Fire of Beltaine Season Found in the Heart
By C. Austin
Curious warm breezes swirl around my garden, around my thoughts.
Greenery emerges in the landscape and the days grow longer still. I
watch as two children tussle and run, laughing in their timeless
To those who have left childhood behind, time is measured in the
tales it weaves; "What did you do today?,"
"What did the doctor say?," "The interview
didn't go well." The minutiae that make up our days
build our lifetimes.
At Imbolg, in the spring, we awaken, we listen for a sound, a call
to action - what we will do in the next hour, season, or for our
entire lives. At Beltaine, in the summer, we create -- the
actions, the myths, the very stories that will eventually be the only
legacy of our time on this earth.
The season of the storyteller is the dark half of the year, from
Samhain to Beltaine. Heard only by firelight, the great wonder tales,
enchantments and wooings are conjured by master poets to an audience
blessed by the recitation. But at Beltaine we step into the bright
half of the year, when the storytelling ceases and we, like the
Fianna, ride forth to fashion the world in which we live.
In my original family, there were no stories. No one looked like a
particular aunt, there was no special recipe from a relative, no
stories of hardship or gain, no tributary that led to the river of
life. Fed by nothing and going nowhere, that lifetime inspired little.
Children grew up and moved away, the days unremembered and not lived
again. The passage of time itself does not spin a yarn worth telling.
The great storytellers understood the power of creation. Through
the artful use of words, songs and tales, teller and listener entered
a sacred space, a temenos, where the inner life was touched and no
harm could befall.
It is said the grand age of storytelling has passed, and perhaps in
the strictest sense it has. Or it has merely changed as everything
does. Certainly any number of media outlets daily serve us stories of
battle, heartbreak and happiness. We absorb or we ignore, we move on.
Perhaps we have become tellers of our own stories. It is we who
decide what to include in our day, how it will be worked -- it is we
who live the ending. To gaze upon a shaft of moonlight is to include
reflection, to walk the path to a goal far in the distance is to live
courageously. To be aware that we each have the ability to create our
own reality is to wear the feathered cloak of the storyteller, the
shaman who understands that outer reality is but an expression of
And with those that we share our stories, we again walk the sacred
precinct. We offer, we are witnessed, we nourish valued friends with
tales of our life's energy. In turn, we listen and receive their
stories of joy and anguish as together we dance in the consumptive,
life-giving bonfire of time. Like the farmer who rebuilds and makes
strong his stone fences each May Day, so the retelling of a story
rebuilds the world we live in and makes strong the life we are
Step into this fertile season of Beltaine and create a life worth
telling. Remember yourself and those who are precious to you to the
generations to come. The reverie of childhood is not only the domain
of children, but also for those who can release their grasping hold on
illusory reality. Roll forward, embrace the timeless, live the world.
Joseph Campbell noted that the "dream is the personalized myth,
myth the depersonalized dream." Our lives are but a dream, days
swirling with images of responsibility, love and industry.
Experienced and forgotten, yet each and every day crafting the bigger
story, the story that runs to the sea.