May Day (oh oh oh I'm on fire)

Spring fever: when every cell calls on you to lay in the light, to fling open the windows, to find a body that relishes your body and relish that body back. At Beltane, the world catches fire again, finally, after the long, good work of winter.

Whether or not the literal weather cooperates, we feel this pull to stir and stretch, to match the earth’s gradual awakening with our own. We look out into the world, look into the light half of the year and the possibilities it illuminates.

As the wheel of the year turns, I’m thinking about balance. How the light half of the year is necessary to balance the dark half. How what we receive from the world and its inhabitants must be balanced by what we give, and vice versa.

When we think about what we would like the world to offer us, what invitations and seductions and sweet temptations we would like laid at our doorsteps, it’s essential to think also about not what we give in direct trade – the universe doesn’t function on a barter system – but in what ways are we cycling good energy back into the world in the ways we move through it. What opportunities are we creating for others as well as ourselves? How are we generating more and more light and radiance in our everyday actions, in the ways we treat others – and the ways we treat ourselves?

I’m also thinking about balance in terms of hold and release. May Day is about the impetuous embrace of the possible, and it’s also about release. Crops will not grow if seeds are not planted, but they also will not flourish if they are over-watered, excessively pruned, obsessively tended.

We planted the seeds at the spring equinox, and now we pass into the growing season. We celebrate, we fertilize, we dream and dance. It is work to tend these fields of possibility, but it is a pleasure too. It is work to build a fire, but it is a joy to watch it burn. Today we are invited to see endless opportunities unfolding, and to commit to the joy and task of each as it arrives.

Thought exercise: As you sit on the greenest lawn you can imagine, or in the wildest field, dig your left hand into the earth. As the dirt and fragments of what’s growing there sift through your fingers and off your palm, something emerges. It is the seed of some kind, a bulb or husked thing. Holding it loosely, let it show you what is inside, into what it might grow. This is what the world is offering you. Will you receive it?

Dig your right hand into the soil as well. Let what you pull up sift through your loosely cupped hand. In it now is an object, a small box. Let it open or unfold to show you what is inside. This is what the world is asking of you. Will you offer it?

Feel the weight of each hand. Is the weight even? What might bring it into balance? See if you can bring your hands together, so both are in your field of vision. When you are done knowing what is in each hand, and feel a balance between them, put them back in the earth. Or put them up in the sky, or somewhere in your body – wherever they belong, wherever they will receive what they need to bloom.

Merry Beltane. Be gentle with your good self.