Happy Beltane! Have you heard Jonathon Coulton's song, First of May?
"First of May, first of May, Outdoor fucking starts today..."
It's the peak of fertility and the launch of pleasure and I am in love.
Goddess, this is good.
It kept me from posting last night. It wasn’t even a decision. I fell asleep naked and was disturbed all night, too alive to sensation.
Oh, I want to tell you all about it. About how it felt when he… When I …
But I also want to protect it. It is so deep, but new…
Like so much is, right now, out there.
I will say this. Tomorrow night I am priestessing my circle’s monthly moon ritual, this time with a Beltane pull…
So when I went to the creek this morning, I spent some time on the long meadow above Acer, laying on the earth and grounding past all the static in my body to what’s happening in the earth now.
And what I heard was Pleasure. (I swear. It wasn’t just me.)
I distrusted pleasure for many years. What I trusted was effort. Work. It seemed clear to me that if it was too easy, too simply delightful, I must not be trying hard enough. (Not that I couldn’t cure that with a couple of shots of tequila.)
This idea about pleasure, though, this is a common story. In fact, I believe it is written in the Republican platform.
But the land, the elements say something so fundamentally different. The trees say it feels good to reach toward the light. The rain feels good falling to the stream, coursing to the ocean, vaporizing to the sky. The elements know that pleasure is not just it’s own reward—though of course it is, and one I am rapidly becoming accustomed to, I must say — it is also a compass to strength.
That is what the meadow above Longfellow creek, scattered with pink and white grass daisies and crazy with birdsong said today.
It’s so easy, out there, in the green and blue day, to know this.
I decided to take it home to my writing today. For the past three weeks I have been lighting the candles, and writing for two hours almost every day, and it has been good. But I haven’t really been acting like the witch I am. I haven’t been casting the circle in my office, calling in the elements, asking my sacred ones to join me. I haven’t been acting like magic matters. The drumbeat of get to work has always been too loud in my brain.
But it was different today. It was partly the hum of the meadow, surely, bees’ wings under my skin all the way home. But also this. A few days ago I posted that I drew the Death Card as a guide for my writing. Which to me meant that I needed to let go of one of my projects— novel or memoir—for at least this growing season.
That night, I did. See ya after Samhain, novel.
And as soon as I did that, that very night, the structure of the memoir and the thread that ties it and me together came roaring through, with magic and animal allies and my passion for the wild all coursing through me in a way that was so strong, so visceral that I danced through the house, singing and calling out loud. The elements! I will organize it elementally! I pulled my project board with it’s chaos of post-it scenes down and organized them into rows: a section on air, a section on fire, on water and earth. I forgot Center. I do that all the time! What kind of witch am I? But it will be there. And so will the animals! The crows, the foxes, the frogs and salamanders and the trees! (Which are as alive to me as any beast.) That night they were practically flapping and hopping and slithering and slinking and twining around the rooms of my house and what’s more, they had been there all along, on the pages and in my days all these months and years as I have been delving, writing in the dark, wondering what would ever come of this.
I want to say that I know that it’s right because it calls together what I love. And because when I went to Hugo House about a month ago to see David Shields speak, he said “You have to find a form that releases your best and strangest intelligence.”
Yes. This does. This would. This is pleasurable. It must be right!!
I also know this, though:
It’s Beltane. And later in the year, it will not be pleasure that is the source of magic. It will be endurance in high summer. Or late autumn’s willingness to cull.
Plus, I am always jazzed at the beginning of something…
But, maybe that’s okay, is truly the power of pleasure and of May. To give us the juice, the sap and pollen, the cock and pussy (or cock and cock, pussy and pussy!)… to give us the thrill and sensation and desire to start! To pollinate and fuck and create...
Anyway, I rode it today, in my office. I cast the circle, and I remembered center, and for center called Spider. As I did, the velvet spider that hangs over my desk spun on it’s golden thread. It went from utter stillness to a slow rotation that brought me to my chair and there I stayed, cataloguing pleasure until the timer rang.
(Did you listen to the First of May yet? You really must.)