Beltane is the season in which the Christian feast of Pentecost falls — a feast filled with tempestuous wind and sparkling fire. The Christian church inherited Pentecost (which simply means “the 50th day” ) from Judaism, where the 50th day after Passover is now more commonly called Shavu’ot (or the Feast of Weeks).
In Judaism, Shavu’ot is the celebration of the gift of Torah — the Books of Law — to the people. In Christianity, Pentecost is the celebration of the gift of the Spirit, come to empower and inspire the people. The story from the book of Acts tells of tongues of fire descending on the early disciples, who were suddenly able to speak languages they did not know in order to tell the story that had transformed their lives.
There are many who take the story literally and for whom speaking in (literal) tongues is an essential part of their faith. Others receive the story as metaphor. I was raised in one of the metaphorical traditions, so Pentecost is a time of pondering my ability (and, perhaps more importantly, my willingness) to communicate. It is a time of asking myself questions such as:
* How vulnerable am I willing to be in order to share my thoughts, my feelings, my hopes, my visions?
* Will I only speak with those who think or feel as I do — or am I willing to risk being seen as misguided or stupid or idealistic or too emotional by those who think or feel quite differently?
* Do I insist that someone listen to my story as a way to remind myself of my specialness? or am I willing to make it a story in which they find themselves? (In other words, will I learn a new language: their language?)
* Am I willing to listen with respect as well as speak with faithfulness? And am I willing to speak the truth I have received even when I suspect it may not be well received?
Beltane is a time of eros (romantic, passionate love). How do I manifest that love with my erotic partner (my husband), but also transmute it into a form of passion that can inspire others, protect the world, set high goals, solve problems, and nurture visions?
This week, I invite you to take some time — perhaps 15 minutes each day — to unfold into the following exercise:
Close your eyes if you are comfortable doing that. Or you may prefer to use the flame of a candle as a focal point to help your mind be still. Become aware of your breathing and allow it to be slow and deep, until you feel centered and calm.
Listen into silence. As the silence deepens, become listening. Let every atom and fiber of your being, become a listening presence.
[Allow 2 – 3 minutes of silence.]
Let your silence be alive with knowing. The spirit of the Universe is breathing into your silence with you, through you, in you: inviting, beckoning, prompting, summoning. You are being filled with the power of prophecy. Feel the breath moving in and out of your lungs. That is the holy breath, the Spirit ebbing and flowing, energizing you. Listen.
[Allow 2 – 3 minutes of silence.] You are being given a wisdom that is yours alone, a word, an act, a vision, a dream, a hope, that is yours, your prophetic witness in this moment, for this place and time in your life. When you have heard it, take 3 or 4 more deep breaths and then open your eyes gently and let yourself become centered in this time and place. Take some time to write or draw some reflections on the meditation, something that you can return to this week and consider again.
May you sense the fruitfulness that is blossoming in you. If this prayer speaks to you, feel free to use it when you rise or when you go to bed this week. Use it any time in the day that feels right.
Spirit-Energy of the Universe, I am welcomed into your hospitality.
Help me lay aside my distractions to be mindful of your presence.
Help me quiet the inner chatter to listen for your wisdom.
Help me release my tension to breathe in your inspiration.
Holy Spirit-Energy, set my heart alight with the fire of transformation.
Drench my soul in the water of creative chaos.
Lift my minds on the wind of insight.
Let it be so.
Photos © 2013, Immram Chara, LLC
Text © 2014, Andrea La Sonde Anastos