Today is Beltane, the ancient Gaelic (pagan) tradition in celebrating half way between Spring Equinox and Summer Solstice. It is when Spring is at it’s peak, the days are getting longer and warmer, and the first signs of summer are establishing themselves. The Earth’s energies are at their most active as the blending of the intuitive inner energy and the active outer energy brings manifestation and fertility. This is the life force at its most potent and powerful, and the right time to use the expansive energy to its fullest potential.
I started to follow the seasons a lot more when I moved away from Edinburgh in 2002 and moved to the north-east of England. I felt that it was full of industry, lots of concrete and not much earth. I was missing the connection with the earth, so I first started to follow the moon and it’s monthly cycle. Following time by the moon rather than the Gregorian calendar.
I then found the book Sacred Celebrations, which provided a description and ways to follow and celebrate the wheel of the ‘Solar Year’. The Celtic peoples celebrated the cyclic flow of the year at eight point’s during the year’s cycle. Having festivals at each, celebrating the earth and her seasons, ourselves and each other, our achievements as well as our loses, and to come together as a community, to share ourselves, our food and drink, dance, sing and reflect.
In 2012 I joined the Edinburgh Beltane Fire Society, which is a community of people that mark these festivals. The most well known one in Edinburgh, is Beltane, on 30th April with a Festival on Calton Hill. There are over to 300 performances and up to 10,000 revellers who join together to celebrate the ending of winter and the coming of summer. I have been a ‘performer’ for a number of years. Not only performing at the festival, but the many after parties following it. Plus the practises leading up to it. It’s a fantastic community, of like minded people.
This year, due to my business growing, I could not dedicate the time to be part of the Beltane Festival.
With lock-down, it has, for the first time, been moved to a virtual festival.
I have just watched it. I must say it is the best thing I have watched / been to virtually since lock-down (except Julie’s Quiz Night 😉 ).
If you want to get a better idea of what the festival looks like in Edinburgh – check out the full video. Even just the beginning you will get a good sense of it. There is lots of fire, paint, rituals and nakedness – here it is – https://beltane.org/bonfire-beltane-online-fire-festival/
I missed not being outside on Calton Hill, but was still lovely to mark it.
The Virtual Festival began with a lovely introduction, which I have included below:
“Beltane has been celebrated for more years that any of us has been here.
Beltane will be celebrated for years after we have gone.
Beltane will be celebrated where ever we are. Whether we are on the hill or not. Whether we can gather together in our community or not.
Beltane Fire Festival is but a flash in time, in the wider and older history of Beltane. A mere couple of decades old. Our absence from our now traditional home and our separation from our physical community will hopefully be but just a short speck of time.
Our rituals history is much older. Has endured through time. Our community will also endure.
It is time.
Look to the air, it is getting warmer.
Look to the earth, new growth is coming.
Look to the fire, the summer is starting.
Look to the water, as it shines in the sun. .
The May Queen is eternal and wakes us.
The Green Man senses the season is passing…and is compelled to emerge. We invite you, our distributed and dispersed community…to gather with us this evening.
To light the fire, in your hearts and your holes and watch the wheel turn, as has for millennia, as it will for millennia to come.
Last night I was in bed at 11.05pm. The last time I was in bed that early, was on Day 2 of lock-down! I woke up at 6.45am (obviously my body had enough sleep by then). Then dozed until 7.30am. So another early start. After walking Honey the Dog, I had a shower and did my food shop in Lidl, then had breakfast and was still ready for Chi Gong at 08:45am. We had the biggest group today with 13 people!
Then I did some work, recorded yesterdays blog for the radio and completed my self-assessment for 2019-2020!
I went up the road to do some jobs (without Honey) and found The Ear Shop was open!
My letter from Nicola Sturgeon (First Minister of Scotland) arrived today. We got one from Boris Johnson (which arrived a couple of weeks ago) and also one from Nicola Sturgeon. I haven’t read it yet.
Earlier in the week Nicola Sturgeon advised people in Scotland to wear face masks when in supermarkets, trains, buses, etc…
In Lidl this morning, nearly everyone was wearing a face mask. There were about 15 people in the shop and only myself and one lady didn’t have one on. So it definitely is going to become the “new norm”.
This afternoon I went for a run (the first in a week) with Honey the Dog. My legs were sore and I was feeling unfit and realised I need to start getting back into running.
