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Beltane and Samhain: Reflections of Life and Death
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Beltane: Return To Feeling
Article ID: 10765
Age Group: Adult
Days Up: 3,101
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Author: Diotima Mantineia [a WitchVox Sponsor]
Posted: April 30th. 2006
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The energy is unmistakable – green, electric, almost exploding with life – yes, it’s Beltanetide again. Senses come alive – it’s impossible not to be aware of it if you are at all connected to the natural world – and with the joy, the aliveness, the final leaching away of winter’s numbness, we are born into the realm of feeling again.
In our rituals, writings and conversations, Pagans tend to emphasize the sexual aspect of Beltane, a Sabbat that celebrates the sensual coming together of lovers, of Earth and Sun to yield the Harvest. And indeed, the sign of Taurus, under which Beltane falls, is ruled by Venus, the planet of love. But Taurus is also very much about being fully in the body, rooted on the Earth, and the spiritual work that can be done around Beltane encompasses but is not defined by sexuality. It is defined by sensuality. To live fully on the Earth, to create a life of joy, beauty and purpose, we must honor the body of the Earth, and that honoring must start with our own bodies. It can begin nowhere else. If we do not make a point of learning to love, nurture and honor our feeling bodies as the sacred creations of our souls and spirits, we will not be able to make a true connection with the Earth and with each other – we will not be able to create the life and the world that we want.
Unfortunately, in the world we live in, learning to love our bodies is not an easy task. Millennia of misguided religious marginalization of the body and repression of sexuality have led to societies in which women are at best still fighting for full rights and at worst have their lives and bodies fully controlled by men, and the bodies of men and women both are considered legitimate fodder for war. Sexual abuse is rampant, unrealistic images of so-called bodily perfection are paraded in front of us daily and our health is compromised by sedentary, fluorescent-lit cube living and processed, pesticide-tainted food.
But this is changing, as it must. And we have the most powerful force possible at our disposal to mediate this change so that we can create a society that values peace, freedom and relationship. That force is our connection with the Earth, which lets us know that our birthright is a life of joy, creativity and caring. Once we touch the joy that is at the heart of that connection with the Earth and allow ourselves to feel it, we magnify it many times, and then, with that energy, we create, we make magic. That’s what magic is, after all – creating form and content in our lives from intent and raw energy.
Those who are skilled in the ways of magic know that magical creation is not confined to ritual. Our magical ability is inseparable from our daily lives. Because we practice patterning and working with energy, our personal energy field becomes strong, and that energy affects the world around us every moment of every day.
All of us, magically skilled or not, have a field of energy that surrounds us – call it an aura, or personal chi – and that energy, like a string on a guitar, both changes and is changed by the energy given off by the other strings. This is how our mass consensus reality is created. As magicians and shamans, we know the creation of physical reality begins on the energetic plane, and that our bodies and brains are the tools that shape and bring that energy into the world. As magicians and shamans, we practice keeping our personal energy coherent and strong. We know the importance of intent. So when we tap fully into the power of the Earth and modulate that power through our bodies and intent, we bring a level of joyful energy to the creation of mass consensus reality that, over time and with cooperation, cannot help but change the world we live in. But to do this well, we must be fully in our bodies, and to be fully in our bodies, we must be not just able but willing to feel - both physical sensation and emotion -- in the face of a mass reality that in many, many ways encourages feelings of pain and despair. It can be hard to cope.
To dare to really feel, both physically and emotionally, is essential to effective magic, as is the ability to relax and let the Universe work through you. Our bodies and our emotions are inextricably intertwined, one always affecting the other. When we can let ourselves feel, relax, and bask in our sensual connection with the Earth, we are free, creative, and move through our lives with clear intent and a deep connection to Nature and Spirit. But sometimes, our crazy world can make it all too easy to shut down. We look at the news, or just around us, and see that while scientists are unraveling the secrets of life and the universe, we are still, apparently, unable to fathom that secret of our own soul, the open secret that love and joy are Divine gifts that are ours to claim on Earth. We are free to choose and to explore in this embodied life, our souls held safe in the eternity of the greater consciousness of Source – which is also “known by many other names”; The Cauldron of Cerridwen, the Tao, Nirvana, Brahma, Dryghten. The choices we make – each and every one, each and every day – shape our energy and make up the personal creation of a lifetime. This means that for a magician or shaman, allowing ourselves to keep our feelings shut down in a fearful, reactive response to the world around us is shirking our responsibility, our heritage and our birthright.
