Pagans work with fire to celebrate Beltane.
The word ‘Beltane’ roughly translates as ‘bright fire’ and is the festival to welcome the return of fertility to the land—a time to celebrate youth and sensuality.
After months of huddling near hearth fires to keep warm from Winter’s snow and ice, ancient communities moved into the village commons to dance around the brightness of Beltane fires. Hearth fires were extinguished and rekindled with flames from the Beltane fires.
The return of fertility to the land reminds us about the importance of wildness. Intimacy with our wild self opens up fresh edges for connection with mystical experience and overflows into vast reservoirs of creativity and intelligence in the world. It also helps us take our place in the inherent wildness of the natural world.
Beltane is a time to rekindle divine youth. In the responsibilities and difficulties of life (sometimes they can feel like long, cold Winters), it is easy to forget about playfulness, freedom, innocence, joy, imagination, wonder, laughter and adventure. Beltane is a time to hear the Call of the Divine Youth from the Fellowship of the Phoenix, a queer pagan group in Chicago.
I am the Divine Youth,
And we have met before.
For I am everywhere,
In you, in this community.
I am also nowhere in particular.
I am mischief.
Sometimes I will trip myself
Just to see what happens.
I am the stars,
The spark in your eye.
I am the cry of joy.
I am innocence!
Marveling at the world.
I am laughter,
The purpose of a game,
The rulebook just gets in the way.
Look in my eyes, and know me,
For we have met before.
I am the young god of the dance club.
Reveling in the new sensations,
The lights, the sounds, the movement.
I am the artist,
Flirting with the new and wild,
Always the first to try.
I am the change.
All things are new!
Reborn with every waking moment.
Look in yourself, and find me,
For we have met before.
You are the laughter,
The Child, the muse.
For I have always lived inside you.
No matter your years,
From youngest to oldest,
My magic has always flown through you.
Get your head in the air,
Get your feet off the ground,
Allow yourself a daydream.
Through touch, through sound,
Through taste, smell, and sight,
Experience the world around you.
Most of all,
Feel me in your soul.
I am Wonder, the glories of youth,
And I live on through you.
Or as Oscar Wilde put it, “Life is too important to take seriously.”
Beltane is also a time to rekindle sensuality. The exercise below gives us an opportunity to create a date with our wild self. Learning to be intentional about pleasure and sensuality puts us back in touch with our desires and deepens and broadens the possibilities of pleasure.
- Broader so that pleasure includes the whole continuum of sexuality from the sensual to the erotic
- Deeper by strengthening sexual potency
- Broader by opening the whole whole body to the erotic
- Deeper by ritualizing erotic energy
Pagans work with fire to celebrate Beltane. We can playfully work with sensuality so that it overflows the grooves of limited imagination.
A Beltane Exercise
Take 30 minutes to plan a play date with your wild self, intentional time for pleasure and sensuality. Sensuality is our ability to connect to, awaken, and embody pleasure through sight, taste, smell, touch, sound. Take a notepad and pen and write down your desires and construct a play date based on those desires.
Listen to your desires fully and answer the following questions:
- What do you want to touch?
- What do you want to smell?
- What do you want to see?
- What do you want to taste?
- What do you want to hear?
Use the answers to these questions to construct a play date with your wild self. Once the date with your wild self is complete, follow through on the date!
Examples: “I want to cook my favorite Italian meal and enjoy dinner with jazz music and red wine”; “I want to make love with my boyfriend in a candlelit shower alive with the aroma of cedar essential oil”; “I want to enjoy smelling flowers at the Botanic Gardens”; “I want to wear my pup gear and be submissive to whatever my handler wants”; “I want to play with all of my erogenous zones while burning sage and listening to dance music”; “I want to swim naked in a lake under the full moon.”
The possibilities are endless. How do you go deeper with sensuality? How do you go broader?
Working with sensuality.