May Day is a time when seeds are growing and everywhere there are signs of the flowering of plants, inviting insemination from the bees. Before modern calendars, the blooming of the Hawthorn was the signal for the ancient rites of Beltane. All hearth fires were extinguished and a new sacred fire was consecrated from which all other fires were relit. Livestock was herded between great bonfires to purify them and protect them for the coming year. Communities celebrated with maypole dancing and love making, to honor the renewal of life. The Beltane fires were lit at sundown and after many hours of celebrating and leaping over the fires, couples would melt away to enjoy a night of erotic pleasure, which they knew was the best way to honor the Goddess.
This is my favorite time of year, not only because it's close to my birthday, but also because it is the season when all of nature is making love. Millennia ago the Hieros Gamos (Sacred Marriage), was enacted during Beltane. This ritual was a magical sexual union between the High Priestess and her consort. The integration of sex and spirit revealed the deeper mysteries of this life force energy and it was believed that the rite facilitated the renewal of life and was a pathway to expanded consciousness. Today, the Sacred Marriage can also refer to an alchemical transformation within the individual, uniting the masculine and feminine principles within; the balancing of opposites that leads to personal harmony and healthier relationships.
This year, on April 18th I turned 70 and for the first time I have wanted a Croning Ceremony, celebrating with my friends one week after; I am finally ready to fully claim my Crone stage. Over the years, women have said to me, "couldn't you use a different word? I hate that term." So I substituted Wise Woman at times, since it certainly is a part of what this stage means. However, Crone means "crowned one." As I contemplate what Crone could mean, (and we all get to make the meaning we choose), I want to share what meaning is most in alignment with my sense of self. First, I want to clarify that it does not mean "sexless old biddy," which is how elder women have often been characterized. At the age of 70, I feel more in harmony with the life force energy flowing through me than ever before.
I experience this energy very differently now, not urgent as most of us felt in our Maiden years, and not as I might have in my Mother years either. My connection with this "Mainline Access to Spirit" to quote Nichole Daedone, is ever present when I choose to tune in, like a pulse that can be expanded and becomes a flowing energy through my body towards creative expression, deep sharing, divine presence, visionary experiences and much more. If there is an association with "crown" for me, it is connected with the Crown Chakra opening.
My beloved partner of 30 years is experiencing his own growth and changes and I am ever grateful that we share our awareness of this life force energy and when possible we can set aside time to move into mutual touch and expanded consciousness together. It certainly doesn't bear any resemblance to the performance model of the general culture, but is so much richer and deeper and more connected.
So as I wish you happy Beltane, I also wish for you this opportunity; to allow yourself to age not only gracefully, but with a deeper connection to your life force energy