Tending to our bodies, just as we tend to the land is good and sacred work. Our bodies support and nourish us just as the land supports and nourishes us. One might see in the microcosm of one, the macrocosm of the other. Sometimes that is the way these things work. So learning to nourish, care for, protect, and defend one's physical form and knowing to the marrow of one's being that this might even be a sacred obligation, is all part of what Beltane can teach us. Imagine how our lives would be different if treating our bodies kindly, loving our flesh, and living healthily was something we could all do with joy. How many of us can look in the mirror and say "I love my physical form" and mean it? How many of us can stand naked in front of the mirror and say those words and really mean them? Freya can teach us how, if we honor Her rightly and well. Beltane's wisdom can show us the way.
Our world is out of balance. I've talked about this before many times in many different articles and columns. I think that it is inevitable that our collective psyches bear the brunt of that sickness. We have come to embody it physically. Our bodies and the way we relate to them have suffered generations of fear, shame, and abuse because we have forgotten that simple truth that flesh is sacred.
We have forgotten so much in abandoning our ancestral ways and our Holy Powers but most of all, we've forgotten how to interact with ourselves in a healthy manner. We've forgotten how to love being. Beltane calls us to throw ourselves into the inevitable change this time brings, the momentum, the urgency, the growing sense of joy and movement that fills the land. It urges us to seek our passions, to find that which nourishes us and to live it fully each and every day of our lives. Beltane's wisdom is, above all else, a call to embodied joy.
Moreover, Beltane reminds us not just to honor our physical bodies, but to rejoice in the physical experience of the natural world. That world is a gift in all its beautiful, breathtaking, sometimes confusing diversity. This holy tide calls us to move beyond our dearly held paradigms into the reality of being: beyond our dichotomies (sexual, gender, and otherwise) into the rich tapestry of possibility inherent in creation.
Diversity is nature's greatest achievement. As we celebrate the beauty, bounty, and blessings of corporeality, physicality, and incarnation, we're reminded to celebrate it all, not just those forms that are comfortable. Nature is an explosion of diversity and this is a lesson we can take to heart as we honor our bodies: we're part of that diversity too. As a good friend of mine once pointed out: there is no "normal." Let's do away with the idea of "normal." There is only what is normal for us, for each individual, one by one. Beltane gives us a chance to celebrate that and given how much hate is in our world for any type of diversity of being, that too, is no small thing.
This is a holy tide all about action and restoration. We have the chance as we move into May to recommit to picking up those threads of connection—to our Gods, our ancestors, the land itself, and to ourselves—sundered so long ago. Healing that damage doesn't happen with grand gestures; it happens with small commitments, like planting a seed. That's Beltane's wisdom. It's about making those promises—to ourselves, our families, our communities—that we will see fulfilled with the coming harvest. It's about deciding what we wish to harvest in the coming season for ourselves, our lives, and our spirituality. It's about deciding what kind of person we would like to be when the harvest is done.
May Freya smile upon each of us this Beltane.