Monday 5 May 2014

The cleansing fires of Beltane

Beltane, the Celtic festival marking the beginning of the summer's fertility. It falls around Mayday. Cleansing, purifying fires are lit, burning away old dead growth, preparing the soil for new growth. The festival is held in the gap between spring and summer,the interval between the youth of spring and the adulthood of summer. The fires are lit in this space between seasons. It's not only a void in time, but also in space. Worlds collide in this gap, and the fires purify not only the soil, but anything that passes over them. Man and beast cross the fires, purifying themselves, ridding themselves of evil. Spirits from the dark underworld are cleansed.

My poor monk Paoquan tried to leap across the flames on the eve of the day of the dead, trying desperately to escape from the misty world of the great turtle Shen-zin Su's back, where she had been trapped for a year and a day, and into our world. She leapt across the fires, trying to cross the void. But fell into the interstitial gap between worlds, to perish forever. Or so I thought at the time. This Mayday, the spirit of Paoquan drifted through the void into our world again and was burned and cleansed by the fires of Beltane, and was reborn, not as a childish level 10, but as an adult level 90. The Beltane fires renewed  and revitalized. But the rebirth brought another change. She is now a he.