Aphrodite – Lady of Sweetness

fullness

I am starting my mini-series about the deities that I currently honour with a goddess who I have known about all my life but only recently felt compelled to build a relationship with.  Given that I have been coping with grief and loss for many months, Aphrodite’s bright, vibrant energy felt very attractive to me, a much needed balance to my own journey through Persephone’s shadows.

As I began to read about her, it struck me how much in the popular imagination of our culture, that her deeper mysteries and power have been rather reduced. She is often depicted as a sex kitten, which is not to say she doesn’t have her flirtatious, promiscuous moments, but as a goddess of love, passion, union and sex, this rather shallow interpretation minimizes the depth and impact of all she represents. After all, love and sex can initiate our most profound, transformative experiences.  Aphrodite is the energy in nature that draws things into union – a connecting force; through her we build relationship not only with lovers, but all the other things in our life that draw passion and love from us – be it our life’s work, nature, our families, our creativity. She teaches us that such unions of passion and love change us, challenge us and work on us. Anyone who has ever been in a long-term relationship will know that in our lover’s eyes we ultimately find ourselves – the very best of who we are but also our shadow. Through union with another, we are offered the opportunity to not only know our partners more intimately but, in the process, learn more about ourselves; this can been the best of journeys and the most painful but it will never leave us the same – it is just not meant to.

swans

 

It has been of great interest to me that Aphrodite and Persephone have mythic connections.  They share a love of Adonis – after his death he lives part of the year in the underworld with Persephone and part in the land of the living with Aphrodite. They are also both key players in the story of Psyche and Eros. Psyche is tested by Aphrodite, given almost impossible tasks to prove her worthiness for the love of Aphrodite’s son, who himself is also a god of love. Psyche translates as ‘breathe’ and can be understood in the deeper sense as ‘soul’. This feels key to me with regard to Aphrodite’s more profound mysteries – the story of Psyche seems to suggest the soul’s growth and transformation through its encounter with love. Psyche’s trials on her journey to be reunited with Eros, takes her to the Underworld – Persephone’s realm ; love with all its pleasures and joys, undoubtedly has its shadow side, and we often meet these head on in our relationships: jealousy, betrayal and conflict. Like Psyche, our naivety about love and ourselves is burnt away in the crucible of our emotions, and the most direct and powerful of arenas for this transformation to manifest is our relationships with others.

This link between Aphrodite and Persephone resonates with the earlier Sumerian mythology of Inanna and her sister Ereshkigal . Inanna was a goddess of fertility, love, lust and battle, and like Aphrodite was associated with the planet Venus, as morning and evening star. Although the Classical Aphrodite was only associated with love, we can see echoes of Inanna in her connection to the God of War, Ares.  Inanna descends to the Underworld realm of her sister Ereshkigal and is kept prisoner there. Like the Persephone/Aphrodite/Adonis myth, we see the seasonal story enacted, but it also says much about what happens when love is lost to us or our assumptions about love are dismantled. When love turns sour, or love is denied us through rejection, conflict or even bereavement, we too must engage with our own emotional descent.  This journey, although challenging, potentially deepens not only our understanding about love but our ability to love in a more profound and authentic way.

aphrodite roses1

 

When we examine the power of love to impact upon our very souls, Aphrodite’s ‘Sex Kitten’ image really doesn’t do her justice. Having said this, she is an essentially joyful goddess – love may bring us to our knees on occasions but it also brings us our happiest moments. For me, she is key to our creativity. As a goddess of attraction and union, she opens us to life and experience. When we look through her eyes, we are struck by the beauty not only of our beloved but of the world. Her energy is expansive, it is hard to contain it – love flows outward, to be miserly in its expression means that it shrivels and dies. Aphrodite knows that energy functions in exchange –the more we give, the more we have. She is a goddess that heals the split between body and spirit because for her there is no separation; through the sensual pleasures of the body and the intense emotional  connection that sex can bring, she affords us the opportunity to ground ourselves in the world  and in our bodies in the most joyful and energising ways.

