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Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Beltane, and a new day

When I woke up this morning, I thought of a phrase from one of my favourite books, 'Anne of Green Gables':  Today is always fresh, with no mistakes in it.

It's Beltane and we've got a card today with the sun sending out huge beams across the entire sky! And along with it, the wind sending leaves whirling around our Airy Princess of Swords, or Dreamer Princess in Emily Carding's Tarot of the Sidhe. I remember reading somewhere that Beltane, or May Day, used to be a day when people would take out their old winter bedding (probably some sort of bag or mattress stuffed with straw or wool or a combination of things gathered the previous summer), mats and the rushes or mats from the floors and burn them. Very practical; one can imagine all that bedding from the winter being pretty used up and ready to be replaced with fresh! Even though we don't need to do that anymore, we can continue the spirit of that ritual by looking at the things that perhaps used to make us comfortable but which are now outworn and ready to be replaced, and light our own Beltane fires to figuratively burn them away.

 Today's card is the Princess of Swords, who stands with her left hip toward us, right foot perched up on a rock (a very bold and assertive posture for a girl), her shoulder raised and chin held down toward the chest, which is a flirtatious or mischievous pose, really. The rock actually looks like a giant crystal. And out of her right hand she releases leaves, which are picked up by the wind, swirling around her in, to her point of view, an anticlockwise direction, and flying up behind her into the sky. The companion book has this verse:

'Her leaves are whispers on the wind
She will tell them how and why you sinned
She gleans her knowledge from the earth
And dreams of what its gifts are worth'

The image to me looks like she is releasing some sort of spell. It's one of the 'witchiest' looking cards in the deck in that way, in my opinion.

So instead of trying to figure out Carding's cryptic verse, I am going to relate it to the phrase I woke up to today: Today is always fresh, with no mistakes in it. Imagine that the leaves are those things you realised yesterday (with the Dreamer King) that ought to be cut off from your life. The Princess of Swords also releases them (maybe those are the 'sins'), but in a gentler way than her warrior father. She conjures them in her hand, then releases them to be carried away on the wind. It occurs to me that this would make a beautiful ritual for today's Beltane:

Imagine the brilliant blazing sun over head (or go out into it if you can today).  Sit or stand  in meditation with a loose fist, the other hand cupped around it. Think of all those things (or just those few things, the most important things) that you wish to release in your life and picture them as gathering in your hand. Feel the energy building in yourself, the desire to effect change growing and growing. Generate some true intent, feel it as a kind of burning or energy in your chest and arms, or where ever in your body you happen to feel it. Focus on the desire to well and truly be rid of these things. When you are ready, when the energy seems at a peak (if you wish, stand up and prop up one foot like the Dreamer Princess for this process, why not?) , lift your hands, open them, imagine those things as tiny, tiny leaves floating above or lying lightly on your hand. Send all that energy of intent down your arm and let it swirl there with those tiny leaves. Take a deep breath, and blow them away upward. Visualize the leaves flying away, and with them, feel the energy you raised leaving your body along your arm, and mixing with the leaves as they fly away around you anti-clockwise, away up into the air.  Imagine them unfurling into full-size leaves and blowing away around you, like the Dreamer Princess in the card. Imagine your hair and cape whipping about you in a great wind of change.  See and intend for these troublesome things to be lifted up and and carried away onto the horizon, where they will dissolve and dissipate and exist no more.

When the leaves are all gone and the wind dies down, give thanks. You might want to say a word, maybe even 'Today is fresh, with no mistakes in it.' Continue to bask in the glow of the Beltane sun, either literally or in your mind's eye, as you feel free of these troubles. Perhaps spend a bit of time visualizing your life now that you have released them, or just imagine the warmth of the sun as you feel your breath going in and out.

Happy Beltane and blessed be.

[A further note: Remember, you are already fresh with no mistakes in you. :) You are part of the totality and you are whole. Today's mantra:  Om purnam  -- translation:

This is whole. That is whole.
From wholeness comes wholeness.
Remove wholeness from wholeness, and wholeness remains.

In other words, we're all one, nothing is more significant than anything else.  Just one big joyous ball of everything! Dance to it!! Om shanti shanti shanti!]


  1. Beautiful suggestion for a ritual :) I've always seen the leaves as parts of a story that she is sharing with the world...