Each soul is potentially divine. The goal is to manifest this divinity within by controlling nature, external and internal. Do this either by work, worship, psychic control or philosophy — by one, or more, or all of these — and be free. This is the whole of religion. Doctrines, dogmas, rituals, books, temples, and forms, are but secondary details. -- Swami Vivikenanda
It’s May! It’s May! The lusty month of May!… Those dreary vows that ev’ryone takes, Ev’ryone breaks. Ev’ryone makes divine mistakes! The lusty month of May! - from Camelot, Lerner and Loewe
I don’t know what you have planned for the month ahead, but in the olden days, lusty young men and maidens were running off to the woods together, with nary a virgin returning. Beltane is celebrated in the Celtic tradition starting on the eve of May 1 and lasting throughout the day. However, in days of yore it was often celebrated with feasting, dancing, and merriment all the way through May 15. In the Gaelic lands of Ireland, Scotland and Wales, Beltane refers to the entire month of May. So there’s nothing that says you can’t extend your celebration through the end of the month!
This is the time when Maia, the maiden, Roman goddess of–you guessed it: fertility–as well as playfulness and granting wishes–was feted. Her name means mother and this is really the time when the maiden of spring gave way to the mother of summer. Maia was Queen of the May and was celebrated with flowers and blooms in abundance.
The May Pole was first a tree festooned with flowers and ribbons, symbolizing the phallic energy of the season and the renewal of Mother Earth. Bonfires were set atop hills and celebrants would run between two fires for cleansing and to bring about a bountiful harvest and good luck in the year ahead.
When the Christian religion supplanted the pagan traditions and sexuality was split off from spirituality, some remnants of the old traditions remained. In fact, Mary became known as Queen of the May:
O Mary we crown thee with blossoms today, Queen of the angels, Queen of the May
In honor of Mary, young girls wore flowered garlands around their head, maintaining the symbols of fertility (flowers are the sexual organs of plants), new growth, and the maiden.
O Dancer of Creation, the earth awakens to an urgent call to grow. In the hidden recesses of my wintered spirit I, too, hear the humming of your voice, calling me, wooing my deadness back to life.
My soul yawns, stretches, quickens, as the energy of Spring revives my weariness. I sit with wonder, observing the steady activity of downy woodpeckers and newly yellowed finch. I do so wait with the avid attention of a child's first look, savoring the colors and shapes of earth's loveliness.
As the filtering patterns of early sunlight lift the shades of green in every growing thing, I enter into spring's unlettered words of life. For a while my doubts, anxieties, and worries become like chapters in some ancient book whose text no longer claims my full attention. I am content to sit, watching Spring turn the pages of this animated publication, eager to discover the invigorating story reflected in my own springtime revelation.
Tell me, Wise Awakener, why is it easier to believe in a stem of new grass, or the opening bud of a fresh purple crocus, than it is to believe in the greening of me?