It’s May Day and magic is afoot. Known as Beltane in the ancient Celtic calendar, May 1, marks the beginning of summer and stands opposite October 31, Samhain (sow-en), the beginning of winter. The holiday is named after the Celtic sun god, Belenos, who was thought to pull the sun across the sky in a horse drawn chariot. Beltane is celebrated with bonfires to welcome the power of the sun, and with dances around the May Pole to celebrate the fertility of the land. This symbol of the world tree is rooted in the earth and stretches toward heaven uniting the male and female polarities into one vast swirl of energy as dancers weave ribbons around the pole connecting us to one other and the sacred continuum of life.
As the land blossoms forth, the earth goddess, in her May Day guise, wakes up the nature spirits—fairies, elves, gnomes, and other elementals—whose ethereal forms we may glimpse in the glimmer of a sun beam or a rainbow flashing in a stream. These fairy folk come among us to rejoice in the May.
As we crones bring in the May, we hold the power of Samhain within. We have experienced the full cycle of life and death. We have witnessed the growth of new generations of children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren as we have watched the lives of our grandparents, parents, beloved friends and siblings of our own generation, and perhaps even our own children pass beyond this life. May after May life renews itself. The chant, “the forms change, but the circle of life remains” plays itself out on the dancing grounds of our hearts.
May Day is a time for rekindling our own creative fires which may have been tamped down by the losses, conflicts, and fears that hound this world and our lives. The power of the sun calls us to stretch the bare flesh of our arms upward to feel the sun’s penetrating warmth sink into our bones. As we wriggle our fingers skyward, we reach for the wisdom to accept the shifts in our life with grace. Instead of expending energy in resisting change, we welcome transitions as new opportunities. By surrendering to the needs of the time and accepting their strictures, we experience release, freedom, and joy.
As I hold the wise blood within, I want to turn over the responsibilities of birthing and manifesting new forms into life to younger women. When I became a mother over thirty years ago, I continued to work full time. I learned to rev my engines into overdrive and to maintain them there. I am good at accomplishing more things than I realistically have time to do. This pace, however, seems at odds with my natural rhythm. For me, one of the gifts of being a crone is to get to choose the pace at which I live. I find myself drawn more to the inner life and away from striving in the world. The beauty of aging for me lies in having time to contemplate life’s mystery. Slowly, I begin to detach from the goal-oriented aspect of myself and to allow more time just to be.
As you contemplate how best to stoke your own inner fire, consider what you need to bring your life into harmony with your natural rhythms. In the spirit of fun and youth, engendered by this season, you may want to consult your inner child. One way to do this is to create your own fairy garden. This is a creative way to experience the interconnectedness between the spirit and natural worlds. You can create your fairy landscape in a portion of your existing garden, around the base of a tree, or in a flower pot. As you invite the nature spirits to play, invite your own creative self to join the game, and follow the fairy queen down the garden path to find your special treasure.
Creating a Fairy Garden
To create your garden, you need a plot of land, or a pot with soil, one or more flowering plants or bushes, moss, mulch or stones, and fairy furniture or other small accessories that appeal to the wee folk. You’ll find lots of examples online. After you have set up your garden, honor it with a blessing. Welcome the spirit of each plant by directing a flow of love from your heart down through your arm into the plant. To finish off, leave a bright shiny gift for the fairies such as a bright bead, glitter, or a quartz crystal. Invite the fairies (and any other spirit presences that gladden your heart) to come.
Here is a sample fairy garden.