Friday, May 1, 2009
That lusty month of May
The big seasonal wheel has reached an important spoke this day. The day has many names most often referred to as May Day and Beltane (Beltaine) in the western world. I adore this ancient Celtic holy day and feel it's fabric woven deep into my bones.
Beltane marks the shift to the "light" half of the year. Traditionally at midnight ancient folk would gather boughs and flowers to adorn their homes in honor of the wakening mighty Sun in the morning. This eve I shall gather native oak leaves for the creation of the fragrance Q, for Quercus. I will then meticulously clean the leaves, allow them to dry, cut them and make a tincture and infusion. The tincture is for the alcohol based liquid perfume where as
the infusion into oil will be for the upcoming solid version.
The custom of honoring the bounty of Spring is still celebrated by creating May Day floral bouquets to hang from doors. My inspirational friend Nicole of Lillyella did a "How to create a May Day Bouquet" on her blog today. They are so pretty and great fun to make. Floral garlands made with raffia and clippings from your garden are other beautiful ways to decorate the hearth.
At Waldorf Schools all over the world there will be dancing around the Maypole. My daughter Eve participated in this activity beginning in first grade. It is so beautiful. If you have the opportunity find out if the Waldorf School near you will be having their traditional May Day festival or faire this weekend. They are usually free and a pleasure to witness the dance of the Maypole.
The marriage of the Lord and his Lady, God and Goddess, is another aspect of this day. This sacred union between the masculine and the feminine is seen as a blessing for the upcoming harvest. If you take a hike or walk this weekend become conscious of the images of this dualistic aspect in nature
I've been told that the veils between the worlds are at their thinnest during the Eve of Beltane and Samhain. According to Caitlin and John Matthew, authors of several books on Celtic wisdom, "...the thresholds of Beltane and Samhain are prominent points for both spirits and humans to change their shapes."1
I assembled some lovely items to an ode to this day by creating a treasury om Etsy titled Beltaine. Here is the names and links to these wonderful artisans that have allowed me to feature their imagery here on this day.
1. Opening image at top, Oak Tree photograph, is by Lupe of Honeytree Photography Gallery on Etsy. I placed it in here since I will be going out to harvest leaves of some California native oaks this eve.
2. Flower Cluster is a fine art photograph printed on metallic paper by Carl of Bucks County Frames, perfect example of the blossoming Earth as we move into the Spring.
3. The Pearled Nest Forest Nymph pendant is created by Jacqleen of Sea Unicorn located here in the City of Angels, Spring and her Fae folk.
4. Heart bowl is handmade loveliness by Red Hot Pottery, emblematic of the love between the Lord and his Lady, as well as my love for the native oaks. This item sold, I am intending that the artist has another so that I can swap it out in my treasury!
5. Thin hammered 14K gold band is by Elizabeth Scott in Albany, New York. A gold ring for the Lord and his Lady and to the many circle of people who will gather to celebrate Beltaine!
6. 5 Needle Felted Acron in Pool Blue by truLuxe located in Boston, ode to the Oak and her fruits.
7. Angilene Fairy Wings is by Priddy Lallo attire for the Beltaine dance.
8. Hanging May Day Basket is by Henry and Zoe Studio a beautiful adornment for honoring the return of the Sun, our planets source of light and warmth.
Thank you so very much to these amazing artists and the beauty they create. Here is a link to the treasury I created with even more lovely finds. Be aware this will expire on May 3rd in the evening.
1. Caitlin and John Matthew, The Encyclopedia of Celtic Wisdom, page 151
Beltane Perfume journal post: May 2007