For those of you who aren't pagan, Tuesday was a holiday for us- Beltane. Most people call it May Day. For us, it is a holiday of fertility*. In our mythos, it is the day that the Lord and Lady connsumate their union. Its a really fun holiday. My coven had a really good time.
I actually started planning for Beltane way in advance this year, which is good. Last year, I might add, Beltane was the first holiday that our coven celebrated together so this year it was the one year anniversary of our founding. I've been trying to keep ahead of the game while the keeping ahead is good. Sakura and I are already planning Litha, our next holiday and Oscelot and I are working on Lammas together which is the one that follows after that. Its nice to have support and to have everyone pitching in.
The ritual went off without many issues. Now, originally we were going to do it outside, because its a great holiday for the outside and we like to be outdoors for ritual as much as possible. Unfortunately for our plans, though, it stormed the night before and our space was a bit like a bog. So, indoors we went. I wasn't bitter, its been hot already and the plants need the rain badly. I had backup plans anyway. Instead of a maypole we had a wreath that we baided indoors, so that worked out. We still giggled and had a good time. Rather than a belfire we had a big ring of candles in the floor, so we stepped over rather than jumped. But it was good.
For various and sundry reasons it turned out that only the founding members of our coven were able to be at ritual. It was a special night for us, we got to take time to look back and see how much progress we've made in the last year. Its meteoric, honestly. I'm really proud of everyone. Having that chance to be with the people we started with was really special. I enjoyed it quite a bit. We also got to take time to affirm the new goals we have for ourselves, and there is no doubt in my mind that we will meet them.
I look forward and i see us meeting our challenges head on. I'm excited to see the progress we're making. A year ago Oscelot could barely focus, and now she is earthing well, selecting a specialty and dare I say it- writing a lot better than I do when it comes to ritual prose and poetry. It puts me to shame. The stuff she wrote for this last one was beautiful and it stirred us in new ways. I was super proud. Sakura is becoming more and more the partner I've needed in the journey, and his wisdom and insight are always healthy for me. For being a fire sign, he has a remarkable way of grounding me. I suppose he's good at taming the fire inside me, the same way I am good at nourishing the things that grow inside of him. Kitten is a total powerhouse, and watching her work with her new specialty is amazing. Some nights we'll sit and work and do our instructions and I would swear she was tuning out from her place in the captains chair if it weren't for the fact that she always retains whatever it is we're talking about- whether she's listening or reading a book or staring off into space. I appreciate that about her.
As for me, I've found my no-space. I've learned to let things pass through me, so I can be more objective. I also have learned to make peace with my own psychic abilities, which are far different from those of the people in our group. It took me a long time to recognize that while I don't receive epic visions in meditation, I don't have wild dreams every night guiding me and while my vistis from my patron deities are far less frequent than those in our group, I still have gifts that other people can recognize. My innate sense of "knowing" is a wonderfl thing, something I took for granted up until recently. I never took time to appreciate that I can sense an aura without seeing it, that I can read tarot but I don't need the cards, that palmistry is second nature to me and that there's a letterbox in my head where I get direct messages without having to meditate. That's no small thing, and I didn't see that for a while.
With these moments of recognition, I can see where it is that I have most to grow. I have control issues still, personally and magically. The more I recognize it, though, the more I am able to learn control. I've began journaling more lately, and with it has come the realization that while I love myself, there are some parts of myself that I really don't like. I know (and don't object, those of you whom I know love me) that I am a vain person, that I'm proud, that I have a hard time letting things go and that I have a tendency to become obsessive about things. These are all faults, but they are things that if I face head on, I can turn to my advantage. Vanity can become confidence and self love. Pride can stimulate quiet humility and expertise when controlled. Obsession can become dedication if I allow myself to learn when and where to apply my ability to tune other things out in the determination to have what I seek. All of these things are good for me, if I let them be positive traits rather than negative ones. All I have to do now is learn how to do that.
