We made May Day Baskets in Mrs. Anderson's first grade, and I loved them instantly. I think of her and those tiny baskets filled with assorted violets and dandelions and whatever else we could find. I have told this story many times....and it still some 55 years later fills me with a sense of awe and the anticipation of the season to come, from "helping" my Dad in the vegetable garden, and not wanting to help my Mom plant petunias because I didn't like the way they smelled, and watching her put up a trellis of string for the sweet peas to climb on, I loved the softly colored flowers, but I could have done without the bees that loved them also.
Beltane, welcomes the abundance that is to come. Enticing warm weather and the freedom from heavy clothing and cold damp winds, make the heart light, and of course kindle the fire of passion and if one is lucky, love. After the gray and isolation of winter, the land is rested and ready to produce flowers, and fruit again. The bees are busily collecting pollen and nectar, apple pear and other trees, and the numerous wildflowers and fruiting bushes, because they do most of the pollinating, and without them would there be no honey, but there would be far fewer, fruits, vegetables, flowers and grains. When the buckwheat now sprouting in the farmers field blossoms, the bees will turn its nectar and pollen into a mellow, dark and rich honey.
Bees were believed to be messengers between the spirit world and the wold of men by the Celts. It also believed that if a bee were to land on your hand you would be prosperous, and that a bee entering the house meant a visitor with good news was on the way, but should you kill that bee the news would be bad. In Appalachia and some other ares of the Eastern United States, where there are many people of Anglo-Saxon and Celtic decent when someone dies, it is the custom for the bee keeper in the family to tell the bees, so that the bees can spread the word.
At Imbolic the earth stirs under under its blanket of snow, the year is in it's infancy, but now at Beltane it is the robust child entering adulthood, "sowing wild oats" and exploring the surroundings, still unattached, savoring and anticipating at the same time. Like the Green Man. the Lord of the Greenwood, watching his lands awakening, and life stretching out before him, the place where he will search for find is mate, and make the earth fertile and abundant again.
Tonight when the Beltane's fire are lit. and people gather, to celebrate, stop for a moment and welcome abundance and the awakening earth.