Sunday, May 5, 2013

Dancing with the Beloved Dead at Beltane

It seemed like an odd time of year to be thinking about death.

It's spring; life is bounding forth.  It's Beltane, a welcoming of spring and celebration of all the new and returning life in nature.

But two things happened: I was getting ready to go to the semi-annual gathering of the Quaker Concern Around Dying and Death (QDD), and one of my social networking friends shared a new video, from the last week in April, of one of my favorite Samhain songs.

I found myself listening to it over and over.

'Cause when I die
I don’t want to rest in peace
I want to dance in joy
I want to dance in the graveyards, the graveyards
And while I’m alive
I don’t want to be alone
Mourning the ones who came before
I want to dance with them some more
Let’s dance in the graveyards
~ from “Dance in the Graveyards,” (c) Ian Holljes; recorded by Delta Rae on “Carry the Fire,” 2012

Walking the labyrinth at Woodbrooke Quaker Study Centre just before our gathering started, I remembered the Beloved Dead whom Roses, Too! Coven always honored at Beltane.  Several people we love died just before Beltane, or had special connections for us with Beltane or May Day, and we always named them, and tied a black ribbon onto our May Pole for them.

Walking the labyrinth, Spring abundant around me, I was also reminded that at Beltane and Samhain, the veil between the worlds is thinnest.  And while we may not expect visits from the Beloved Dead at Beltane, death and life are part of each other, and if the dead come calling at Beltane, let us dance in joy with them, around the May Pole and in the graveyards.  

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Is your spiritual path a labyrinth?

First off, yesterday was Beltane and I was somewhere warm.  That was wonderful.  (What's "warm"?  Er, 15 C / 59 F.  My, how my standards have changed...)

Yesterday afternoon I was walking an outdoor, grass labyrinth (in the warm sun, mmmm).  There was a moment when its path took me very close to the center.  But suddenly, it changed direction and took me back much closer to the outer edge.  Dramatically. 

I was very much struck by the example of the labyrinth as spiritual path. 

Right that moment, following the path took me physically further away from the center.  Yet at the same time, it took me closer towards the center in terms of the process of the labyrinth, the path of the labyrinth.

I feel like this describes an awful lot of life.  And an awful lot of spiritual life.

Also: this labyrinth was generously dotted with goose poop.  I got to decide to step on it or around it. 

Does your spiritual journey ever feel like a labyrinth?  Does it ever feel like a labyrinth dotted with goose poop?

May all the goose poop in your life become fertilizer.