In many pagan calendars, known as “The Wheel of the Year,” there are eight holidays. These holidays are the Winter and Summer Solstices, the Spring and Fall Equinoxes and the midpoints in between. These holidays are similar to modern holidays and are arguably the originating festivals.
Halloween, for example, has its roots in Samhain (pronounced Sow-Ehn). It falls between the Fall Equinox and the Winter Solstice. One of the features of Samhain is the belief that the veil between the worlds is the thinnest, and is a time for communion with otherworldly spirits.
The pagan holiday between the Spring Equinox and Summer Solstice is called Beltane, or more commonly Mayday. There is a reason that “plowing the fields” is a sexual euphemism, as it was once believed that having intercourse in the fields brought fertility to the crops. This was a common practice that became ritualized on Beltane.
This ritualization became the Maypole Dance. The Maypole represents the phallus of the God, who was born at Yule and has now reached maturity. The wreath at the top represents the yoni of the Goddess, who has blossomed into womanhood. The dancers weave ribbons around the pole representing the joining of the two forces, for together, they create life.
Beltane marks the in-breath, greening, stimulating and refreshing time of year that is the counterpoint to Samhain, the out-breath, decaying, and darkening time of year. It is also believed that the veil between the worlds thins at Beltane and that faerie activity is at its strongest.
Paganism, at its heart, is rooted in Nature. The ancients built their spirituality by observing Nature. Sowing seeds in the earth produces crops. Calving season always comes after mating season. Examples of male and female principles joining to produce life were all around them. The ancients recognized this powerful force and realized that by harnessing the power of Nature or Creation through sex, they could channel it into other aspects of their lives.
Is it any wonder that certain religions have tried so hard to suppress human sexuality? If everyone realized they could manipulate their reality through sex, they would be empowered beyond what the religion could provide. Thus, there has been a smear campaign on lust, passion, and sexuality as being a baser quality of man to be overcome, suppressed, and tightly controlled.
Enter into present times, and one can’t help but notice the prevalence of sexual diseases, both physical and psychological. If one is to believe that disease stems from a psychological or energetic root, you can see how successful the campaign against sexuality was. Even the way we are taught about sex has been scrubbed clean of any magic or intimacy and we are taught to abstain lest the worst happen.
I believe that the time has come for us to reclaim what has been stolen. The magickal medicine I would like to offer to that end is the following meditation:
In a seated position, breathe in and imagine your breath extending to your pelvis. At the same time tighten your perineum muscles (Your perineum lies between your genitals and your anus). Imagine you are drawing energy up from your perineum through your spine to your crown. With your out-breath imagine the energy cascading down from your crown along the outside of your body down to your feet, and then up again with the in-breath. The in-breath is the male principle, the out-breath female.
As you do this meditation, imagine you are the center of an onion and each breath clears a layer of the onion. Start with your body, clearing every cell, then move on to your history, and clear your memories. Then move on to your parents, your family, and their shared history. Go as far back as you can imagine, clearing and blessing each layer until you touch the ancients. Imagine the joy they might have had for engaging in the act of creation and claim it for yourself.
If we all did this meditation, intending together to clear and reclaim, would it be possible for cultural disgust to be transformed into something sacred?
This Beltane, celebrate your sexuality and stay sexy.