Setting a New Fire

Happy May Day (plus one)! Our theme this month is Blossom, a word that sounds just as lovely as the images of flowers it inspires. Yesterday was May 1, May Day, and also Beltane in the Northern Hemisphere. I have a particular love for the pagan holidays, as they’re both inspiring and real; no Hallmark holidays are these!

20160417_123013_magBeltane is considered by many pagans to be one of the two most important holidays of the year (along with Samhain in November). Often associated with revitalization and purification, Beltane celebrations typically include some element of fire, whether it be bonfires or something smaller. I’ve read that May Day specifically is considered the time where the new fires of the year are started, part of that belief in revitalization; some writings explain that these new fires were believed to give life to the spring and summer sun.

Cattle were driven through the new fires (or, more often, between two bonfires–which seems much safer) in order to purify and protect them from harm in the coming seasons. These fire celebrations were believed to bring fertility and good fortune to the community. And then there were Maypoles, and the fun tradition of leaving baskets of flowers and treats on the neighbors doors. I’m not organized enough to have ever managed to do these with my daughter, but I wish I had!

The combination of revitalization, re-birth in the form of the flora coming back into bloom, longer days for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, feels so good to me. After the gray days of late winter and early spring, when nothing seems alive–including my inspiration!–it’s just so lovely to see my garden live again, the plants blossoming, grass growing, and my story ideas begin to multiply. (Woot!)

So, this month, I’m hoping to “set a new fire” myself, one that allows fresh inspiration to blossom into fabulous new stories, reminds me to keep chasing new goals, and enjoying my ever-growing relationships with this amazing community of readers and writers.

Happy May!


Author: Pamela A. Oberg

Pamela is a portfolio manager at an educational assessment company by day, writer by night. Founder of Writers on Words (a discussion and critique group), Pamela enjoys spinning tales of murder and mayhem, with an occasional foray into the world of the paranormal.

13 thoughts on “Setting a New Fire”

  1. Driving cattle through fire? I would think the cattle much preferred going between fires, too! Lovely post. I always think the warm weather is great for my story inspirations as well.


  2. Lovely Beltane post. I thought it was just another excuse for a bonfire and drunken orgy back in Ireland. Who knew?


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