Beginning Beltane

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).

Planets aspecting the Sun (plus Venus in Aries) at Beltane. Clockwise, from top: Pluto in Capricorn, Saturn in Scorpio, Jupiter in Cancer, Sun in Taurus, Venus, and Chiron in Pisces.
Planets aspecting the Sun (plus Venus, which rules Taurus) at Beltane. Clockwise, from top: Pluto in Capricorn, Saturn in Scorpio, Jupiter in Cancer, Sun in Taurus, Venus in Aries, and Chiron in Pisces.

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.

8 thoughts on “Beginning Beltane”

  1. Amy E., i agree and echo your sentiments re Psyche and healing. Feel it is so much about personally reclaiming but expressed in unison.

    A beautiful movie that depicts this BeltIne aspect visually, psychologically and emotionally is the Italian film “I am Love”. One of my favorites. If anyone is interested try to find a copy to see.

    Thanks Amanda for the beautiful message, the power of connecting and healing of and through the elementals, and for this..;

    “to be filled to overflowing with a sense of our home planet’s abundance, it can take a conscious act of acknowledgment.”

  2. It’s interesting how Psyche is somewhat connected to Chiron here in terms of astrological meaning – but then she is another mythical example of liminality, a mortal who becomes deified. The human soul perhaps requires a wound in order to let in the divine force.

    I’m horribly repressed, so I shall probably celebrate Beltane by studying 😉 Hope you all have a good one, anyway!

  3. Masturbation month you say? What a wonderful way to channel the seasonal mojo. No human sprouts that way. It’s all I’ve had for the last 10 years and I can say, yeah it’s like the integration of internal genders, but it’s also the speck dissolving into Space, or into the Earth. I’ve learned how to touch my own parts and discovered that there’s a lot more to a man’s version of the genital region than what hangs out. One could say it’s a process of integrating the inner woman, but I think it’s more just honestly feeling what’s there. It’s considered to be womanly to feel your inside, to feel penetration, to feel soft, but those are really just animal things that patriarchal culture projects onto women. Watch a male cat sometime. Are his movements feminine or just smooth?

  4. Love it Chief !!! … should post that as a FB status — might get a few offers ;-p

    I don’t know about others, but I have been feeling the “sap rise” for the past several weeks… the old adage about ‘april showers bringing may flowers’ although obvious, can be seen in the season of Beltaine — it is time to kind of bring all of that energy that has been building and rising, into manifestation ! … I am personally flying solo lately, and have been pouring this energy into my pottery — not quite as embodied as sex, but still kinda dirty ;-p

  5. Amanda, woohooo! and thank you for calling up the special medicine of this astrology for Beltane. I was so relieved when someone reminded me that the cosmic tiltawhirl of the GC/Eclipses landed us in the soft mossy earth of Beltane. Now if it would just warm up a little in Maine. I love my wood stove, but this is starting to feel like a dreary life sentence–till death do us part. Naked outside is not happening yet.

    Cowboyiam, what you say!

  6. “First of May, First of May,
    Outdoor fucking begins today!”

    – Ancient Pagan Prayer

  7. Amanda that is a deep well of truth you spoke. All of our locked up shame is the limits we cant go beyond – until we do – and doing brings it all painfully to the surface for painful raw debate. Having such high guidence to help us choose the best time to press forward is so comforting. Thank you for the readings you share; they are always deeply revealing. Always the ego questions the logic of every idea of freedom and so often the compromise that some other time will be best. Challenging this walk is. Helpful to follow astrology and having wise astrologic guidence sooths the fear and encourages couragous expression which makes freedom a bit more compelling. tilting the odds just a bit in favor of action. Action is the manifest choice finally becoming.

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