Seeing Her Land: the Twin Fires of Beltaine

IMG_0070

Sun Streaming @ Beltaine, MoonCourt 2009

Once cast from the sun, light streams onto planet Earth like liquid. It freely enters us as both photon and wave. In daylight, we ingest billions of photons during every open-eyed moment. As waves, light vibrates into us. It is transduced, within several layers of retinal tissue, into electrobiochemical pulses surging deeply into the tissue within the mammalian brain. It shifts from wavelength to colour, from photons to pulse – and from pulses to hormonal flushes … When stimulated by light, the pineal gland releases a cascade of hormones drenching the body in hunger, thirst, or great desire.

(Laura Sewall)[1]

Twin Fires Beltaine

Twin fires, Beltaine, MoonCourt 2012

Beltaine is the Seasonal Moment that traditionally celebrates the transition from Winter to Summer, from night to day, and the word Beltaine itself “may bring the eyes of night and day together”[2] … the eye of Moon with the eye of Sun: Belt meaning ‘white’, perhaps with the same root as the Lithuanian word ‘baltas’ meaning ‘white’, and may refer to the white lunar eye,[3] and Aine is the name of the primary Sun Goddess, and may refer to the red fire eye.[4] Her twin eyes come together then at this Moment of Beltaine, as the Land is drenched in light and moves into the fullness and creative radiance of Summer. The desire celebrated at Beltaine, and commonly reduced almost exclusively to heterosexuality, is essentially the “pulse of Creativity”[5] itself – extant in the creativity of Sun and Moon in relationship with Earth.

Sun is in the Eye

The Sun is in the Eye: Goddess Eye image from MoonCourt, Australia 2008.

In the old Irish language, ‘eye’ and ‘sun’ are the same word – suil: the fires of Beltaine may represent the “fire-eye” of the Sun Goddess and were originally two concentric circles, and later twin fires, being Her two eyes of night and day coming together.[6] As such Goddess scholar Michael Dames suggests they may be understood to be the Goddess seeing Her land: “the Sun is in the eye” as many Indigenous traditions have believed to be so, and Western science now understands – the eye is known to have been formed by the same processes as the chlorophyll molecule which transforms light photons into food. With this vision, the power of Her eye, Goddess as Sun brings forth life and beauty. The two fires came to be used to run cattle between as they headed out to Summer pasture, for the purpose of burning off the bugs and ticks of Winter – the fires may be understood to be cleansing. The Beltaine fires may be felt poetically as the Flame of Love that burns away the psyche’s “bugs and ticks”, and sees the Beauty present, and calls it forth. The Beltaine flames may be a celebration of Sun entering into the eye, into the whole bodymind: a powerful creative evocation upon which the Dance of Life depends, and as the cleansing power of Love and pleasure.

In the molecules of every breath we receive the presence of all who have come before us, and we in that outbreath are present to all who come after us, as they receive those molecules. In every breath, past and future come together, the manifesting and the manifest realms, the dark and the light, the white of Moon and red of Sun, the twin eyes of Beltaine, in the rising and falling: Goddess sees Her land and breaths it. In these recent times (this era) the act of seeing has commonly become an act of dominance and possession, but it could again be a receiving … an action of listening and perception,[7] which is an evocation, a calling forth.

MoonCourt Eye

Lunar Eye, MoonCourt

Eye of Day MoonCourt

Eye of Day, MoonCourt

SunVulva

SunVulvaEye, MoonCourt (Summer Solstice 2008)

It is traditional in more recent ceremonial celebration of Beltaine to dance around a pole/tree, and it may be understood that the tree represents the axis mundi – cosmic axis, world tree – and we move clockwise and counterclockwise around it, weaving all together, the manifest and the manifesting,[8] the dark and the light, the eye of Night (Moon – white) and the eye of Day (Sun – red). Beltaine is a supreme Moment of Creativity in this way … polar opposite and complimentary to the creative conception of Samhain. The Eye is also a Vulva shape, and the two have frequently been synonymous in art throughout the eons, both perceived by the human as essentially representing Creative Source of All: and so, the holy Moments of Beltaine and Samhain come together, drawing us to Centre.

© Glenys Livingstone 2015

For a Beltaine Meditation go to PaGaian Cosmology Meditations and scroll down to individual tracks, where you will find a Beltaine/High Spring Meditation for $2.80. It is a package of track 5 and 6 off CD 2 – the Beltaine/High Spring Preparation and the Beltaine/High SpringMeditation: which I am sure you will enjoy!

AND BONUS – enjoy PaGaian Beltaine 2009 on YouTube

REFERENCES:

Dames, Michael. Ireland: A Sacred Journey. ELEMENT BOOKS, 2000.

Livingstone, Glenys. PaGaian Cosmology: Re-inventing Earth-based Goddess Religion. NE: iUniverse, 2005.

Matthews, Caitlin and John. The Western Way. London: Penguin, 1994.

Sewall, Laura. “Earth, Eros, Sky” in EarthLight, Winter 2000.

Sewall, Laura. “The Skill of Ecological Perception” in Ecopsychology: Restoring the Earth, Healing the Mind. Roszak, T, Gomes, M E, & Kanner, A D. (eds). San Francisco: Sierra Books, 1995, pp. 201 – 215.

Swimme, Brian. The Earth’s Imagination. DVD series, 1997: http://storyoftheuniverse.org/store-2/dvd/the-earths-imagination/

NOTES:

[1] Laura Sewall, “Earth, Eros, Sky”, p.22-25.

[2] Michael Dames, Ireland: a sacred journey, p. 199.

[3] Michael Dames, Ireland: a sacred journey, p. 199. This is one analysis of the word Beltaine … there are other conjectures: none are certain it seems, so Poetry of the place and time seems acceptable.

[4] For more on Aine: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Áine  “Áine’s hill is located in the heart of Cnoc Áine in Ireland is the hill of the goddess Grian, Cnoc Gréine. Grian (literally, “sun”) is believed to be either the sister of Áine, another of Áine’s manifestations, or possibly Macha. Due to Áine’s connection with midsummer rites, it is possible that Áine and Grian may share a dual-goddess, seasonal function (such as seen in the Gaelic myths of the Cailleach and Brigid) with the two sisters representing the “two suns” of the year: Áine representing the light half of the year and the bright summer sun, and Grian the dark half of the year and the pale winter sun.”

[5] A term used by Brian Swimme to understand the essential Cosmic significance of sexuality, The Earth’s Imagination, video 7.

[6] Michael Dames, Ireland: a sacred journey, p. 195-199.

[7] as Laura Sewall describes it in“The Skill of Ecological Perception”.

[8] See Caitlin and John Matthews, The Western Way, p.54.

2 comments

  1. […] [ii] Glenys Livingstone, Seeing Her Land: the Twin Fires of Beltaine, 2015. […]

  2. […] [ii] Glenys Livingstone, Seeing Her Land: the Twin Fires of Beltaine, 2015. […]

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