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|From the President|
From the President
The Topaz Owl
I think sometimes that I am the happiest person alive when Beltaine finally rolls around. The sun becomes noticeably warmer, the birds sing early in the morning, the trees and flowers in this part of the world begin to open, and all creatures “get busy” with the business of life. I point and smile at new green shoots emerging from the soil. I revel in the sight of returning migratory birds. Life energy is vigorous at Beltaine. Those of us on the farm also do our part to restore life after the Long Dark. Our onion crop is usually planted by now, and we are often getting ready to plant potatoes. The beginning of the Light Half of the Year usually feels long overdue by the time it gets here, at least from my perspective in the “Great White North.”
Unfortunately, at the time of this writing, all this bustling, cheerful activity that tends to also refresh and invigorate my soul hasn’t started yet. In fact, we are battening down the hatches for another Nor’easter, which intends to drop several inches of snow and/or ice on us. And the last time I checked the weather report, I took note of the fact that we won’t see the sun here for another week. It is this sloppy, wet murkiness, the sodden grey-ness of it all that gets to me after a while. You see, I have Seasonal Affective Disorder, also know by its acronym, SAD. My symptoms were extreme this year, for we had a very long sun-less winter, in which it either rained or snowed an unbelievable amount at once. Thankfully, I have friends in warm places, places where the sun shines a great deal more than it does here in central NY. I did manage to get away for a long weekend, which refreshed me a great deal.
However, in the midst of the darkness, at my lowest low, when I wasn’t communicating with anyone (which, by the way, is a bad thing to do when you’re depressed), in the throes of wading through waist-high snow to get my poor snow-bound horses outside after days of captivity, I fell – and that fall changed everything. As I lay in the snow on my back, physically unharmed but looking skyward with tears streaming down my face, I thought how futile my life seemed, and I had no energy to keep going, to even move from where I had fallen. I could see no reason for my continued existence, no reason…
As they say, it’s always darkest before the dawn. I then heard a crow yelling from a nearby tree, and that call sharply pierced the blackness of my despair. I suddenly realized that the sun had come out. The sky was a perfect blue, with light fluffy clouds making their way across my field of vision. And I realized that the snow was very comfortable, so I reclined there and watched the sky for a bit longer, my tears freezing as they rolled from my cheeks. The crow’s call in my ears seemed to change, and, in a most amazing revelation, it dawned on me that crow was speaking to me, yelling at me, “Get up! Get up! Why do you lay there?! Don’t give up! Get up! Get up!”
Don’t give up.
Imagine my surprise. It didn’t take a great leap of faith to understand that a certain Goddess was speaking to me through one of the black birds that are often associated with Her. Fight on, I heard in my head. So I did. I wiped my tears, heaved a great sigh, and climbed up out of the snow, with the crow cheering me on, and then more crows. Urged on by their cacophony, I continued to struggle onward through the snow. And yes, it was a great struggle, but I finally got my horses outside in the sun, where they needed to be.
Of course, the encouragement from the crow was more than it seemed at the time. It was really more about the inner journey I had been experiencing than the outer struggle of the moment. I was yanked abruptly from my depression by this experience, for it occurred to me then that, although I am not the center of the universe by a long shot, I am, in fact, a very necessary part -- as we all are necessary to the lives of others. My vision expanded outward from the recent wintry obsession of my inner Self hunkering miserably in darkness -- to the sky, the clouds, the crows, the horses, and, ultimately, understanding. I understand now that it isn’t all about me, but rather, that I am a servant, a vassal, a productive arm of the Gods of my People, put here on this earth and in this time to do the work They ask of me. Whether I know it or not, I am important, for many reasons. And there are people and creatures that depend on me; not just my family and my horses or pets, but the crows and other wild animals, trees and plants and water spirits that live here under my physical and magical protection. I rolled the thought around in my mind again: it isn’t all about me.
When you come outside of yourself in such a way, you realize with a blush and a start how selfish you have actually been, withholding your bright energy from the world, withholding that spark within you that is Deity. You understand how your own self-absorption has produced negativity in a world that needs all the positive energy you can muster for it. You make a conscious choice to continue to crouch selfishly in the shadow, or to become a light in the darkness for the benefit of all. Sometimes we are so far gone that only a kick in the ass from a warrior goddess can bring us back into balance -- and sometimes we are blessed enough to actually recognize that kick in the ass when we experience it.
At this Beltaine, the dawn of the Season of Light, I hope we all join with the Mother and the spirits of the Land in renewing our positive, life-affirming energy. But more than that, I hope we feel the urge to share our own particular bright energy with everyone and everything we encounter.
May the warmth of the Beltaine sun bless you with the energy to continue your life’s work with a renewed depth and sense of purpose!
Walk with wisdom,
- The Topaz Owl
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