“An Awakening Woman is…in a glowing, and embodied, nothing-held-back love affair with the great mystery. She moves in this world with fierce compassion, grace and freedom, and is passionate about truth, rest and real love.“ ~ Chameli Ardagh
Beltane (April 30th-May 1st) is the Gaelic May Day Festival, and one of the four seasonal festivals traditionally celebrated in Ireland.
Beltane can be traced back to Irish mythology and early historical writings. It is the ushering in of summer, and the opportunity to give thanks for surviving another winter.
Beltane is rejoicing in the newness of the growing season, and the fierce feminine energy of the cycle of life. It’s a time that is pregnant with possibilities, and where the very earth seems like a bud about to open.
Beltane’s energy is one that is sinuous with fire, the heat of the summer months and the energy of life that exists within all of us. Traditionally, bonfires were lit and danced about. Now, though, it is more common that candles are used to mark this ancient festival. To represent fire, yellow flowers can be placed around windows and the entrances to homes.
Beltane is a spring time festival of optimism connecting us with the waxing power of the sun.
Beltane is a time of great fertility—for the earth itself, for animals, and of course for people as well.
This season has been celebrated by cultures going back thousands of years, in a variety of ways, but nearly all shared the theme of fertility. It is a time to embrace the feminine aspect of ourselves and our life. It’s a time to rejoice in the wonderful privilege of being a woman. It’s the honor of being able to create and bring life into this world; the ability to bleed each month and have cycles that align to those of the moon.
It’s a time to embrace all that is feminine in this world to relish in the soft power that she possesses.
For men, this is the time to let your guard down. Let the woman in your life reach into your soft spot, and let her make a home there. Open yourself up to the amazing compassion that an Awakening Woman possesses and the joy that she will bring into your life. Let yourself feel your way, rather than thinking too much. Let your heart guide you.
In addition to decorating the openings to our homes with yellow flowers, some simple but beautiful rituals can bring mindfulness and appreciation to what the divine feminine means to us. It’s a time to celebrate all those women that are in our lives, or that have passed through on their respective journeys.
It’s a time to honor all that is beautiful about women, and the feminine qualities that she brings to all of those around her.
(These rituals aren’t based in Paganism, or Wiccan, but in nature, the universe and the appreciation and respect for the world around us.)
This simple ritual can be performed by both men and women, and is designed to honor the feminine aspects of the universe as well as our female ancestors. If you have a particular deity you call upon, feel free to change names or attributes around where needed. Otherwise, you can use the all-encompassing name of “Goddess” when asked.
Decorate your alter with symbols of femininity: cups, chalices, yellow flowers, lunar objects and feathers. You’ll also need the following items for this ritual:
A white candle
An offering of something that is important to you
A bowl of water
A handful of small pebbles or stones
Begin by standing in the goddess position, and saying:
I am (your name), and I stand before you, goddesses of the sky and earth and sea, I honor you, for your blood runs through my veins, one woman, standing on the edge of the universe. Tonight, I make an offering in your names, as my thanks for all you have given me.
Light the candle, and place your offering before it on the altar. The offering may be something tangible, such as bread or wine or flowers. It can also be something symbolic, such as a gift of your time or dedication. Whatever it is, it should be something from your heart.
Once you have made your offering, it is time to call upon the goddesses by name. Say:
I am (your name), and I stand before you, Isis, Ishtar, Tiamat, Inanna, Shakti, Cybele. Mothers of the ancient people, guardians of those who walked the earth thousands of years ago, I offer you this as a way of showing my gratitude. Your strength has flowed within me, your wisdom has given me knowledge, your inspiration has given birth to harmony in my soul.
Now it is time to honor the women who have touched your life. For each one, place a pebble into the bowl of water. As you do so, say her name and how she has impacted you. You might say something like this:
I am (your name), and I stand before you, to honor the sacred feminine that has touched my heart. I honor Lynne, who gave birth to me and raised me to be strong; I honor Deborah, my grandmother, whose strength took her to the hospitals of war-torn France; I honor Lilly, my aunt, who lost her courageous battle with cancer; I honor Maria, my sister, who has raised three children alone…
Continue until you have placed a pebble in the water for each of these women. Reserve one pebble for yourself. Finish by saying:
I am (your name), and I honor myself, for my strength, my creativity, my knowledge, my inspiration and for all the other remarkable things that make me a woman.
Take a few minutes and reflect on the sacred feminine.
What is it about being a woman that gives you joy? If you’re a man performing this ritual, what is it about the women in your life that makes you love them? Meditate on the feminine energy of the universe for a while, and when you are ready, end the ritual.
However you decide to honor the sacred feminine this Beltane, just take a moment and breathe into the wonderful feminine energy and love that resides inside of us all, and bask in the possibilities that this season brings.
Author: Kate Rose
Editor: Emily Bartran
Photo: Wikimedia Commons