Beltaine is the marriage of the Lord and Lady for many of us. I could express all the rich symbolism of union and creation of this time of year purely in song lyrics and poetry. We celebrate this conception and ripening into Parenthood, and continuation of the species, and continuity and familial joy with great mirth. Which can seem a bit odd considering how little support our communities provide for those Pagans who seek this out for themselves.
Single Pagans have a confusing set of contradictions thrown at them. An ardent eclectic polytheist will insist you have only one soulmate, who may be Christian so it’s wrong for you to look for a Pagan mate. A polyamorous Pagan will insist it’s more normal and natural to have many fluid relationships than a single life-long commitment. Some Pagans will be horrified that you want to raise children in a Pagan religion. Even in something so personal and individual as your sexual, relationship and parenting choices single Pagans run constantly into the “you are not tolerant/evolved enough because you don’t agree with my perspective” from their fellow Pagans they turn to for support.
What resources exist benefit mainly those seeking casual, kink or more tenuous poly relationships. For a Pagan seeking a life-long committed relationship with another Pagan with the goal of raising Pagan children, your resources are slim to none. Upon mentioning this as your goal or preference you’re likely to be smacked down by a chorus of pish-tosh: you should be content to find a tolerant Christian partner and raise secular children. It’s amazing how often someone’s well-reasoned preference in the most intimate relationships of their lives can be met by dismissive intolerance.
For those who feel they should be creating strong Pagan families and communities, where can they turn? I’d like to think their faith communities would support them. Finding a mate for life, to raise children with and practice with requires different qualities from a casual lover. If you are Heathen you would want a partner who is interested in being active in your kindred, who is committed to raising Heathen children and is a person of good character according to Heathen values. Stating your intention to wed and start a family to your kindred might be your first step, because they have an interest in seeing you happy and in seeing their community made stronger by the addition of people who share their values.
I think that’s a powerful idea: enlisting your spiritual community to help you find a life-partner. It’s how Jewish communities have maintained their traditions for years. At some point we have to decide whether our traditions are worth preserving, if they are going to help our children build the good character and compassion they need to face life as adults, and if we need to be more active in maintaining our traditions. Because if we do then we need to support same-faith marriage as much as we support same-sex marriage (note that supporting is not the same as promoting). Paganism cannot thrive on converts forever, and if it is of any worth to us, we need to actively plan on how to pass it down to future generations. Gay, straight, or poly, we need to embrace the concept of embracing and supporting Pagan families.
This Beltaine think about the holiday’s themes: marriage, union, conception, survival, generations, community, and planting for the future. How do these themes impact not merely you, but your community? Your friends? Your children? Your ancestors?