The April Moon ritual last night was awesome. Priestesses from our mother coven came to visit and it was just a genuinely good time. I am now looking forward to Beltane so much that I feel antsy as a kid at Christmas. Our Beltane celebrations are like a big family reunion and I was thinking this morning that that is a rather profound thing.
I’ve been to Pagan gatherings that felt like old friends meeting, and events that felt like a gathering of tribes. I’ve felt Pagan community feel close, supportive and welcoming. I’ve been to events where it felt like an impressive council of elders were gathering, and to groups that were full of the carefree spirit of youth. Our Beltane has elements of those things but it’s energy mainly feels like that of a family reunion. Cousins, aunts and uncles, many generations and folks of many opinions and backgrounds joining together for a deeply meaningful ritual followed by a lot of food and fellowship.
Part of this may be because I’m a member of a daughter coven, so we are quite literally “going home for the holidays” when we visit at Beltane. It’s almost literally “over the river and through the woods to grandmother’s house we go.” We will fill our vehicles with flowers and food and carpool together. We will hug and laugh and catch up with folks we haven’t seen for weeks or even months. We will bustle around the kitchen making sure the feast is ready to dig into after ritual. We will bustle around outside setting up decorations, making flower wreaths and laughing as little kids run around like little kids do when something exciting is going on.Maybe it’s because so many couples and families are members of our trad. Maybe it’s because the tone set from the high priestess and high priest is one of family and friendship which trickles all the way down to a student like me. Maybe it’s because when kids are involved everything takes a lighter, more joyous tone. Maybe our emphasis on values, character and action makes us more invested in building community. Maybe it’s because so many of us come from religious backgrounds involving traditions like homecoming and dinner of the grounds.
Whatever the reason, there is a genuine feeling of family and of belonging to something that spans generations, ethnicity, sexual orientation, economic background or those other things that tend to divide people. Like a family we are people who are very different who belong together. It’s not a shallow bond, but one that goes deep enough to make it worth preserving, even in difficulties.
Along with the flowers, the bawdy jokes, the union of the Lord and Lady and all the things that Beltane represents, that exuberant energy is also expressed through this feeling of family. It’s good. Real good.