30 April 2013 a post by Ian Adams

Fire and Fertility

It's been a long winter in the South Hams of Devon. But during the last few days something has changed. We've seen the first swallows arriving from the far South, the trees are beginning to green, daylight is continuing long into the evening, the dawn chorus rings vibrantly over fields carpeted in daisies, and the first aromas of the warmer times to come (we hope) are in the air. Whatever has lain dormant is discovering its fertility. Something new is coming into being.

daisy flowers in lawn

The traditional fire festivals of Beltane in their various forms welcome the first signs of summer, and celebrate the fertility of God(s), earth and people. With rituals shaped over centuries around fire, dance and blossom, our sense of ever-returning fertility is reawakened.

Here’s the thing about fertility, whether in the earth or in ourselves: we can’t make fertility happen on our own. The process is all mysterious gift! But it’s a process in which we can play our part - we can prepare for it, notice it, mark it and then let its gift bring the transformations we need.

There are many stories told in the Gospels in which the teacher Jesus ponders the lessons and meaning of his landscape. In one we find him musing on the collaboration between the earth’s fertility and the work of the farmer:

The kingdom of God is as if someone would scatter seed on the ground, and would sleep and rise night and day, and the seed would sprout and grow, he does not know how. The earth produces of itself, first the stalk, then the head, then the full grain in the head. But when the grain is ripe, at once he goes in with his sickle, because the harvest has come*.

The earth will produce of itself, but the farmer can shape and enjoy what emerges by the seeds that are sown, by care for the field and by attention to the harvest.

So what might be the seeds we are sowing (literally and metaphorically) this spring?  In collaboration with the earth, with those around us, and with the God of the mystic Christ, what might be come into being within us and around us? What new phase in our lives could be opening up if we give ourselves lovingly to the fertility that is awaiting us? It’s been a long winter, but this Beltane something new is coming into being…

*Mark 4. 26-29

text and photos by Ian Adams
April 2013

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Your comments:

May the rays of the sun & the love of earths spirit follow you this day as we welecome the return of growth light

#1. By Alison Brooks on May 01, 2013

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