Inspiration from the bards
I love these words from John O’Donohue’s poem Beannacht / Blessing:
May the nourishment of the earth be yours, may the clarity of light be yours, may the fluency of the ocean be yours, may the protection of the ancestors be yours. - John O'Donohue
As we approach Bealtaine in the Northern Hemisphere, and Samhain in the Southern Hemisphere, the words above from John O’Donohue so easily and strongly connect me with Mama Earth and all who live here. Perhaps they will resonate with you too.
When things are hard, when they seem impossible, I find that it is my relationship with land, my right relationship with Mama Earth, that keeps me going, that keeps me centred. I encourage you to meditate on this thought too!
How (and when!) will you celebrate the May fire festivals ?
Did you know that the Fire Festivals — Samhain, Imbolg, Bealtaine, and Lúnasa —originally had no fixed dates, unlike the Solar festivals (Winter & Summer Solstice, Spring & Autumn Equinox) which fell on astronomically observable phenomena?
Samhain and Bealtaine were the “hinges” of the original Celtic two-fold year. Bealtaine essentially marked the beginning of Summer, aka the light half or season of the year, and Samhain the beginning of Winter, aka the dark half or season. In Celtic traditions both the day and the year start with darkness (e.g., sunset, Samhain), so Samhain is considered the starting point for the wheel of the year.
They celebrated based on observing the world around them, and the environmental markers that said “Yes, it’s Winter” (Samhain, roughly pronounced as sow-en) and “Yes, it’s Summer” (Bealtaine, roughly pronounced as bee-yell-ten-neh), etc. There were many markers for both, including the rising and/or setting of the various constellations, such as the Pleiades. And then the celebrations began, the lighting of the bonfires and more.
Over time, dates were adopted for both celebrations: May 1st (Bealtaine in the Northern Hemisphere, Samhain in the Southern Hemisphere) and November 1st (Samhain in the Northern Hemisphere, Bealtaine in the Southern Hemisphere). But perhaps it doesn’t feel like early winter or early summer in your locale on those dates. So change it up!
I strongly believe we too should celebrate the eight points in the Celtic / pagan wheel of the year, when they manifest in our locale, as our ancestors did — when the energies of that fire or solar festival manifested in their locale.
Step into the energies of Bealtaine and Samhain seasons
In our Bealtaine season course, together we will explore Bealtaine season, that time when the energies of Mama Earth and Father Sun wax towards the Summer Solstice, and the energies of Spring and Air transform into the Fire of Summer. We will explore the history and lore, and the Celtic realms of Land, Sea and Sky, to align with how these realms manifest physically, spiritually and energetically throughout the season.
In our Samhain season course, together we will explore Samhain season, the turn to a new year in the Celtic Wheel of the Year, born from the darkness of Winter, from the womb of Mama Earth. It is a time of visioning and dreaming and co-creating our world as it spirals toward a new year, when you may turn your thoughts to healing, renewing and co-creating in perhaps a different way. We will explore the origins, lore and traditions, the thinning of the veils, guided journeys, and the goddesses of the season. We will further explore the season using the framework of the Celtic cosmology of Land, Sea and Sky — which exists in both the physical and spiritual realms — including journeys, rituals, card layouts, practices, rituals, craft, and more.
And now that all courses in our Wheel of the Year series are available all year long, so you can follow them when it’s right for you, I am also now bundling them so you’ll be ready for the seasons when they arrive (oh, and you save 25% too!):
- the Fire Festival Bundle: Samhain, Imbolg, Bealtaine, and Lúnasa
- the Solar Festival Bundle: Summer & Winter Solstices, Spring & Autumn Equinoxes