For my fellow Wiccans/Pagans, today is a major holiday, known as Beltane, where springtime, warmth, growth, life, and fertility are celebrated. This probably conjures up visual images of dancing naked around bonfires in forests with flowers in your hair; that probably did happen and hell, it probably still happens in various little villages and communes…not that there’s anything wrong with that.
For the rest of the world, it’s May Day, a benign folk holiday in which we might give flowers to our moms or learn about Maypoles. For the vast majority, it’s simply May 1st, a day in which there should be NO SNOW left (sorry, Minnesota!) and the Texas bluebonnets have already begun to wane after more than six weeks of glory.
But no, Beltane is a serious holiday, marking the time of year in which, like Halloween/Samhain but less prominently, the veil between the physical and spiritual worlds once again thins and energies begin to pulse and flow, rather than ebb. It’s the warm version of that magical, mystical magnetism we feel on Halloween and rather than preparing for sleep, we are preparing for wakefulness and vibrancy.
I have long felt the energies of Beltane, long before I knew what it was. I knew that it was like shot of dopamine, a bath of energy, exuberance, enthusiasm, and a lack of a need for sleep. As the cold weather finally abated (in the northern climate of my secondary school years) for good (for the year, that is), the warm blanket of humidity set in, the days got longer, and the basal energy picked up, instinct kicked in, telling us it was time to go on the road, which only poured gasoline on the fire. It was bliss.
I have always discovered a lot of excellent new (to me, anyway) music during Beltane season (mid-late April through early May), too. Here’s a sampling, in order chronologically of when I stumbled across these fine tracks…
“Carnival of Sorts (Box Cars)” –REM
“Alive” –Pearl Jam
“The Metro” –Berlin
“Tighten Up” –Electronic
“Lazarus” –Boo Radleys
“Dio” –Throwing Muses
“The Body” –Public Image Ltd
“Breathe You Out” –Blue Up
“Flesh For Fantasy” –Billy Idol
“Counting Backwards” –Throwing Muses
“New Pollution” –Beck
“Stay” –Grapes of Wrath
“God’s Mistake” –Tears For Fears
“Lucky Denver Mint” –Jimmy Eat World
“Wash It Away” –Black Lab
“Solid Rock” –Dire Straits
“Prairie Wedding” –Mark Knopfler
“Wherewithal” –Tragically Hip
“Attack of the Ghost Riders” –Raveonettes
“Free of Mind” –Catherine Wheel
“No Surprise” –Theory of a Deadman
“Passion” –1 Giant Leap
“So Long Self” –Mercyme
“All Mixed Up” –The Cars
“Big Machine” –Velvet Revolver
“Green Grow the Rushes” –REM