Born from the foam, she is also a Goddess of the ocean and as fishermen once prayed to her to guide them through choppy seas to safe harbour, she can protect and navigate us through the turbulent waters of our emotions. I am lucky enough to live merely feet from the ocean and I watch over Aphrodite’s waters every day. I am struck by how relentlessly changing they are, very rarely truly flat calm. But Aphrodite’s numerous ancient epithets had her as Lady of Safe Harbour, and through her connection to Venus, Goddess of Gardens, she can bring us to a place of peaceful sanctuary.

aphrodite4

These last few weeks have seen Venus as the evening star.  I have watched her from my balcony shining above the sea as the sun is setting. She is stunningly beautiful and bright. As evening star, we watch her set below the horizon on her Underworld journey and we are reminded of our capacity to hold onto hope in our darkest times. As the morning star, she seemingly rises up from the earth, returning from the Underworld and teaching us of renewal. These settings and risings can remind us about the cycles of love, the way it can renew, burn fiercely, die back , then renew again, each of these emotional states a gift that can deepen our understanding of who we are and how we relate.

Aphrodite is both profound love and passion, and the horniest sex – she doesn’t see the separation between these. She can bring flippant encounters that are pleasurable but will never be lasting, but she truly comes into her own in our deepest love matches. The Greeks had her as both Aphrodite Urania, the starry goddess of Spiritual Love and Aphrodite Pandemos, earthy, goddess of the masses: Aphrodite contains these seemingly contradictory states within her and confounds all our most limiting assumptions about love.

She is also supremely helpful in teaching us how to love ourselves. It may be a cliché to say it but we love others more effectively, and perhaps less painfully, when we have a healthy sense of self-appreciation.  Aphrodite can teach us to take tender loving care of ourselves and to love and take pleasure in our bodies and beings; she can also encourage us to enjoy life and its pleasures, to revel in ourselves and the things that bring us joy.

Aphrodite came to Classical Greece via Cypress. The Cypriot Aphrodite was a much more rounded and complex goddess who, for me, is closest to how I experience her. She is essentially life-affirming; demanding that we engage with it, be touched, moved and changed by it. When we hammer up boards to keep life out, she will come like a tsunami to break our defences but when we embrace her fully and openly, we are rewarded with sweetness, depth, joy and transformation.  She is a garden in blossom, a sun-filled sea, an unforgettable kiss; she is every moment that reminds you how grateful you are to be alive; she is the flower that opens to the bee.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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There Amongst the Wreckage

I cried today. Feelings surfaced, rising up through the murk of a difficult and confusing few days; seeping through the layers of tiredness accumulated over these last few weeks of uncertainty. Love can make the strongest of us vulnerable and open; it is the nature of love to shake the walls and foundations, let the light in, allow the deluge to wash over us. It is both thrilling and terrifying; comforting and unnerving. New love, at it’s most tender and burgeoning, can have us flighty as teenagers and just as unsure; we feel every emotion possible in a single day, and we feel it intensely.

In the course of leaving my marriage of 27 years, I met, once again, someone whom I had loved many years ago. Falling in love all over again has been an extraordinary experience, one that has brought both pain – as both of us tackle the challenges of leaving long-term relationships – and undeniable joy.

No one expects when they marry to walk away from that relationship; we hope that love will endure; that we will continue to grow together as couples. For many this remains a reality, for others, we learn that we can love and be loved by more than one person in a lifetime; that couples can grow apart and that, beyond an honest effort to work at something, can reside the hurt of having to accept that a relationship has run its course. This realization brings deep sadness and guilt and a host of paradoxical feelings.

