The Rantin’ Raven: Old at Beltain

The Rantin’ Raven: Old at Beltain May 7, 2016

We just celebrated Beltain, perhaps the most “hands on” Sabbat of the year. We know what it means — the florescence of love and the sanctification of lust, humans enacting the mating of the Goddess and God to fertilize the world and all within it. A day caught out of time, when normal rules are suspended and that lovely stranger who catches one’s eye on the other side of the fire might just be a God or Goddess looking for the ultimate one-night stand. When every sex act is the Great Rite. Glorious.

But, what if that’s no longer you? What if you’re too old to contemplate staying up all night, much less rolling in the grass with a lover? How do we old Witches keep the Beltain when–as the saying goes–the spirit is willing but the flesh isn’t?

an elderly couple, a man and a woman, sit on a bench enjoying the outdoors
4clients /

Old lore says that while the young went off to rollick in the woods, the elders kept the fire burning and swapped spells all night. I could see that at some Sabbats but Beltain is supposed to be lusty. Do I have to give up the fun of Beltain just because I’m 70 and past rollicking? On the other hand, is it inappropriate to still want to cut loose when I’m 70 and just not rollickable? Shouldn’t I be fine with tending the fire and swapping recipes?

Hell, no!

Yes, Beltain is about fertility and sexuality. But fertility and sexuality are about the life-force. As long as we can still feel the life force surging in us, we can and should celebrate Beltain in whatever manner seems good to us. We needn’t still be fecund, we needn’t even be able to engage in intercourse, to feel and express the life force. And we needn’t feel like our only purpose is as an adjunct to the young and lusty.

Here’s an idea: Find yourself a sexy partner. Together, build a fire, and dedicate it–and yourselves for the night–to your favorite Gods & Goddesses of fertility. Indulge in something consciousness-altering, even if it’s just chocolate. Wine is perfect, though. Chocolate wine is fabulous — if you’ve never tried it, do. Recite erotic poetry, or watch porn, or whatever rings your chimes. Listen to “Fat Bottomed Girls” and hold hands while you do it. Circulate energy between you, and raise it to the highest you can. And then instead of releasing it, bottle it up.

Go out to your garden, or to the potted plants on the window sill, or to the park or nearby woods. And blast them with all that bottled-up energy. Afterwards, allow yourself to go post-coitally limp and tingly. Go home. Have a night cap. And then either say a loving goodbye or–preferably–snuggle into bed together.

In the morning, take a shower and greet the Sun as an old friend and lover. Make a libation of your first drink of water of the day. And then if there’s a local Pagan festival, go, have a good time, and smile indulgently at the young lovers.

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