Sunday, 4 May 2008

It's Only Natural

You may or may not have noticed that I have a habit of mentioning the turning seasons as they happen. This is because I celebrate what is known to some as The Wheel of the Year, and have been for most of my adult life. Seeing and feeling my life reflected in nature, gives me a framework for my daily existence which makes perfect sense to me, and gives me a constant sense of wonder at the world in all its beauty. So for the past week, I have mostly been celebrating Beltane, which traditionally in these parts, takes place on 1st May. Beltane is the old British word for this fertility festival which if placed in a circle, is the south eastern quarter and can be most related to the time in our lives when we are teenagers or young adults, full of fun, energy, exuberance, sexuality, sensuality and good old fashioned lust. It is a time of youthful celebration and of promise. In nature, it is when the leaves burst out of their timid post bud flushes with a vengeance, when suddenly you look around and everything is vividly fresh and vibrantly green, when the white and pink Hawthorn flowers flood the hedgerows, and when the first shoots of our future harvest appear. It is when the native birds are nesting, and when the migrant birds return, when the first cuckoos can be heard, and when the lambs, having at last found some strength in their little legs, are frolicking with abandon in the fields, along with the baby rabbits and other young and playful wildlife. It is the mid-point on the sun's journey between the spring equinox and the summer solstice, when its strength is still growing, when the evenings are still getting longer, the days are getting warmer and because of that, productivity is increasing. In our own lives, this is a time when after the long cold days of winter darkness, the resolutions we made at new year have either failed or have taken off, the seeds of our ideas are showing their first rewards. This is a time of extreme creativity, a time loaded with potential and huge growth. In olden days, this was when the cattle and other grazing herds would be driven back out into the fields via the Beltane fires. In short, this is the real start of summer.

Working through Beltane this year, thinking about lust in all it's forms, my attention rested upon the current food crises around the world, caused by many factors, but all in all, when it comes down to it, mostly by human greed and a lust for power and money. I thought about the poor people who in some countries, due to the rising costs of food cannot even afford their basic staple - rice - and how we in the west seem untouched by these crises which affect the most basic of our human needs. I think of our lust in the west for convenience, the need to have it all when we want it, at whatever cost, and I think of the power of the supermarket - being able to provide everything for us so cheaply in the blink of an eye, while others starve to death. This type of lust seems obscene to me.

And so in the joyful spirit of Beltane, I made a Pledge of Simplicity. Or rather, a renewed promise to enjoy life's simple pleasures at every given opportunity. Those things which we all have already, those things which make our hearts sing every day, those things that money or all the tea in China can't buy. I renewed my promise to think more deeply about what I consume, to consider each purchase in terms of needs or wants, to avoid supermarkets like the plague, to try my hardest to step more lightly on this earth than ever before, but most importantly, I pledged that I would try my best, through my own actions and interactions, to inspire others to do the same.


Lesley said...


I've been feeling more and more uncomfortable about all this news about our fuel and food bills increasing recently and yet, on the whole, we still enjoy a very priveleged life compared to others who cannot afford the most basic of foods just to stay alive.


Mrs. Parks said...


Kathi D said...

I love your words today! I am guilty of overconsumption of all kinds. I well remember coming home from a trip to Africa many years ago and being a little bit stunned on my first trip to a supermarket. I can't understand why we need so many CHOICES. Do we really need to decide among dozens of crackers or dry cereals?

Choice is good, I suppose, but maybe only to a point? Why should we have shelves full of rice concoctions when much of the world has no rice at all?

ENJAY said...

Great blog, love the Natural Bag, my Daughter did maypole on the green for Mayday. Lovely weather!!