I met my husband when I was seventeen. I married at nineteen. Looking at our wedding photographs, we are children, our faces plump, fuller in the way that young people’s are before a little aging sculpts them and they lose their puppy fat. I look at kids of that age now and am shocked at how unformed and naive they are, knowing full well that I was the same but yet was making choices and decisions complicated enough for adults, let alone teenagers. I had so much more certainty and trust back then, launching out into love and life in the most reckless of ways, barely thinking about the consequences, merely living to the rhythm of my own emotions. It was a turbulent time but the deep love I felt for my husband and the bond of our friendship (which thankfully still remains), meant that moving forward was simple and direct – difficult at times but direct nonetheless.

With age comes the inevitable painful experiences that might lead us to temper our recklessness and forgo our trust in happy endings. We might replace it with a stifling caution that can, at times, keep us emotionally safe but also cripple our spontaneity and undermine our sense of faith that love can work. In short, love can get more complex and tricky, and the stakes higher, the older we get.

I never thought I would fall in love again. I had gotten to the stage where I believed that it was merely a set of psychological processes, one that could be deconstructed, explained away by hormones or nature’s imperative to reproduce. I knew that love was real, that we feel love for our children, families, friends, pets, partners etc,  but falling ‘in’ love could not be trusted.

My cynicism was really a cover for a deep sadness that the feeling of intense emotion – that perfect madness, the ecstatic sickness that falling in love can be – was lost to me. What I didn’t bargain for was that life would prove me wrong; would challenge my assumption by bringing the one person who could have touched and changed me, back into my life. And he has done just that – touched me back into life.

I wrestle with the endings – the hurt that both our estranged partners are feeling; the life-time of shared experiences left behind – on a daily basis. It isn’t easy to walk away from home and security; from a world that is safe and known; from companionship, from people who have perhaps witnessed us at our lowest and our best. However, sometimes we reach a point when we recognize that something in us is dying, and nothing less that the most drastic of measures will save us.

Today, when I cried, the man who has brought that love back into my life, held me. And in that simple but deep act of sharing I see that – there amongst the wreckage –  love is a green shoot, surprisingly resilient. It grabs us and shakes us beyond our will or reason back into life, wringing out of us the fear and the passion; the joy; the churning uncertainty and the stillness at the heart of chaos. Love is fingers entwined in the darkness; the soft touch of the future on your cheek; it is a song once lost, now remembered…and when it comes, it changes everything.

 

Beltane, St Teresa and the Greening.

A Yoni Tree - a very tall and beauitful Douglas Fir in the New Forest

I am often struck how in the depths of winter there is a point when the trees have been bare so long it’s hard to imagine them with leaves. Equally, in the midst of summer, it becomes difficult to imagine them ever being naked again. We adapt remarkably well to the change. However, this time of year brings that incredible, pivotal point between those two extremes and everywhere this extraordinary explosion of life is played out in the colour green; not just any green – this green is the green of pure joy. It is one of those particular shades that impacts upon the emotions with such immediacy and power, it is hard not be lifted, impossible to resist the catching of our breath. The whole world is a sleepy face and that spring green a handful of cool water; Mother Nature wakes our beleaguered winter spirits with it and as if the year had never grown old and tired, we are in one glance renewed.

Looking out over the Island at present, across the downs, fields and woodlands, it is the dominant colour. There is always a point in the year when that brightness mellows into the gold of summer crops and hedgerows but for now that irrepressible shade hums happily, the purples and pinks of bluebell and red campion; the whites and yellows of stitchwort, wild garlic, celandine and late primroses set beautifully against it.

