Happy May Day; I’m sorry to be late on this newsletter but I’ve been at a four day conference on sexuality and then celebrated with my goddess friends at the Awaken Your Inner Goddess retreat May 1st. But it’s not too late since this whole month is a juicy one!
Beltane, which means bright or sacred fire, was celebrated in the Celtic tradition starting on the eve of May 1st and lasted throughout the next day. It was often celebrated with feasting, dancing, and merriment all the way through May 15th. In the Gaelic traditions of Ireland, Scotland and Wales, Beltane refers to the entire month of May. So there’s nothing that says you can’t extend your celebration through the end of the month! Before it became taboo, Beltane was a time when lovers ran off to the woods together to honor the Goddess with ecstatic lovemaking. In Rome, Maia was the Goddess of May and celebrated with flowers and blooms in abundance. Flowers are indeed a very sexy display of nature’s fertility.
The ancient rites at Beltane celebrated the miracle of the renewal of life. One important ritual during this time was the enactment of the Sacred Marriage, which was a sexual union between the High Priestess and her consort. The rite revealed the deeper mysteries of sexuality as the life force and a pathway to expanded consciousness. It reflected the ancient belief in the integration of sex and spirit.
In a matter of several hundred years, Christian religion supplanted the pagan traditions and sexuality was split off from spirituality. However, some remnants of the old traditions continued. The May Basket is actually a symbol of the sacred marriage and the union of male and female. The Maypole, symbolizing the phallic energy of the season, was festooned with ribbons; dancing around it celebrated the power of sexuality. During the Renaissance, Mary was known as the Queen of May since she was the sole representation of the Divine Feminine in the predominantly masculine centered world. A popular prayer was “O Mary, we crown thee with blossoms today, Queen of the angels, Queen of the May.”
Today, there is a revival of interest in the Sacred Marriage. Besides the ritual enacted by the High Priestess and her consort, it refers to a particularly deep spiritual connection between partners in an on-going relationship. In addition, the Sacred Marriage is also the alchemical transformation within the individual, uniting the masculine and feminine energies within. It is the union of opposites that leads to personal wholeness and by extension, healthier relationships. Sacred Marriage ceremonies are important because they create the spiritual container for our goals and dreams. They empower us to invest in our chosen path as well as focus our aspirations for loving relationships of all kinds. A ceremony can set the stage for calling in your Beloved. However, if you want to make a powerful statement about your readiness for love...marry yourself first.
Loving one’s self is a spiritual law that guides the world of relationships; it is your personal soul journey into love. Marrying yourself is an intentional way to acknowledge self acceptance. You are blessing yourself with a life-long relationship you can count on; you are your own trustworthy friend. It honors your worth, holds you in high esteem and it opens the door for a partner to do the same. It is delightful to become the brightest star at the center of your own cosmos. This joyful inner energy will radiate towards others, attracting similarly divine people into your life. Your self marriage helps you accept your life with maturity, strength and grace and is the perfect affirmation that you are intuitive, magical, mystical, sparkling and most especially: juicy.
I spent May Day with a lovely group of women who gathered to explore the theme of the Sacred Marriage to self. The day’s experience brought home the powerful meaning of this rite that I might have once thought corny, or a bit too self centered. But it’s exactly what we need and I encourage you to create (a key word for this season) your own ceremony.
Please email me if you’d like some ideas and a guided meditation or two.