Yesterday afternoon I cleansed, consecrated and empowered some of my newer magickal tools. One of them was a scrying mirror I purchased some months ago. At Sakura's wise suggestion, I empowered it with truth. I think he hit the nail on the head. With all of my abilities, I need to learn to seek what is real. What is honest and what is right. I think that's something I am learning to do. As I begin to use it, and as I work through my issues each day, I know that I have to take time to step away from my intense emotions, and my indecisions and feelings of doubt and become aware of what is true and real. I think my life will be much simpler if I can do that.
I expect things will get harder before they get easier. The last month hasn't exactly been a picnic for me. I know I spoke about the trip to the hospital, and I think even now I am feeling the effects of that visit. I am still tired quite a bit. Although I am no longer in pain, I know its almost time for me to cycle again, and I worry about how it will feel this time. I've been feeling more stressed, because the busy days are coming at work and I've got to keep my head on strait if I want to be successful there.
Personally, I've found my relationships becoming more complicated. I've discovered recently that some people I know are not entirely what I thought they were. This isn't a bad thing, just new. While it is something that takes perspective adjustment to get used to, I think its something that has made me as a person see things more clearly. I've discovered sometimes I make assumptions about people, and they aren't always right. I've discovered that I sometimes assume other people know how I feel, and they don't.
More than that, I've discovered that there are a lot of people in my life that I thought understood me, and they don't. It turns out that my motivations seem just as mysterious to other people as theirs do to me, regardless of how much I think I wear my heart on my sleeve. I think I'm really clear about my intentions through action and word. I feel like I'm honest about how I feel about things. But somehow, I'm not being clear enough. I find that frustrating, but I'll work to be more clear and to be more (heaven forbid!) direct about my wants, needs and opinions. Somehow, in the last month or so, I've discovered that even the people I know best, that know me best, are sometimes incorrect about the way I look at life.
I was discussing this with a couple of people the other day, because I am constantly suprised by the amount of people who see me as a cheerful person who is always in control. They see my life trucking along at a good pace. They see me as some sort of charismatic person who is able to win others over and get people to work with them at no cost of effort to myself. It amazes me. Because honestly, I'm not happy all the time. I have a happy life, but that's very different from me never feeling the effects of stress and anxiety. I have to work hard to control my emotions, and sometimes I don't think I do that great of a job at it either. I struggle, nearly every day, with the emotional burdens that I carry. My life does not run as smoothly as everyone seems to think it does.
Now, I do want to say, I have a good life. I have good friends that I love. I have a couple friends I am very close to, that I know would do anything for me, who accept me as I am- seeing those flaws other people look past and loving me (not just in spite of) because of them. I am learning to handle my stress and anxiety, i am becoming less stressed than I was. But those things that stress me out (work, coven issues, family issues, my personal and emotional issues, Kitten's school and work, etc) are never going to go away. I can only do my best to assimilate those things into my life in a manner that's conducive to me dealing with them. I'm extremely fortunate that I have people in my life who don't care that I'm an emotional mess sometimes, because they know that when they need me I'm going to be there to help them sweep up the remnants of whatever wreck they're in.
This has definately been a month for reflection, growth and shadow work for me. I'm looking forward to May being a more upbeat, cheerful month. My garden is in bloom, the girls and I set about making the one in the back a little healthier. I've got big plans, and if Kitten's intership falls through I've already gotten permission to go ahead with her suprises, she'll jsut help us with them. Life at my work has been more peaceful lately, and its looking like we're getting some new stuff, making some big changes company wide, and i'm pretty excited about them. Of course, its also always a huge comfort to know I've got Shorty, Spice and Flyguy there for me, and not a day goes by that I don't work with either one of them, or with Oscelot. I've got a great support system.