My neighbour’s apple trees have blossomed, that wonderful, delicate, pinkish white peaking over the tops of the high fence. I love apples trees; orchards are mysterious and intriguing places. There is something very moving about gnarled and aged apple trees blossoming; I find the same with hawthorn too. There are some incredibly old hawthorns up on the downs here, their branches ribbed, twisted and snake-like. These ancient, bony old ladies blossom with all the beauty of young maidens at this time of year. As I grow older, the sight of these extraordinary trees so stunningly dressed helps me to remember that the joys of Beltane are not just for the young; love and desire burn as strongly in all of us, no matter what our age. Getting older offers us the gift of the realisation that this passion and desire for union can be felt not only with a lover but with the entire world around us; it also drives our relationship with the Divine. Even in religions such as Christianity – where sexual desire might sadly be seen as less than holy – those links between the ecstasies of the flesh and the spirit can still be found. If you don’t believe me then check out the extraordinary devotions of St Teresa of Avila:

I saw in his hand a long spear of gold, and at the iron’s point there seemed to be a little fire. He appeared to me to be thrusting it at times into my heart, and to pierce my very entrails; when he drew it out, he seemed to draw them out also, and to leave me all on fire with a great love of God. The pain was so great, that it made me moan; and yet so surpassing was the sweetness of this excessive pain, that I could not wish to be rid of it…

Beltane is so much about the urge to connect, to blend and merge; to feel a part of something extraordinary; to at once lose one’s sense of self in that merging but also to paradoxically feel more absolutely and truly oneself because of it. In the desire to penetrate life’s mysteries, we need also to open ourselves to them, surrendering to the power of love that it may have the opportunity to transform us. Great things are born in us at such moments of union; this place of merging is where the tap root of our creativity feeds, without it we feel dry and disconnected. If that magical, alchemical moment of connection and merging were a colour, I suspect it might be perceived as many beautiful, vibrant shades but it foundation, I feel sure, would be the green of spring: ecstatically joyful – the irrepressible life and desire that leads us to love. As St Teresa once wrote:

 It is love alone that gives worth to all things.

The Yoni opening even had tree resin dripping out of it!

Keeping the Heart Open

One of the joys of practicing Yoga has been the exploration of the chakra system. As systems golike the beautiful Pagan Wheel of the Year – it is an elegant and profoundly useful tool for spiritual development. Of late, I have been focusing on the link between postures and individual chakras, experimenting with those asanas that supposedly open, stimulate or balance these energy centres.

Postures that work upon the open expression of Anahata, the heart chakra, involve opening the chest and expanding the lungs. I have found it interesting that lung and breathing problems are so often connected to grief and emotional pain – Anahata linking the physical heart and lungs. Our emotional states impact upon our breathing; when we are upset or angry it becomes shallow and rapid; when we are relaxed, it deepens and slows. Working with Anahata teaches us to develop trust and openness and the postures that support this very literally open out our bodies, easing our breathing and ‘making the heart available’ (as the very lovely yogi Marlon Braccia puts it).

I love this phrase; it’s the use of the word ‘available’, meaning that others may have access to our hearts; it speaks of generosity and ultimately of trust – trust of self, others and life. The open heart becomes the open hand – we touch and are touched. The asanas that facilitate this openness articulate also our willingness to be vulnerable. Many are back bends that expose the tender line of the front of our bodies. In back bends we present to the world each of the chakra centres without defence – the sacral, solar plexus and throat are all presented and exposed along with the heart; in opening the heart with trust, we allow all aspects of ourselves a freer and more authentic expression. Unlike the more introspective and protective forward bends, backbends invite life in. Physically, they quite often take bravery and strength to perform and this reminds us that the heart develops strength in embracing its vulnerability; it also speaks of the courage it takes to truly love without fear.

Last night in my Yoga lesson, we performed two of my favourite backbends: Camel Pose (Ustrasana) and Fish Pose (Matsyasana). Both open and strengthen the chest and lungs, freeing up the breath and because of this, both feel incredible good to do when stress or fear contracts our bodies and spirits and we feel psychologically hunched in upon ourselves.

