Beltane, the mid point of the Druidic year. A time of rapid growth, life bursting from the soil as the sun’s rays pour energy into the land. Young animals growing quickly in the abundance that nature brings. But all this with a sting that says life will end at some point too.
While the Green Man has that obvious connection with the rapid growth, he also has a darker side too. He is the wild man, the hairy man who lives in the woods, he is Iron John who teaches us to leave the nest, to find our own way in the world, who teaches us some of the harder facts of life.
I am at a Green Man ceremony this morning, organised by a local council. I don’t know if they understand the significance of the rite but it warms my heart that Beltane celebrations are accepted by the establishment – indeed welcomed – in some places in the UK.
So let us celebrate today. Celebrate life in its youth but be mindful that there are tougher times ahead and that the lessons we learn now will help us in the future. Let us learn that Nature who gives us life must be held sacred, and in that sacredness we must learn to honour her. Honouring her is the opposite of throwing plastic into her oceans, the opposite of filling the air with CO2, the opposite of hunting for pleasure, the opposite of injecting millions of gallons of poison into her in the name of fracking.
Honouring her is learning to live in harmony with her. That is the real learning that the Green Man brings us.