When we open to feeling, often what we feel first is pain, so courage is needed to pursue this path. In the face of our pain, our sense of joy and aliveness retreat. Stored in our bodies as well as our minds, pain – if we ignore and do not face it – restricts us. We carry the energetic imprint of pain in our auras, and fear of encountering more pain adds the imprint of fear to the energy that we are projecting as we move through our lives. Avoiding what we fear, we clamp down on our ability to feel, both physically and emotionally. And in doing so, we lock the ability to feel joy, aliveness and our connection with the Divine into our own, internal Pandora’s Box.
We have the power to change this; we have a choice. Will we cringe before the pain we feel and see around us and try to hide from it? Or will we do the work to open to and be aware of our connection to the Divine within us, which will help us find the courage to change ourselves and our world? Without the only true safety – the internalized connection with the Source – we will fear too much to truly feel.
For many of us, healing enough to allow ourselves to feel fully is a long road, requiring considerable attention and fortitude. We face pain, anger, shame, guilt or other unpleasant emotions that are stored in our bodies, hearts and minds, and transform or release them. And then we do it again. And again. We go back and strip away more and more layers of the varnish that holds the imprint of pain in place, and each time we do this, we feel more and more free, connected and open. Sometimes this work can be hard and painful, but it can be eased and aided by working to remember what joy and love and beauty feel like. This is the gift that Beltane brings us – the Earth responds to the warmth of the Sun with the joyful gift of green and growing life, and that same energy can warm and heal the painful and constricted places within us.
Joy and love are our birthright. But in a free-will Universe, the world we see around us is a reflection of our mass choices. Every being on this planet contributes their energy to our mass creation. Most do this unconsciously. Those of us who have the skill and the knowledge to shape energy consciously have a responsibility to help re-pattern the dominant energies into life-affirming energies of growth, love, joy and abundance. By doing this we help awaken those who are in pain and asleep to the power of their will and intent. Little by little, we change the world. Working together, the change we create is unstoppable.
Currently, Uranus is making its way through the sign of Pisces, Neptune is in Aquarius, and the positions of these planets will support healing of painful and suppressed emotions during this year’s Beltane season. Our ritual and magical practices can work with that energy – now is a good time to intentionally do the necessary work to identify our fears and pain, and let the fires of Beltane work their transformative magic.
Neptune is the planetary ruler of the sign of Pisces; both the planet and the sign are associated with feeling, spirituality, compassion, mysticism and sensitivity, and also with vagueness, self-sabotage, martyrdom, fear and delusion. Uranus is the ruler of Aquarius; both the planet and the sign are associated with freedom, sudden change, modernity, independence, and awakening and also with detachment, thoughtless behavior, violent revolution and fanaticism. With Neptune currently traveling through Uranus’ sign of Aquarius, and Uranus now in Neptune’s sign of Pisces, we have the planetary energies available to support awakening to sensitivity, to free our hearts, to help us blaze a spiritual trail of compassion and joy. These same energies can also support a delusional, self-sabotaging path of emotional detachment, thoughtlessness, and violent fanaticism. So we have a choice to make – what will we create with these energies?
As always, intent is the key. The holy day of Beltane is a reminder of an opportunity to set our intent and weave a spell of joy in our embodied life on Earth. Our joy is the greatest gift we can give our world, for it is our true nature, an incredibly powerful energy, and it opens the way to manifest a creative, peaceful and loving society for ourselves and our children. As we practice magic and perform our rituals this Beltane season, let us set an intent to open to feeling, and in doing so, begin to heal not only ourselves, but our world.
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