Despite my current inner upheaval, I know that keeping the heart open is vitally important –to close down, is to stop breathing and we all know what happens when we do that. Despite feeling a little cut adrift, my fear seems to be lessening, which is odd considering that the psychological scaffolding of my beliefs appears to have collapsed rather. Feeling my chest open and my lungs expand in Fish pose last night – enjoying how good it felt – I thought to myself that being suspended in this strange place of ‘not knowing’ was really alright and quite exciting. I guess I have always relied on systems to help me feel ok – and of course, my Yoga still plays its part in this way, so I am not completely without support. However, my certainty has crumbled somewhat and the great thing is that this is not the disaster I might have suspected. All my old definitions of what the Divine is have dissolved and I am beginning to realise that this is not the same as losing my connection to the Divine itself. This connection is never severed – my finite understanding of God/dess is being challenged, not because the Divine is an illusion but because any shape I might give it is limited. We can only ever get a glimpse of that greater Mystery and it seems that my personal glimpse is attempting to widen. In this process, all old assumptions are broken down. Like the lightning struck tower of the tarot, crumbling edifices are torn down that we might get a better view, that we might be liberated from those actions, thoughts and patterns that no longer serve us.

I am making my heart available – it’s scary and exhilarating – I guess it is like falling in love with life, and there is nothing more terrifying and wonderful than falling in love:

The ideal situation for really understanding another is not so much how a person reacts to extreme stress, but rather how he or she suffers the vulnerability of falling in love. –  Aldo Carotenuto ‘Eros and Pathos: Shades of Love and Suffering’.

Ustrasana - Camel Pose (www.yogasavy.com)

Love, Life and Dancing in the Rain

Yesterday, my lovely Yoga teacher Julie gave me a beautiful Christmas card that she had made herself. In it she wrote a quote which I really like:

Life is not about how to survive the storm but how to dance in the rain.

Opening up Julie’s wonderful card which she created with love, and her incredibly apt choice of words, made me cry.

We had finished our Yoga lesson with some candle gazing, sitting in a close circle together in the dark, focusing on the light of the flame and after some time, closing our eyes and visualising the flame in our Ajna or third eye Chakra. Then we visualised moving the flame down into our Anahata or heart Chakra, feeling its glow and warmth there. We then held hands and visualised sending this golden light out from our hearts, down our arms, feeling it pass from our hands to those next to us and around the circle. It was a lovely, intimate moment. We each silently affirmed love and well-being for ourselves and for the whole group.

I returned home, opened my card, and sat on the bottom step of the stairs, not being able to stop the tears. Julie’s kindness and thoughtfulness touched me and the words she had picked for my card couldn’t have been more well chosen. If I could sum up what I believe my major life lesson is then this sentence would be the one that would express it best. I have spent so much time and energy surviving storms but I am coming to realise that when we engage with our hearts – with that Anahata centre – survival strategies are a poor substitute for dancing in the rain.

There is a wonderful book by Anodea Judith called Wheels of Life: A User’s Guide to the Chakra System (Llewellyn). She writes well of Anahata and its connection to love:

Love is not a matter of getting connected; it is a matter of seeing that we are already connected within an intricate web of relationships that extend throughout life. It is a realisation of ‘no boundaries’ – that we are all made of the same essence, riding through time on the same planet, faced with the same problems, the same hopes and fear. It is a connection at the core that makes irrelevant skin colour, age, sex, looks, or money.

More than anything, love is the deep sense of spiritual connection, the sense of being touched, moved, and inspired to heights beyond our normal limits. It is a connection with a deep, fundamental truth that runs through all of life and connects us together. Love makes the mundane sacred – so that it is cared for and protected. When we lose our sense of connection with all life, we have lost the sacred, and we no longer care for and protect that which nourishes us.

We are that love. We are its life force, its expression, its manifestation, its vehicle. Through it we grow, we transcend, we triumph, and surrender to grow again ever deeper. We are renewed, cut down, and renewed again.

In the Chakra system, we ideally express ourselves through all our energy centres but it is the heart that balances and connects these various energies, ‘the central wheel of life from which all others turn’. To close any part of ourselves down will cause pain but to close the heart causes the greatest pain of all.

When we stop trusting in life, when we have become overwhelmed with fear or have contracted with hurt, the true route to healing is ultimately through the opening of the heart. It’s not about being brave; it’s about feeling oneself a child again.

