There was a profound change in the weather this week, which felt like a new season: the sun finally came out after weeks of clouds and rain; the temperature rose above the 40’s into the 60’s; the first flowers are poking out of the ground. Officially, the first day of spring was March 21, the spring equinox, a day the Pagans call Ostara. It has felt more like winter, however, for the first month of spring—or like a spring version of winter. Coming soon is the Pagan holiday of Beltane on May 1st (May Day). This change in the weather feels more like a promise of May, and so I think of the season as shifting – from “early spring” (the Ostara season) to “spring” (the Beltane season).
In fact, I extend this concept to all 8 of the Pagan holidays: each one represents a season (or sub-season, if you like). In my understanding of these sub-seasons, each of the 8 Pagan holidays is in the center, not the beginning. Here’s my new concept of 8 seasons, as I name them and as I experience them in the place and climate where I live:
-Yule, the Winter Holiday season, from December 1st to mid-January; the Yule holiday is December 21.
-Imbolc, the Deep Winter season, from mid-January to the end of February; the Imbolc holiday is February 1.
-Ostara, the Early Spring season, from March 1st to mid-April; the Ostara holiday is March 21.
-Beltane, the Spring season, from mid-April to the end of May; the Beltane holiday is May 1.
-Litha, the Summer season, from June 1st to mid-July; the Litha holiday is June 21.
-Lammas, the Late Summer season, from mid-July to the end of August; the Lammas holiday is August 1.
-Mabon, the Autumn season, from September 1st to mid-October; the Mabon holiday is September 21.
-Samhain, the Harvest season, from mid-Ocotober to the end of November; the Samhain holiday is November 1.
To me it’s fun and interesting to think about the cycle of the year this way, and to re-name the seasons. And there’s a deeper level: I am more attuned to nature and to seasons, to light and dark, to warm and cold, to the life around me than I have been before. I will be 54 next week (speaking of yearly cycles of the Earth around the Sun) and this awareness has been growing in me just in the last few years.
Happy season of Beltane to you. Happy spring. Happy warming weather. Happy flowers poking out of the ground. May you embrace the changing season and be attuned to it in the way that feels right for you, however you may name it.
Unknowable force that spins the Earth and flings the planets around the Sun, energy of the Sun warming the Earth, hear my prayer. May I be in tune with the flow of energy and light that define this life, this planet; the energy of time by which all that we know is measured.
Cosmic life force, may I be aware of the flow of energy and life this day and every day.
Rev. Andrew Frantz
April 14, 2022