Today is May 1: we’ve entered Beltane season, in the heart of Taurus, ushered by the eclipse earlier this week. It is also the start of National Masturbation Month, conveniently enough (and thanks to a brilliant idea by the Good Vibrations sex toy store in the 1990s).
Beltane is an old Pagan holiday in which the renewed fertility and abundance of the Earth is celebrated by engaging in celebration and ritual sexual union: the sensual, lusty and very physical representation of ‘god’ and ‘goddess’ reconciling for the purpose of channeling the life force into new life.
On one level, that’s the polar opposite of masturbation, which is a solo act of self-love (even if you’re being witnessed by another). Yet done with intention, masturbation can take on the essence of joining one’s inner female and inner male, rather than simply existing as a ‘second-rate substitute’ for being coupled.
Performed outdoors, in contact with the soil and grass and rocks, it can become an act of gratitude for all that the Earth provides and an agreement to receive that material abundance with full openness.
There are various ways of reckoning the exact date of Beltane, one being the day the Sun passes through the midpoint of Taurus (15 degrees Taurus); that happens May 5 at 9:59 am EDT.
May 5 is a Monday, however; not the most convenient day for most people with ‘day jobs’ to frolic naked in the fields or woods and have sex (whether with another or solo). Even if by choice or necessity you keep the ritual celebration indoors, it can be helpful to think of Beltane as a season rather than a moment — so relax in knowing that this whole weekend and the next couple weeks are fair game.
As the Sun reaches the midpoint of Taurus, it makes several aspects. The most exact with a major planet is a sextile to Jupiter in Cancer that’s within less than a degree. You could say that embodies Beltane perfectly: to be filled to overflowing with a sense of our home planet’s abundance, it can take a conscious act of acknowledgment. It’s a harmonious act, but it requires intention.
The Sun will also be just past a trine to Pluto in Capricorn, perhaps representing the greater ease with which we can change our awareness of the basic foundational elements of the Earth this time of year.
The Sun applying in a sextile to Chiron in Pisces (beneficial, but you have to make an effort) suggests just how emotionally healing it can be to honor both the planet and ourselves with some intentional lovemaking. As you open up that space within yourself, you contribute to a raised vibration of healing for every living thing.
But what if you’re one of the many people for whom sex and sexual expression feels irrevocably damaged, blocked or undermined? Perhaps most interesting about Beltane this year is that the Sun exactly squares the asteroid Psyche in Aquarius on Monday. In astrology, Psyche is associated with the feeling that one carries a psychic/mental/spiritual wound that can never be healed.
If Psyche in Aquarius represents a form of wounding imposed by groups (say, anything from feeling ‘abnormal’ if you’re single; to feeling ‘damaged’ by sexual double standards; to fear of your insecurities and perceived shortcomings being discovered on the Internet — fill in the blank) the square from the Sun at the midpoint of Taurus looks like a push to get real about it.
The temptation may be to say, ‘I’m too damaged for a silly Beltane ritual to help any,’ but that would be your pain talking, not the voice of healing.
Reality is, you’re here on this planet. You’re made of the stuff of the Earth; you got here through sex — and nothing is truly un-healable, given enough time, the right timing, desire and intention, and the willingness to receive what is offered rather than stubbornly holding on to the wound’s story.