In a short few days Beltane will be upon us. Already our gardens are awakening, the trees have become fragrant and the air carries something with it – the promise of plenty, warmth and birth.
There are a hundred different ways to prepare for and celebrate a holy day, and it mostly depends on what your tradition is, what your preferences are, what your coven or grove does, etc. Being a solitary Druid (and a solitary Kitchen Witch) for many years, it fell to me to decide what ceremonies I wanted to follow. It fell to me to find a Druid path through Beltane, and bring in the Kitchen Witch elements that always seem to follow me.
To be honest, I don’t do the same thing every year – at least, not exactly the same thing. The rites have similar notes to them, the words are similar, but the rites themselves are organic. That is something I believe strongly in – the organics of what we do. I’ve been there for the ceremonies that are identical to the last one, and yes – the words still have power and the energy is still raised but we live, we grow and our needs change. Our ceremonies ought to do the same.
The main focus of my post today though is being what we are – walkin the walk and talkin the talk.
Pagan Coming Out Day is May 2nd this year. (a lot of great authors have written fabulous articles on this: I suggest you meander over to http://pagancomingoutday.com/ for more information and great links!) This brings into sharp relief those of us who have come out, what it means for us daily and if we really have come out, or if we hide more than we say we do.
I’m out to some of the people I work with – those who don’t know I don’t see all that often and I really couldn’t tell you what their religious preferences are either. People I’ve worked with in the past knew, but not because I walked up and introduced myself as Erika, the Druid. They found out after a comment here, a question there. It was friendly and, thankfully, didn’t affect my work status there. Like most of us, my friends knew first and it was easy to tell them. They accepted me for it, and I began practicing with a few of them on a regular basis. We became something of a coven. My family, on the other hand, was not as open – my siblings, yes, and oddly my father, but my mother? No, not in the slightest. Her resistance was strong and caused a rift between us. That rift healed though, through discussion and learning. She overcame her objections and instead asked questions – and not easy questions either but the probing sort that really make you think about your path and what it means. Telling my mother that I’m a Druid Kitchen Witch really made me explore what it means, what those words mean and what my path is… it helped me understand myself with a depth I hadn’t reached yet and strengthened me on my path in amazing ways.
I wear an oak leaf mostly, not a pentacle, although lately I’m sporting a small crystal ball on a silver chain. Those who know me look over and smile – to everyone else it’s just a pretty crystal. I don’t actually own a piece of pentacle jewelry… I’ve never felt the call to own one, and none has ever been gifted to me. Does that make me a bad Pagan? No, I don’t think so. I’m Druid – the oak leaf is sacred to us and wearing that leaf reminds me of the sacred in nature, and my connections to the divine.
But is it enough to wear symbolic jewelry and say yes if someone asks us if we’re Pagan? I posted last time about taking it with us, about carrying the sacred with us through our days. Do our actions speak to our belief in the divinity of nature? Do we honor our Gods and Goddesses with our words and deeds?
No one is perfect, and we will get angry and frustrated during the day. We will get annoyed and upset. We will be happy at times and miserable at others. Walking the walk and talking the talk doesn’t mean you’re always the perfect depiction of your path. What it means is that you don’t hide who you are to be more “acceptable” to someone else. I hid what I was for a long time – the first couple years as I was finding my path all those years ago. I even went so far as to still go to church with my mother when I was out visiting her. I feared what her Catholicism would say, and the argument that would result. Before my dedication though, I told her. It was hard, but I couldn’t decide on my path and be dedicated to it with that hanging over my head. I emerged on the other side renewed and lighter for having told everyone in my life what my choices were. I was happier and much more ready for my dedication.
This coming Monday will be an epic day for a lot of people. Multitudes of Pagans across the country and across the world will declare themselves to the world. Many, many more will keep hiding; will stay ‘in the closet’. They are just as beautiful and just as special and just as important as those who feel the call to come out. To me this is as much a Pagan Pride day as a Coming Out day. There is no gala event where I am – and if I could spare the time off work I’d be in DC for their festivities. But I will celebrate in my own way, connecting online with people I know, sharing stories and tales and wishing everyone a blessed day. I will beseech the Goddess to give hope to those who feel they cannot come out, that one day their lives will be in a place that the no longer need to hide.
In lieu of a recipe today I’m going to point you to the website of a dear and wonderful woman – Dawn Hunt, at Cucina Aurora ( http://www.cucinaaurora.com/ ). Wander over, check out her website and buy her cookbook – so many fabulous recipes! I made the Lemon Raspberry Pudding Pie last weekend and it is divine and cooling in this hot, stormy Spring we’ve been gifted. Also, her infused olive oils will give you yet another reason to love olive oil!