Sunday, May 1, 2011
Around the first of May the seven sisters of the Pleiades appear in the sky just before sunrise. This is the signal to celebrate Beltane; the arrival of Celtic summer. Even when it’s raining the sky is brighter than it’s been since November. Summer is here (or at least on the horizon).
THRESHOLD INVOCATION FOR BELTANE
Maiden of flowers, open the door,
Smith of Souls come you in.
Let there be welcome to the growing strength,
Let there be welcome in the summer of the year.
In bud and blossom you are traveling,
In fruit and fragrance you will arrive.
May the blessed time of Beltane
Inflame the soul of all beings,
Bringing energy and effort to conflagration.
From the depths to the heights,
From the heights to the depths,
In the core of every soul.
Caitlin Matthews in the Celtic Devotional
A nice citified, civilized welcome for Beltane and I have to admit that Beltane’s flowers were a little thin on the ground today. We’ve got a few tulips, the first lilacs, some candy tuft, wild bleeding heart and red dogwood. Hey, that works.
Here’s a wilder welcome for the new summer in Jethro Tull’s lively Cup of Wonder. We’re dancin’ and drinkin’ here.
"May I make my fond excuses for the lateness of the hour,
but we accept your invitation, and we bring you Beltane's flower.
For the May Day is the great day, sung along the old straight track.
And those who ancient lines did lay will heed the song that calls them back.
Pass the word and pass the lady*, pass the plate to all who hunger.
Pass the wit of ancient wisdom; pass the cup of crimson wonder.*
Ask the green man where he comes from, ask the cup that fills with red.
Ask the old grey standing stones that show the sun its way to bed.
Question all as to their ways, and learn the secrets that they hold.
Walk the lines of nature's palm crossed with silver and with gold.
Pass the cup and pass the lady, pass the plate to all who hunger.
Pass the wit of ancient wisdom, pass the cup of crimson wonder.
Join in black December's sadness, lie in August's welcome corn.
Stir the cup that's ever-filling with the blood of all that's born.
But the May Day is the great day, sung along the old straight track.
And those who ancient lines did lay will heed this song that calls them back.
Pass the word and pass the lady, pass the plate to all who hunger.
Pass the wit of ancient wisdom, pass the cup of crimson wonder."
*Probably refers to the barley and honey cakes called by some Lady Cakes. I found a recipe on the net called a Lady Cake and supposedly for Beltane but somehow I don’t think early Irish had either chocolate or amaretto liqueur in their pantries.
*Since Beltane is a celebration of summer and fertility we’re probably lookin’ at some good wine here.