In early 1986, as I tried to make sense of the shattered remains of an almost 10-year marriage, my father said to me, “You know, my dear, not everything in life can be neatly wrapped with a well-tied bow. Sometimes it just gets put on the shelf in pieces.” I was 34.
In the intervening (almost) three decades, I have gotten better at accepting that my mental and spiritual storage will be more like a scrap bag than the pictures of Elfa closets in the Container Store catalogue. There’s a kind of salvage quality to it, like half-written poems, or photos in which I can’t remember everyone’s name, or a sales receipt for something that must have been important once. The willingness to move past trying to get it alphabetically sorted, in color-coordinated file folders has made coming to the end of a season (or a job, a project, a life-stage, a friendship) somewhat easier (if more whimsical) to navigate.
However, just like packing up a house, it is not uncommon for the odd unrelated object (or moment) to get swept up and filed in the ‘wrong’ spiritual-psychological box/bag/folder and months later, when I finally open that container for some reason, it falls out – often to my delight and surprise.
Therefore, I invite you to join me in sitting lightly to packing away this season of Beltane, to gathering its wisdom as we prepare to move on. You may actually be as organized as I like to think I am, but don’t worry if there are some oddities and one-offs that don’t really ‘fit’ into your system. Trust the process. And remember that seasons tend to seep across their edges more often than not, regardless of our assiduous filing.
So, let’s put Beltane away with some attention and intention – not because it is over, but so that you will know where to find your memories of it when you go looking. You are also guaranteed to find one or two leftover bits still lurking around several days or weeks from now, and you can throw those in the (mental) folder when they turn up, but for the meantime these are the questions I am using to help me reflect. Maybe you would like to think about one per day for the next few days.
* Where did you experience growth during these three months?
* Where did you notice your energy being over-extended or, conversely, under-utilized?
* From where do you draw smooth, uninterrupted power or energy to fuel your work and re-creation?
* Where are you feeling limits or boundaries that restrict? Where is there new spaciousness?
* What opportunities were you offered to stretch into greater strength, skill, vision, witness?
Maybe you did great and glorious things this season. Perhaps you had your “run into a burning building to save a child” moment or your 15 minutes of fame, but my guess is that most of us are looking at smaller movements and changes. Small is not to be despised — one of the most famous parables is about the grain of mustard seed. The point is to pay attention to the incremental shifts. A seed breaking open underground gets no attention at all, but there is no sunflower without that moment of transformation. Celebrate the little moments that no one else may ever notice.
And it might be helpful to write your answers down in your journal. The entry or entries don’t need to be the length of War and Peace, but you might want to shape some phrases that help you remember who you perceived yourself to be in this particular snapshot of time.
On the evening of July 31 (Thursday), it can be nice to offer a benediction to the passing season from the back door or patio of your house. On Friday morning, August 1, you may want to welcome the new season into your life at the front door. Saying good-bye and saying hello are two of the most important tasks in our temporal lives. Might as well practice…
If these words work for you, feel free to use them. But this is your farewell and your greeting, so feel free to use your own words, too.
warm presence enfolding intense days
and breathless nights,
relentless green energy
pushing up from dormancy,
to unfurl like zucchini vines across
the geography of my spirit.
My gratitude for your sojourn with me
bursts open buds
and showers flower petals
in explosions of thanksgiving.
Fare you well in your journey south
wrapped in my blessing
which is fruit of your blessing.
Come you in, Abundant Giver.
You arrive draped in blessings
which you scatter with generous hands:
nourishment of grain,
refreshment of grape,
fulfillment of acorn and walnut and filbert,
clarity of wisdom,
healing of peace,
compassion of rest,
vision of leadership,
bounty of harvest,
steadfastness of truth.
Come you in and be welcome
at the hearthfire of my heart.
Text © 2014, Andrea La Sonde Anastos
Photos © 2014, Immram Chara, LLC
NOTE: Friday, August 1, is the beginning of Lughnasadh (the autumn quarter). Starting that day, new art and cards will be available in the store section of the website and in my Etsy shop. Plan to come see!