Not Even the Rain

I have really been enjoying the poetry season programmes on the BBC lately. One of these had the comedian Robert Webb talking about the emotional impact of poetry upon his life. A poem’s focus is intense,a form of meditation, like staring at one object and discovering  that you see more and more of that object, the intensity of your gaze opening to the richness and complexity of something that had once seen mundane. Poetry can reconnect you to yourself. 

 At one point in the Rob Webb programme he spoke to Clive James about their shared love of  e e cummings. Cummings writes brilliantly about the experience of love. A friend recently wrote me that love can so often break us open, all illusions of our being in control – of our selves being held together – crumbling away. Love works on us in mysterious ways; it makes tender all that we defensively stiffen; it forces flow in those stagnant places. I keep thinking of Joni Mitchell’s song ‘Willy’ : And I feel like I’m just being born, like a shiny light breaking in a storm… It takes skill to write about love without slipping into cliche but cummings is touching and truthful:

Your slightest look  easily will unclose me.

Though I have closed myself as fingers

you open always, petal by petal my self

As spring opens, touching skillfully, mysteriously, the first rose

I do not know what it is about you

That closes and opens,

Only something in me understands

the voice of your eyes is deeper than all roses.

Nobody, not even the rain, has such small hands.

e e cummings

Love…

Love is not changed by death and nothing is lost and all in the end is harvest –  Edith Sitwell

Sacred Sex and the Goddess and God of Beltane

Lady of the earth’s desire and the earth’s yielding, of the sap rising and the embrace of longing, as the kiss of the sun awakens you, we too are awakened to the yearning of our bodies and souls. As you unfurl each petal, you release the scent of bluebells, may and apple blossom – this is your love song, your call to union – and we too must answer.

It is hard to resist loving this time of year, everything feels gloriously alive and renewed; the blossom abundant; the green of the trees that special shade that our eyes seem magnetically drawn to. The colour of bluebells has an equally mesmerising effect, as if we are thirsty for it, that rare, vivid, unearthly blue that dissolves and overwhelms our defences with joy. 

Beltane is the festival of the Sacred Union of the Goddess and God. It’s a deeply joyous affair, celebrating sexuality on many levels, its rites ultimately honouring our striving for that union of the Divine Masculine and Feminine deep within us. I always think of it as exploring that magical process when we truly open to another – just as the blossom to the bee – and in the surrendering of that boundary become something more than ourselves. Love and sex bring us some of our most profound experiences; some ecstatically joyous; others deeply painful – but at best they open us and let the mystery of another’s being flood into that intimate, hidden space, changing us.

I have always been very interested in the spiritual dimensions of sex. From very early on, I had an inkling that sex had the potential to be a gateway to God which was rather strange considering my early experiences of it, which at best were rather empty, superficial teenage fumbling, at worst humiliating abuse. Even at the lowest moments of the abusive relationship in my teens, when sex really did feel like the sharpest and most brutal of weapons to my young psyche, I knew deep down that in its purest form it could be a profoundly connecting and intensely spiritual act. What my early experience taught me was that it takes a great deal of courage to let sex work on you in that way because such an experience demands a mutual surrendering; a letting go of all that keeps us feeling safe; a stripping away of those masks that hide our vulnerability. In abusive relationships you have a dynamic where that surrendering is being actively forced upon one party by another; the enforcer does their utmost to surrender nothing – they control the surrender by force or coercion and vicariously experience it for themselves whilst retaining a sense of power. Such an approach is mainly about power – it’s not even really about sex. Sex becomes an enticing setting because it is potentially where we expose our greatest vulnerability.

