Beltane is here, and I am thinking of how I would have traveled to Chihuahua today to celebrate with my coven. I would probably be preparing the bonfire, or having a group meditation below the trees, or helping to organize the May Pole, or assisting in the kitchen. But I’m at my home, respecting the quarantine, as most, if not all, of the world currently is. I am at home planning to celebrate in solitary. I will watch online conferences that my coven will host with two other local covens, and will later join an online ritual with my coven. But, ultimately, it feels like a solitary experience.
I have been struggling to feel the energy and the change of the season. As I’m not commuting to the office or walking around the city with my boyfriend during the weekends, I have not been able to observe and enjoy spring as I usually do.
I have been struggling to identify how these changes to the season reflect in my life. Typically I would have had a lot of movement in my personal life by now: developments in my career growth, meeting new people, visiting new places, situations that would lead to new experiences.
I have also had difficulty feeling connected to the spirit or to the divine. I have been feeling fear, anxiety, and stress. I have gone through a process of grief because of the world as I knew it has changed. I have been in need to deal with emotional trauma, facing these unprecedented times.
This season reminds me a bit of the earthquake that hit us here in Mexico City in 2017: empty streets, people wearing masks, messages and indications form the government, being worried about my loved ones, the concern of having enough food and basic needs. In a way, it is similar. The earth did not move, but our life structures were shaken. There has been a lot of mentions in our community on how we live in the “Tower Times,” and I agree. However, I identify these times with the Hermit tarot card as well. We are living in a compelled Hermit phase, forced to a period of solitude and self-reflection.
Being in quarantine, working from home, and practicing in solitary, has led me to re-examine how I have my spaces organized. I have cleaned and set up my altar again. I have moved some of my gods’ figures, and other Pagan tools and ornaments. I have set salt bowls in the most frequented rooms. I have arranged my desk with my office items with crystals and essential oils, facing a balcony so I can breathe fresh air and watch the tree in front of my house. I have been more observant, looking at what is happening outside my house from what I am able to see from my window, noticing the tree’s green foliage is full and all the steps of a bird building its nest and now protecting its egg. I have seen things in my immediate surroundings that I had not seen until now.
There seems to be minimal activity on the streets, but plenty of activity in my mind. It feels like a long psychological winter, with more internal work to do. I have thought a lot about what I want to do when the isolation is over. What places would I like to visit? Who would I like to see again? Who would I like to hug and laugh with?
I have been questioning basic life and personal belief concepts. What is this all for? What can I learn? What can humanity learn from this? Who am I in all of this? What can I do with this, what I can not?
I have been finding myself returning to the basics. I have had to reset my habits and routines; my sleeping cycle has changed, and I have had to adjust my meditation techniques. I have had to re-build my home temple and remember that in order to connect in spirit, I have to first allow my emotions to flow, because if I do not face the fear or anxiety, it would be expected for me not to be able to face the divine. The constant media bombardment awakens the deep fear of death. I have needed to recognize again that death is not an end, but a transition.
I find it interesting that even when these are solitary times, they are also a reminder that we are all connected, that the actions of an individual can affect the whole. The virus is spread from one person to others, and from these, to more people until the whole world is affected. What else can be transmitted? Is our anger and fear during our normal day-to-day transmitted to other people and into the collective? Can we also spread hope and compassion? What do I usually unconsciously contribute to the whole? What do I want to pass on?
These difficult times remind me of the necessity of relinquishment to get enlightenment in the myth of the Descent of the Goddess and in the Wiccan initiations. The challenge: “Strip off thy garments, lay aside thy jewels, for naught may ye bring with ye into this our land,” before entering the realms of death. It appears life told us to strip off and lay aside all of what we were comfortable with and used to. If there is a relinquishment challenge, I believe this means that this is a transformation process.
Right after the Hermit card, the Wheel shows up – a sign of change and movement, and a reminder that everything is a cycle and that everything is connected. Although this feels like a long winter, if there is something I know as a Pagan and as a Witch, is that the Wheel turns, and that after the winter, spring comes. Nothing remains stagnant forever. Everything moves. Everything changes. Everything has a cycle, and this cannot be the exception. These complicated times will not last forever, and I think they will lead us to a next phase that will be in favor of our individual and collective growth. I want to believe that these moments, the learning, the re-structuring, are taking us to a time where we will reap the fruits of all of this.
I celebrate all of this fertility of the mind and of the spirit during this Beltane. I celebrate the creativity that we have found ourselves in need of stretching out. I reach out to the gods: “May the gods allow us to learn during these times and may they grant us patience and wisdom to process them. May they give us clarity to recognize what is in our control and what is not. May the light of the Beltane fire guide the souls that are transitioning during these times. May we walk through this transformation in Perfect Love and Perfect trust.”
Although we are all probably celebrating alone these days, may we find each other in spirit, dancing around the same Maypole and holding the ribbon of our intentions, and may our ribbons weave a better future for each of us and for all living beings on Earth.