It is the first of May, or as I have been concentrating on dialogue with folk interested in the new spirituality movement this last week, it is Beltane, a time to celebrate the beginning of summer. The BBC web-site tells us that: Beltane is a Celtic word which means ‘fires of Bel’ (Bel was a Celtic deity). It is a fire festival that celebrates of the coming of summer and the fertility of the coming year. Celtic festivals often tied in with the needs of the community. In spring time, at the beginning of the farming calendar, everybody would be hoping for a fruitful year for their families and fields. Beltane rituals would often include courting: for example, young men and women collecting blossoms in the woods and lighting fires in the evening. These rituals would often lead to matches and marriages, either immediately in the coming summer or autumn.
Another advert for a TV programme that has caught my eye on the UK’s Channel 4 this weekend is called Love, Life and leaving; and is a look at the importance of celebrating the seasons of life through ritual and in the public eye, hence marriages, baptisms and funerals. I believe that we live in a ritually impoverished culture, where we have few reasons for real celebration, and marking the passages of life;So
1. Are ritual markings of birth marriage and death important to you?
Funny you should ask. It was just my birthday on Wednesday and, yes, it’s very important for me to celebrate for my birthday. I also really like other people’s birthdays, too. I’m a firm believer in celebrating people’s lives while they are alive.
2. Share a favourite liturgy/ practice.
3. If you could invent (or have invented) a ritual what is it for?
My favorite episode of Sex and the City is entitled “A Woman’s Right to Shoes”. In it, Carrie ponders the idea that after graduation, the only occasions that we celebrate are people’s choices to marry or have children (birthdays don’t count b/c we all have them). There’s no card for going on vacation alone or flatware for not marrying the wrong guy. I wish there was some sort of celebration for those of us who choose to not marry or have a family. Not begrudging those who do at all, but the rest of us should get something.
4. What do you think of making connections with neo-pagan / ancient festivals? Have you done this and how?
Since I usually get a Christmas tree I probably already do make those connections, and more, but don’t really know it. I should study more about this. It goes on the list.
5. Celebrating is important, what and where would your ideal celebration be?
Any time I’m surrounded by friends and family, that’s a perfect celebration.