I must have been 4, going on 5, for it was in New Jersey where my Dad was taking his PhD.
Somehow Mom had procured a Witch costume for me and a Donald Duck one for my brother, so we could traipse around the neighbourhood with a little bucket each, trick-or-treating in the campus married quarters.
Now I’ve been giving ‘ Terri’s Halloween Lecture’ for the last 18 years or so – at least as long as I’ve been back in the southern hemisphere as a Pagan . It’s got to where it sounds like ‘Samhain..blahblahblah..Beltane..babblebabble’ even to me. But I persevere, in the name of Educating the Masses.
This year, I will be celebrating Beltane on Friday 7 th November, the date of the astronomical midpoint between Equinox and Solstice, and the day before I turn 49.
I’m starting to appreciate the benefits of being post menopausal– the lack of chemicals rushing around your body and messing with your head, the more even tone of your emotional state, the ease of relating to other people – hel, you’re technically a Crone now, with a sigh of relief that all that procreating stuff is behind you.
I enjoy Being like this. I feel as if I’m settling into a straighter, more aligned groove in the universe than I ever inhabited previously. I feel sane, and healthy, joyous and safely held within the cosmos. Yes, I’m one of those irritating people who lean towards the inherent benevolence of this universe.
But the muddling between Beltane and Samhain coming at me from South African society in general is really an indicator as to how these two celebrations are actually linked.
They’re poles of the same thing.
Once upon a time, you see – many eons ago when we all lived in the primordial soup and War for Oil had not yet been discovered- we possessed a kind of immortality about ourSelves. We were then unicellular organisms for the most part, and reproduced ourSelves through fission. We could mostly go on for eternity like this, but we bartered it for something we thought we needed more – adaptability through mutation.
So we came up with sexual reproduction, in which two of us contribute genetic material to create a ‘new individual’, and the roll of the dice of inheritance had begun.
In this way we achieved the shifting, adapting organism we were looking for, but the price we paid for it was Death.
Thus, Beltane as the celebration of fertility and sexuality is just the other pole of this axis to Samhain, the celebration of death and mortality.
The one implies and is necessitated by the other, and Sex and Death are intimately bound together – ask any Scorpio.
Did we get a good deal? My jury is still out on that one.
I find the veil thins just as much at Beltane as at Samhain, which is not surprising, given my status as a Being slightly outside the sexual rapaciousness of the Calan Haf , now.
Whatever you’re celebrating – Sex or the Death which was Life’s price for it – I bid you have a good one, and remember the connection.