Sex can be the most meaningless of acts, a superficial if pleasurable sensation; it can be a battlefield, the most painful wedge of separation between two people; it can also be a gateway to another’s deepest being, a connecting force between the soul of one to another; it can bring an intensity of emotion and feeling that blows life as we know it apart – all known signposts gone – and from this intensely vulnerable and alive place, a new potential of being can be born. Spiritual sex, sex that engages the body, mind emotions and soul surely takes us to the Divine within, shows us most vividly a glimpse of that Divine Union that we strive for within us, the union that Beltane is ultimately about.

Our particular Beltane rituals tend to focus quite a lot on self-worth. I think for many people there is a lot of healing to be done with regard to sexuality and intimacy; good boundaries and healthy self- esteem are so important. It can be easy to make sexual and emotional choices that are less than good for us when we have a fragile sense of self. Self-love and care are psychologically strengthening; they help to bring clarity and re-engage us with a healthy and flexible self-protective instinct. We start to develop better judgement in deciding ‘what’ and ‘who’ are ‘good’ or ‘bad’ for us.

The Goddess and God of Beltane – as I understand them – touch me deeply and help to heal my old wounds. The Goddess is the Lady of the Heart’s Blossoming, Divine Lover, setting fire to our bellies with Her joyous heat and animating our bodies with the blissful energy of Her love. We honour Her as Queen of the May, Lady of Life and Love, naked and radiant with the power of Her desire. She reveals to us the joy of union, the exquisite unfurling of body, mind and spirit. Crucially She teaches us that the treasure of our Yoni is truly precious, a place of inspired creation and pleasure, the gateway to life, challenging the often derogatory and confused undercurrent that seems to underpin attitudes to female sexual organs and sexuality; she taps us in to their deeper power and significance. In Her heart burn the fires of love, both the love of self and of others. She holds up Her mirror and reflects back to us our true beauty and worth. When we gaze at our reflection, we see Her beautiful face, body and being. I have learned that Her beauty is our beauty, that in valuing and loving ourselves, we are honouring and loving Her. She expresses the wisdom that without such loving self-care we can never truly open to another. She is passion, joy and creativity; queen of her own body, emotions, mind and spirit but also striving for joyous union with the world and others: She is the needy heat of desire; powerful self-love and the passionate love of others; She is ecstasy and the dance of life; She is sensuality and deep connection; She is the intimacy of skin upon skin. We feel Her pulsing though us when we fall in love, when desire takes over; when we reach out to touch the soul of another. We also feel her when we take joy in ourselves, when we feel and see our own beauty and worth. Historically She has been given a terribly hard time. She has been called whore and punished for Her beauty and Her power. She is often the one within us that needs the most healing.

The God of Beltane expresses a joyous desire, he is Lord of the waxing earth and sun; vibrant spirit of the wildwood whose green blood fires our hearts. He is the moist fingers of outstretched leaves and His vibrant growth is the tender hand that moves upon the body of the Goddess. He is the warm kiss of sunlight, the heat of passion and the dance of life. He has helped to heal a great deal in me, teaching that the treasures of His Sacred Phallus are not violence, senseless aggression or abuse but strength, passion and reverence. He is our energy and vigour. He is the Great Spark of Light and Life, and as bluebells cover the woodland floors; apple and hawthorn trees blossom and everywhere grows lush and green, His desire intensifies. At Beltane He hears the voice of the Goddess deep in the greenwood and with joy answers her call, drawn by her glorious scent, striving to merge and surrender to the bliss of her embrace. He is the heat of passion; the sweet pain of yearning; the reverence that true intimacy and love inspires. Through Him we are transformed by desire; we open to the mystery of another; we die to our separate selves and become the ecstasy of life. He touches us with His urgency; move us with His need; take us to the core of ourselves.

Beltane encourages us to ask – ‘What is life without passion and connection?’ It opens us to the extraordinary energy of our desire but also to the deeply empathetic nature of our being, one that strives to relate, make connections, open ever further to  the mystery of life. This Beltane, may each of us be blessed with deep and abiding love – of self, others, our planet – and through those healing fires of love and passion, may we each find our true path to Union within.

bluebell