Bright Beltane Blessings on our readers! Yes, it's May 1st, and (officially) the first day of Summer.
Beltane is a very ancient festival, celebrated by our pagan ancestors to thank the gods that winter was over, and to hope that fields and flocks would be fertile. And, of course, it was absorbed into the Christian Calendar as St. Walpurga's feast-day.
This lady was a convent-educated nun who is reputed to have traveled with her saintly brothers to assist her uncle (another saint) -- she is also reputed to be the first female author!
I love May. It can be such a glorious month, and even if the weather isn't kind, it's the month of bluebells and new life. Did you know that the flowering hawthorn is known as may? And that young people would go out early on this May morning to gather branches of the flowers, and to bathe their faces in the dew? What a delightfully romantic notion! To celebrate, therefore, I'm posting the Beltane excerpt from NETTLEFLOWER.
Reagan became aware that she was sorely out of breath, her scarlet gown was sticking to her back with sweat, she had a painful stitch in her side, and she had never been happier in her life, a joy that ran elemental through her, body and soul. "I think I've got a thorn in my foot," she whispered to the Horned God, as they came together in the figures of the dance, and saw him grin.
"Hate to tell you where I've got thorns, sweeting." Reagan heard herself giggle, and wondered just what was in the sacramental wine. She let herself lean against him, ignoring the spiraling pattern that continued around them, feeling the heat of him and the hard strength.
"I could help you get them out," she offered, her hands feathering teasingly down the length of his back. He gave a stifled groan and his body arched involuntarily.
"No. Goddess. For this night."
"Every day and every night, in my heart, Lady." The fires were dying, and the darkness creeping in, and it was not difficult to slip into the shadows of the trees. The moss beneath the oaks was cool and moist and softer than swansdown underfoot, and she drew him to her. His hands came up to loosen the drawstring at the neck of the gown, and it slithered from her like a sloughed skin to pool at her feet. In the light of the risen moon, her body was glimmering pale as the creaming blossom of meadowsweet, tender as hawthorn flowers. Threads of blue veining traced her whiteness here and there, and her full breasts were rounded and high and pink-tipped in the cool. "Before God, you are fairer than the moon and stars -- " Prayer and invocation both, and for the mortal as well as the Goddess within. She cupped his face in her palms and looked into his eyes. Leofric gazed back, his soul his own again, and she kissed his mouth, tasting the last vestige of the wine.
"My Lord, my love and my lover," she whispered. "I swear Dewi has been lessoning you in sweet words."
"No." He took off the horned headdress and wedged it in the branches above them. "You are inspiration enough to give a dumb man speech." His hair was matted into sweaty elf-locks from the close-fitting cap and Reagan ran her fingers through it before pulling his head down for another kiss.
"I know that by custom we cannot be church-wed until Lammas," he said huskily, "but if you will consent, this night shall be our handfasting and marriage -- vowed before the Lord and Lady of the Beltane Fires, no matter what we must swear to for earthly witness at another time."
Which seemed perfectly logical and right to Reagan.
"Let it be so, then, dearling," she whispered, and pulled him down with her onto the yielding moss.
Beside the Old Gods of the land, even the Horned One is a newcomer. She is Corn Queen, Life-Bearer; He is the Green King, Seed-Sower. And the Land remembers, and makes their Sacred Marriage with each renewing Spring.
Terri Beckett - firstname.lastname@example.org
Author of - NETTLEFLOWER with Chris Power on www.cerridwenpress.com
Also with Chris - TRIBUTE TRAIL & WAR TRAIL- reviews on www.amazon.com.
My web site is www.kymrukatz.co.uk