As our planet Earth, and we Her inhabitants, orbit Mother Sun in our everyday sacred journey[i], we move into the Seasonal Moment of Samhain/Beltaine, the cross-quarter between Equinox and Solstice: that is, in the Southern Hemisphere into Deep Autumn towards the Winter Solstice, and in the Northern Hemisphere into High Spring towards the Summer Solstice. The Moment will be at 6:36 “Universal Time” on the 5th May … that’s May 5th 16:36 EST Australia – my place. All global times are available at archaeoastronomy.com, if you would like to mark your calendar.
In the Southern Hemisphere as the dark part of the day continues to grow and to dominate, we may celebrate the Season of Samhain/Deep Autumn: a time for remembering all who have gone before, those who have passed into the night, the ancestors, which may include all beings, and our old selves. It may be a time for dreaming and conceiving the new – for new re-solutions, and of noting the power of transformation, as the dark part of the day waxes, and the growth of last Summer passes. It is a Moment of celebration of Dark and its processes: which may include the comfort and rest it may bring, as well as the breakdown and composting of the past. The Dark is the ground of being, and is a sentient fertility rich with possibility, in which the new may be composed/conceived.
In the Northern Hemisphere as the light part of the day continues to grow and to dominate, we may celebrate the Season of Beltaine/High Spring: a time for remembering the beauty and sweetness of the dance of life and the essential deep desire for it. It may be a time of celebration of the power of attraction/allurement, the holy desire that turns the wheel, and brings all things forth. It is a Moment of celebration of Light and its processes: the warmth received, the manifestation of flowers, fruits and beauty, the diverse colour wavelengths received into eyes awakening the senses[ii], and the passion enkindled out of which relational connections of all kinds deepen. The creative nature of passion and desire deeply felt and expressed multivalently, is worthy of much contemplation, and not repression as many have been taught in this era.
Samhain and Beltaine are essential to each other – one cannot be without the other. They occur at the same time: that is, they are co-incidental. Knowing a sense of death, the knowing of the passing of all, is intimate with appreciation of the moment of Now – its gift and its beauty. And further, life is built on death: this moment and all presently manifest beings would not be here, if all had not passed before. Death is actually the Mother of us all – we may be thankful in this moment, remembering that we are united with all who have come before us, in their desire, in their longing. We may sense the wholeness of form and trans-form, the flux and unity that this event of life actually is. Both Seasonal Moments have traditionally often been times of celebrating a wild fertile space – one a genetic fertility, the other a trans-genetic/imaginal fertility. It could be a kind of excitement felt in bodyminds in anticipation of the fullness of dark or light, the climax (as it will be at Solstice – Winter and Summer). In the evolutionary story the advent of meiotic sex is connected to the advent of death[iii]: there is intimate connection.
For some Samhain Poetry and Images: PaGaian Samhain on YouTube
For some Beltaine Poetry and Images: PaGaian Beltaine in YouTube
Many will celebrate the Moment on traditional dates, and yet others will enjoy it closer to the actual astronomical moment. Here in Australia where I am located, I will celebrate Samhain on the moment on the 5th May, with a few friends. I invite and invoke celebration thus:
Earth’s tilt leans us further into the dark – this is the time for conceiving the new …
You are invited to celebrate
In this moment, between the old and the new,
all is possible:
the veil is thin that divides the worlds.
We remember the dead, let go of the past,
conceive the Not-Yet.
We remember that we are more, much more.
We meet to trans-form yet again,
in the womb of the Dark Shining One,
of our own bodyminds.
PaGaian Cosmology blogs for Samhain/Deep Autumn
PaGaian Cosmology blogs for Beltaine/High Spring
Samhain/Deep Autumn and Beltaine/High Spring meditations are available in digital format and also on PaGaian Cosmology Meditations CDs, at that link. The meditations are a beautifully produced collection which supports contemplation and/or ceremony for each Seasonal celebration.
Some Samhain and Beltaine story may be found in Appendix F of PaGaian Cosmology or if you have a paper version of the book, there is an Index for references throughout. These Seasonal Moments in relationship to the whole Wheel of the Year may be found in Chapter 5. Ceremonial scripts are offered in Chapter 7 , though they always evolve and are adapted to personal and regional poietics. The on-line versions are different from those in the paper copy of the book.
Blissed and profound Samhain/Beltaine transition to you.
[i] Our everyday sacred journey around Mother Sun could be named as a Turas. Turas is a Celtic word meaning “journey”, “pilgrimage”, and refers especially to the circular, spiralling prayer used by people in Celtic countriesas they walked sunwise around a sacred site. (Caitlin Matthews, The Celtic Spirit, p.31)
[ii] See Laura Sewall, “Earth, Eros, Sky” in Earthlight, Winter 2000, for more on this.
[iii] See Elisabet Sahtouris, Earthdance, p.134-135, and Ursula Goodenough, The Sacred Depths of Nature, p.143-149. More can be made of this link between these Seasonal Moments: orgasm has been termed “a little death” in French.
Goodenough, Ursula. The Sacred Depths of Nature. New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998.
Livingstone, Glenys. PaGaian Cosmology: Re-inventing Earth-based Goddess Religion. NE: iUniverse, 2005
Matthews, Caitlin. The Celtic Spirit. London: Hodder and Stoughton, 2000.
Sahtouris, Elisabet. Earthdance: Living Systems in Evolution. Lincoln NE:iUniversity Press, 2000.
Sewall, Laura. “Earth, Eros, Sky” in Earthlight, Winter 2000, pp. 22-23 and p. 25.
Swimme, Brian. The Universe is a Green Dragon. Santa Fe: Bear & Co., 1984.