Friday, 30 April 2010

May Eve

Today is the eve of Beltane, the cross-quarter day that marks the passage from winter to summer, and the mid-point between the vernal equinox and the summer solstice. It is a very green time, when the earth laughs in leaves and flowers, when the air is fragrant and soft, when all is lush and fecund and heady with possibility. Nowadays it's often celebrated with bonfires and Maypole dances and revelry of a non-family-friendly nature. For many modern neo-pagans, Beltane is a celebration of fertility, of union, of the joining of Goddess and God, man and woman, earth and sun, to bring forth the ever-renewing promise of--well, of everything: of life and light and love. It's a joyous time, the counterpart of Samhain's dark sorrows. And of course, it's the promise of joy coming around again that makes those sorrows bearable, isn't it?

I've lost the name of the artist who created the lovely painting to your right--literally, within the last five minutes; when I tried to find the source image again, it wasn't where it had been when I'd Googled it up just minutes before. So now I'll leave you with a seasonally-appropriate lyric, before it too vanishes into the May Eve mists: Cup of Wonder, written by Ian Anderson for Jethro Tull:

May I make my fond excuses for the late-ness of the hour;
But we accept your invitation, and would 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 ley will heed this song that calls them back.
Pass the word and pass the lady and pass the plate to all who hunger.
And pass the wit of ancient wisdom, pass the Cup of Crimson Wonder.
And 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 who show the sun his 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 and pass the plate to all who hunger.
And pass the wit of ancient wisdom, pass the Cup of Crimson Wonder.
And 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 ley will heed this song that calls them back.
And pass the wit of ancient wisdom, pass the Cup of Crimson Wonder.
And pass the Cup of Crimson Wonder.

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