In other interesting May Day news, I actually took the time to get flowers for some of the people in my life. I'm not sure if you're familiar with the custom, but on May Day you're supposed to get up early and leave flowers at the door of people you love. Each flower means something different, so selecting them is part of the fun. This year we got Kitten's mom Orchids. We actually bought her and my mom and Grandma potted plants so they could enjoy them for more than a few days. Orchids are for regal beauty. If I had a picture of Kitten's mom, I would post it so you could see, as Sakura puts it "There's no question where Kitten gets her good looks." I bought my mom a lavendar plant. Now, I didn't know when I purchased it (because I didn't have my book with me) lavendar is meant to mean distrust. I actually trust my mom now more than I ever have, so I think I look at it more as me not having the distrust anymore. Plus, Lavendar is a great flower for relaxation, and if there's anyone I know who needs to relax its my mom. I got my grandmother red asiatic (pixie) lilies. They're for majesty. I'm picking her up more next week, and I'll get a yellow one, because that's for gratitude. Those were special for me, because I didn't realize my great grandmother's home, where my Grandma now lives, used to have a full bed of them. When she passed on, my Grandma dug up the lilies for her sister, who loved them. For me, it was like giving may flowers to both my Grandma and Great Grandma, because they both loved them, and my Grandma missed them. Hence the reason I'm going to go get her more. I figure one plant is pathetic, but a whole bed as a suprise would take her breath away. The girls and I sent flowers to Flyguy too, he got Peonies for bashfulness, Irises which mean "your friendship means so much to me" and three roses- two yellow and one red for friendship and love. He asked for a cut bouquet and they look really pretty, even if I did only wrap them in newspaper.
I didn't get my coven mates flowers. Mostly because they either already have gardens, have no place to put them. I figure if they want flowers they know where my garden is, and they get all the roses and rose petal they want. Hell, bamboo too. Soon peonies, because my grandma promised me a start off my great grandma's bush, which will be awesome. Of course, I'll buy other bushes, but having my Grandma's bush will make them something special to me. Anyway, they get to spend ritual with me anyway, and we have gifts to share that have nothing to do with flowers.
I'll only bore you with one more May Day tale, and this is one you might find amusing. I sure did. Another tradition we have is to "bathe in the dew of the May" which pretty well means wash yourself with dew, rainwater or spring water collected on the first day of May. Its supposed to ensure you no blemishes and to make you beautiful. Now, whether or not you belive that, its a pretty fun custom. Since it was thunderstorming, I was unable to do what I had intended, which was hike down the the spring behind Happy Waffle and collect enough for the coven, since we were all meeting for breakfast. I could hear the rush of the lovely flash flood from the parking lot, so I figured that and the lightning and the dark were enough reason to hold off on that. So we had breakfast and washed in dew collected from our rain barrels. Well, our faces and arms anyway.
Kitten missed out on this, because she was at work. When we went as a group to pick her up we hicked down to look at the now happily flowing but not dangerous spring. Kitten asked me what the procedure was. I giggled. I had forgotten she hadn't done it, but she was determined to have her turn even if it meant dunking in her work clothes. So we sprung out on rocks in the middle of the creek, big fat ones we lay on in the summer while we put our feet in the water. Her and Oscelot stuck their heads right in. I opted for laying on my back and putting my head in the rushing waterfall beside the rock. Sakura, who stayed ashore because his shoes had a hole in them and he didn't have a spare pair, was obliged by Kitten - who filled up her ballcap and dumped it over him so he could wash too. We exchanged smiles, and according to tradition, compliments. You're supposed to tell the people with you what it is that makes them beautiful to you. It was a good time. I also think that Sakura got some good pictures of us looking like dorks while we got ourselves all wet.
In the end, though, I felt a lot more beautiful and a lot more clean. And that's what its all about, right?
I hope all of you got May off to a great start, and that you've got someone to tell you how beautuful and special you are. If not, you come find me, I bet I could help you out.
Blessed Be, my friends.
* In hindsight, I feel like I ought to point out that fertility is not just about having babies. Its also about growth and new life. It means fetility of mind and spirit- creativity and the ability or change yourself into something new and better. This holiday, for my coven at least, is also one where not only the Lord and Lady get married, but we celebrate our being wedded to the divine, and to all things. I felt like I should clear that up, especially for those of you who know how child free I am...etc.
As a personal post script- Swiss, if you're reading...I had three different references to William it Was Really Nothing this week. Actually, The Smiths have been inhabiting my life lately. They're taking over. Not that I mind, because you were right. I love them.