Whilst on my run, Colin (from Dalmeny Street Park that I am on the Committee) phoned. So I stopped running and sat down and chatted for a while.
During that time a bouncy Labrador puppy came bounding up to see me and Honey. The puppy found the treats I had for Honey and wouldn’t got away!
Then back home, cooked dinner and started watching Beltane Fire Festival.
I am definitely planning a new 1 hour meditation for Sunday at 12.30pm. Apart from the last 15 minutes it is all to music and movement. It’s taken me a while to get the files for it and merge them altogether. But I did this today.
I will post about it tomorrow. But if you fancy coming along, keep Sunday 12.30pm to 1.30pm free.
If no one comes along, I am happy to do it on my own!
You’ve met Matt a few times time in Readers Corner, including yesterday. This was a comment he made to yesterday’s blog on Facebook
“Lovely stuff on Leith and the border. Is there not a phrase / idiom: I’m really in a Pilrig muddle here. And what it might mean?!”
I found a bit more about the ‘Pilrig Muddle’ today. On a busy day, the Pilrig Muddle of people changing trams was quite chaotic. Leith had its own police and fire services, separate criminal court, town hall and councillors.
This article in the Edinburgh Evening News, describes that there were different licencing laws in Edinburgh and Leith. So in the Boundary Bar, there was a dividing line and two doors – one door would be on the Edinburgh side and the other on the Leith side.
The licensing laws in Edinburgh served alcohol until 9.30pm, but the Leith Liquor Licensing Laws served until 10pm. So at 9.30pm, everyone would move across the line in the bar and would continue drinking for another 1/2 hour. Then leave the bar through the Leith door.
In 1920 there was a vote to try and solve the problem – Every 6 Leithers to 1 Leither voted to keep Leith separate from Edinburgh, but still a by-law was formed to bring Leith and Edinburgh together.
Thanks Matt for your comment, made me do some more research.
Lisa first appeared on the blog yesterday.
“Congratulations on your new Leith residency and living in the sexiest place on earth.
I’ve never watched either of those films although I’ve heard of Trainspotting!
I love listening to the birds sing, It makes me feel grounded and so alive.
I think it’s because when my Nan was dying, I sat by her bedside day and night for 4 days and early in the morning, I would step outside for a bit of fresh air for a few moments.Hearing the birds sing brought me back to reality and feeling like I was in the land of the living. It’s been 5 years this year and still has that effect on me, it brings a sense of calm and peace.
Hope today has brought you fun and new adventures!”
Thanks for that Lisa.
For regular readers, you don’t need to be introduced to Fi. She lives on the Isle of Canna and captured so great photos and a film. She also wrote a little, whilst on her trip on the West Side of the Island. Below are the two photos (in a Photo Gallery, so you can click on the photos to see the full size.
At the bottom is the video she took of a Sea Eagle & Buzzard.
“I have found 4G on the west side of the island
That’s Barra and the Uists in the background.
A sea eagle being harassed by a buzzard, for readers corner.
That might not upload til I get back.
The video is half uploaded.
4G has vanished
Another one for you. Tarbert beach”.
I feel that there is a feeling of acceptance growing within me.
An acceptance that this lock-down will be with us for a while to come.
The first few weeks, I was excited about the newness – struggling at times and not having any routine. The next few weeks, I struggled to create some kind of routine and adjustments to it all, but was still exhausted.
But now, I feel I am moving into a new phase, a phase of acceptance. Trying to create a new routine and life that allows me to function – with the knowing that this is a new way of being and living for the foreseeable future.
It was been lovely to celebrate Beltane today. I always love this time of year – when the whole earth is full of energy and fully alive. All the bright colours, the birds, the animals, nature. You can feel all the energy in the air.
So as I come to the end of tonight’s blog, I encourage you to notice the earth’s life force and celebrate, in your own way, the coming of summer. Beltane is a festival of fertility, expectation and a feast of life. It is a time to be in touch with the instinctive wild forces within and without. The festival, led to the familiar May Day.
It is a time when we can use the earths energy, to let go of things of the past and move forward, to be born again. So I encourage you to reflect on the winter months, of things you want to let go off, placing them in a virtual or real fire – burning the past, clearing a path, to become open, manifesting and embracing the new.
Lots of Love.