The air has changed and the evening stills with an anxious verve. The electric quality of it all has dimmed and what’s left now is a low humming: the looming anticipation of a magnificent crescendo on the horizon that casts out bits of impatience and sparks of playful passion, like fireflies of all emotional colors. Beltane is rapidly approaching, and this year will actually be my first time celebrating it.
I never really learned all that much about the Pagan Wheel of the Year as my style of craft branched off from my early beginnings, but I’ve definitely felt its significance throughout my practice. A wide variety of strange and powerful effects and energies are generally kicked up around these specific times of the year, regardless of faith or any particular belief system, which is intriguing to me. I very distinctly feel the weird conditions which tend to occur around the equinoxes, for instance, as well as the shift in the way that conditional energy behaves during the correlating holidays like Samhain and Ostara. That charge of specifically directed energy which gathers in the air and builds upon itself when the Earth is taking a massive and deliberate step into a new season is an indescribable thing I wish all people could stop in the buzz of their lives for just a moment to be aware of, because it’s not only a fascinating phenomenon that makes for some very unique and powerful spellcasting, but in the very heart of me it stirs a resounding change as well.
At the very core of my being, I feel a grand reminder of my connection to the planet I live on and its connection to the larger universe. I feel guided by the hand past my own sight and into the deeper secrets of who I am and where I am. A radical attunement to my own individuality as well as my oneness with all things. I feel cherished, loved, and important, and I’m reminded also that my existence has meaning and purpose: to the universe, to the Earth, to the people I share my time on Earth with, and most importantly, to myself. I cultivate a larger appreciation for my own feelings and emotions, and the air simply feels magical.
In the weeks leading up to the Vernal Equinox, I tend to feel increasingly giddy and excitable. When people speak to me, I hear their words and comprehend the meaning of them with much more clarity than I usually do. My mind is clear and enlivened with a child-like spark of wonder. The voices of an inconceivable number of emerging souls as they enter into flesh call out to me from every direction: quadrillions of eggs hatch and sprouts emerge, and new forms of love begin binding together with loose roots. So much new intent spirals out from the void and makes itself known all across the globe at all hours of the day and only barely rests at night. It’s breathtaking.
I generally feel a marvelous zest throughout the day during those few weeks, as if the sun has become a much more personally palpable thing to me and its warmth is being directed toward me specifically. The swirling particles of its light perform a tingling dance over the surface of my skin the way sunlight marbles the bottom of a swimming pool. An entirely new cycle of insect and plant life bursts through its larval and seedling stages all at once, and it feels as if the Earth itself is yawning and waking up from a long nap: well rested, with its eyes opened toward a new dawn of opportunities and second chances for itself, and for all. It’s a truly amazing and indescribable sensation, and I can totally understand the spry and child-like giddiness of Ostara celebrations. I also think I can understand how the celebration of each holiday changes as the season moves on. As each major point in the season transitions into the next, a shift occurs in the substance of the air which causes that state of emotion and corresponding feeling to mature and affect change in a starkly different way.
For instance, during the calm period between intermittent waves of stormy weather, when the rain and noise has stopped, but there is visibly more on the horizon, the Earth takes a breath. The grass perks up from being flattened into submission, the loose mud settles back into solid ground as the moisture is absorbed, birds emerge to eat quickly before the rain begins again, and there is a sudden liveliness and a hungry fervor in the behavior of all the organic life around, like the heavy panting of a child swimming underwater and coming up for air just long enough to go back under again. There is a rich silkiness to the energy of that moment, like the first bite of an expensive piece of chocolate. Just taking a breath in makes you feel sated and fulfilled. There is a recognizable loveliness in the atmosphere that’s difficult to ignore. For me, it’s like being noticed by a pretty girl from across the room.
This is a part of what I’m feeling now as Beltane approaches.
It’s all so wonderful.
When each of these major periods of the season well up and shift through me, I feel baptized and rejuvenated. I feel ready to go out and make the absolute most of my short time and to stir the same enthusiasm and gentle kindness in others. How amazing it is to know that these types of holidays and events even exist at all: to know with certainty that at least one other person in the world has at some point in time felt the same things I do, much less the thousands upon thousands of practitioners who also feel these things. I’ve certainly made practical use of all these effects in the past, but I honestly have never given much thought to the connection they shared with the celebration of these holidays, and all that entails, until recently. So this has been a fascinating new exploration for me, despite how new and flustering it all can seem the deeper I dive into it. How exciting it is to be ignorant!
I’ve also never generally entertained the idea of group ritual before, because I honestly felt that what I do solitary was good enough for me. It works for my life and for others, and it has never needed any outside validation either. So I never considered doing anything more than chat with someone about spirituality, history, and magick. However, it’s really beginning to seem to me that if I’m going to understand many of the deeper realities and more subtle implications of the things I feel and experience, I’m going to need to divert from my personal walking route on the crooked path to join others on their own – even if just for a short conversation and the enjoyment of some good company before we divert again. Who knows? We may be able to guide each other quickly up the road to a place much further ahead, or better yet, to drastically different routes than we began on. I am endlessly excited, and ready for whatever comes.
My little walking path has the potential to turn into a jogging trail. Though If I need to run in order to keep up with my wiser colleagues, at least I’ll develop a bit of intellectual muscle in the process.