Friday, April 1, 2011

Countdown to Beltane, Day 1

Today is April Fools' Day. It's 30 days to Beltane, the feast of feasts and song and dance and merrymaking and lovemaking...

I am going to post a similar countdown to Beltane as I posted to Ostara, and the same goes as for Ostara countdown; if you leave comments, I'll link to your blog, or if you leave links to an interesting page, I'll link to that.

I appreciate comments, it would be enough to just say ":-)" or "thanks for posting this", if you find it hard to express your thoughts. Just give me a little word to remind me I'm not alone. :-)

I was reminded of the difficulty of reading heavy posts, so I will be sharing the information into three: in this will be information relevant to household, living and general holiday information, myths and lore;
in Need More Fiber will be all crafts, daily ornament and such and
in Goddess Food will be all the recipes and menu suggestions, and Goddess information.

You might wonder about my choice of separator line? Christian?
No. This one is fully Pagan.

First, it's a sign of fish made with waxing and waning crescent of the moon, just like the zodiac sign of Fishes is. In that sign the two moon crescents represent two fishes and are back to back, tied together with a line.

The legend tells that Aphrodite tied her son Eros to herself so that he wouldn't get lost, when they were threatened by Typhon, transformed into fishes and swam to safety.

This fish sign is the Mandorla, almond shape, the shape of the vulva.

This fish was also the symbol of the sea God Oannes.
(Oannes-Ioannes association, Fisherking and Kingfisher, and John the Baptist - Bran the Blessed association)

Fish is also the symbol of April 1st. Poisson d'avril, the April Fish, is what April Fool is called in France. The March-April issue of Marie Claire Idées is usually full of fishes made in different art and craft methods, and in France they give chocolate fishes to each other on this day.
Sounds like a much better tradition than the practical jokes version.

This fish is a sign for Beltane.

Kitsune - Japanese trickster spirit

"Tibetan thangka. This dakini is of high status, considered to be a Female Buddha. Her dancing power is iconic, repeated in almost all dakini images. Like Kali, she wears a garland of severed heads. In her right hand she holds a knife used for cutting away illusions, including the illusion of separate ego identity. With the dorje handle of the blade, using the butt, she shatters all mirrors of subjectivity. In her left arm she cradles a magic staff adorned with banners. In her left hand she holds a skull-cup filled with blood—hence the term, blood-drinking dakini. The five-skull crown signifies the Tantric principle of transmutation of the poisons of the five emotions (variously named): anger, jealousy, greed, hatred, and obtusity or denial. The dakini drinks these emotions ecstatically, for to her they are taste delicious and converts them into wisdom nectars."

Colombine-Arlecchina - the female trickster from Commedia dell'arte

Old tarot fools

It looks to me like the symbolical meaning of The Fool has been changed quite a bit during the years we have practiced tarot...
Nevertheless, the tarot Fool is an interesting card.

If you plan to take the Fool's Journey, you start it with a day of doing, saying and thinking the exact opposite...
When you are afraid of doing something, you should do just that.
When your inner voice tells you you are worthless, tell it it's wrong, you are very valuable and worthy, as there is not one other being on the whole universe like you.
When you notice you are looking down, look up.
If you "always" go right, go left this time.

You are The Fool. You have the right to look the people in their eyes and see them, really SEE them.
You have the right to do foolish and silly things, dare and try, experience and live the life like a child, as if you were seeing everything the first time.

If the stars were visible only once in every 100 years, everyone would gather out to watch the amazing show. Act as if they were visible for only tonight. If it's cloudy, you can repeat the experiment tomorrow, or day after that. It doesn't matter, because they ARE up there, every night. But you might not be around, so don't push until tomorrow what you can do today.
Except if it's boring. If you are not around tomorrow, no-one will care whether your dishes are done and your shoes in perfect order.

Nevertheless, these older Fools remind me of the Wild Man or Woodwose or the full-body Green Man, Jack-in-the-Green

and funnily enough... we are back where we started. You see, Green Man is usually accompanied by Sheela-na-gig... They are not especially connected, just themes used back at the time the first churches were being built, but they do accompany each other quite often.

Some influence for this post:
Origins of April's Fools' Day
The Pagan Origins of Jesus and Christianity; The Fish, Jupiter and the Zodiac 
The Mermaid
Female Tricksters 
Trickster Women
The Trickster: A God's Evolution
Kosmos Idikos: Crystal Japan
The Sheela Na Gig Project

Ideas on how to decorate for Beltane:

I found this: tis the season to set the table, and I have to say it doesn't look at all like Christmas to me. It looks like a spring table setting.
Here's how to make a cone topiary with flowers, here's a ball topiary made with silk ribbon and vintage flowers (both ribbon and white flowers belong to Beltane), and here's a rose topiary with fabric flowers.
Here's how to make royal icing snowflakes, but for Beltane you'd naturally make flowers.
Good Housekeeping tells how to make those flowers for wine glasses. (It's picture #9)

Some simple flower forms you can try to make with royal icing

You can also use them to make sun catchers.