moment, and a clue to what would be even better. Experiences we call bad, hard times, difficulties, these are highlighting for us the areas where we can improve our lives the most. The worse the problem, the more emphatically it is demonstrating that change is needed.
So when a problem arises, we have to look at it. What has it come to nudge me toward? This applies to everything from the tiniest inconvenience to great big disasters. (But "problems" mostly start small and only grow when you refuse to make the change they're telling you to make.)
If I keep losing files, that's nudging me to get more organized.
If I keep losing friends when I drink, that's nudging me to stop drinking.
If I keep having an unwanted experience, it's nudging me to make a change.
And if I don't make that change, the problem will get bigger.
This is what problems are for.
Breaking it down
Problems fertilize the seeds of their own solutions. Every unwanted thing is showing us more clearly what we want instead. But we have to move toward the improvement, then. We have to let go of the bad part to give birth to the good.
Black Widow Goddesses
In some mythologies, the Goddess mates with the God at Beltane, and becomes pregnant. In autumn, the god dies--sometimes by her hand.. At the Winter Solstice, she gives birth to him once again, and the cycle continues on.
If we accept the "problem" as the fertilizing force, that's symbolically the god. The killing of the god is the releasing of the old life in which the problem exists. The gestation of the infant is the creation of the new life where the solution to that problem exists in its place. The new baby is the new reality where we live in the solution. It is the manifestation of the desire, or the result of the spell.
This is the cycle. A problem awakens our desire for the solution and the better way is born. We step into it, leaving the old way behind. From this new, higher plane, we can see and experience even more and eventually, we will encounter another unwanted thing. And from there, create a solution and level up yet again.
You could analyze layers of meaning in all of this endlessly. But some of big ones for me are these.
When a problem comes, it's showing me some area with great potential for growth.
As soon as I turn my attention to the solution, the problem begins to fade.
If I make the changes shown to me by small problems, I'll have fewer big ones.
Unwanted experiences are the fertilizing force that creates the desire for nearly every magical goal, and most life goals as well.
It takes both force and form to create life.
"Masculine" and "feminine" are old fashioned ways to describe projective and receptive energies.
Beltane is about Sex!
And by that I mean, it's about the fertilization of everything we hope to gestate over the summer and give birth to in the fall.
To fertilize our goals, we must acknowledge what made us want them. Thank the pain and release it as we shift our attention to the new.
To fertilize our goals, we need the power of both earth and sun. Both air and water. Both body and soul. Both form and force. Both ovum and sperm.
Whenever Wiccans perform The Great Rite in token to charge their Moon Water with Life Force, this is what we are doing. Directing Force into Form to create the spark of life, which is the source of all magic.
Magical things to do at Beltane
If it rains, gather the water. Perform the Great Rite in Token and use it for the coming year. Dump out last year's Beltane water if there is any left.
Meditate on the force and the form that combine to create you. Your body and your soul. You identity, and your Higher Self. It can be a revelation. Explore how you are the same and yet different.
Celebrate in the most bawdy way you want to! Be daring and bold. Beltane is all about life, and life is a sexy, fun, raucous celebration. Beltane sex is a reflection of creation itself, sacred and holy.
Plant seeds and plants in the ground. Partner up with nature and participate in her glorious, rapid springtime expansion.
This is the time to crank up the jets on whatever we are currently creating. Crank open the taps, step on the gas. Really get moving on your creations!
More on Beltane to come!
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