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Beltane: Seasonal Celebrations, Big and Small
Next weekend we reach the mid-point of Spring in the Northern Hemisphere according to the Celtic calendar, meaning that the days are lengthening apace towards Midsummer. There is so much to cherish during this in-between time, as one flower blooms after the other, the sun gets higher in the sky, and new produce begins to beckon. Soon Spring will blossom into Summer and its endless days. I have to say that alongside Mabon, Beltane is my favourite time of year; there’s just something about the in-between magic of both of these ‘cross quarter’ festivals in the Celtic Wheel of the year that means the best of both: abundance to enjoy now, and newness to anticipate - all the more precious for its fleeting beauty.
Cherry Blossom Picnic
Take your cues from the Japanese approach to “sakura season”: as in the UK, on average, cherry blossom peaks in Japan at the beginning of April and lasts two to three weeks. During this time, locals engage in “hanami” or “flower viewing”, the traditional ritual of enjoying the ephemeral blooms of the cherry tree. There is even a “blossom forecast” by the weather bureau every year and outdoor parties held under the cherry blossom, day and night, beneath lanterns. Each year I like to pack a simple picnic and head to the Meadows, one of our local parks in Edinburgh, to enjoy al fresco food under the pink confetti before it fades for another year.
Beltane is associated with creativity, and making time and space for creative pursuits. I often feel my creativity rising as the seasons shift: there’s so much inspiration to be found in everyday nature all around. Set aside an afternoon at the weekend to really get into the creative flow. At this time of year I love to update my seasonal wreath with a Spring version - this one was made with yellow and pink flowers, inspired by nature’s palette right now. Here’s the Autumn wreath make along video I posted back in the Autumn - it could easily be adapted with Spring flowers.
Plan a Summer Adventure
Half the joy of anything is in the anticipation, I find, and planning a Summer adventure or staycation is one way to build excitement for those longer, lighter months ahead. There’s something about having a date in the diary, a note in the calendar to count down towards, that Summer is all about. A staycation, or somewhere off-grid is the perfect R&R to keep in sight and get some of that school day holiday countdown feeling as a grown-up. I can’t wait to return to our favourite Guardswell Farm this Summer and maybe plan a last-minute trip abroad to escape renovating for a while… More on that soon!
Sow for Summer
With the Earth beginning to warm, it’s time to start seriously planning your planting. I’ve still got my name down for an allotment in Edinburgh (seven years and counting…) so I won’t be sowing seeds directly into the Earth any time soon, but I am going to try growing windowsill strawberries, pea shoots, herbs and maybe even tomatoes again. I’ve found investing in the best seeds you can makes a difference, and following the instructions on the packet to the letter - particularly for light and watering.
Birdsong Morning Mindfulness
The birds are particularly active at dawn and dusk as the days lengthen. In fact, they’ve woken me up on more than one occasion recently! Listening to their song is a great way to meditate and be more mindful in the morning or evening. Shut your eyes and notice the different calls of the birds around you while you stretch your limbs and wiggle your toes. Breathe deeply. Try to follow the call and response of their song as the birds watch the world below, warning of company or making their territory known.