It was on a Beltane roughly a decade ago when I first looked through the eyes of the whole of the universe as my own. This mystical experience isn’t the same as your run of the mill spiritual epiphany or ah-ha moment. It was all encompassing.
There is an analogy I like to use in regards to explaining the theologies that fall under the umbrella of the Craft. Interestingly enough the original idea came from talking with my son. It was “the talk.” By which I mean the talk where I had to explain that some people only believe in one God and that sadly many of them will refuse to understand who we are and what we do, and that they can and will be mean about it. He was perplexed almost beyond words. When he finally did speak he said, “But the forest has more than one tree in it.” Brilliant! That is all I could think. Needless to say the conversation continued for quite some time but that one analogy from the depths of the mind of my son has stuck with me.
It’s not a perfect analogy, but none are. A forest is full of many different trees. Some of which many Witches establish relationships individually with. This is spirit work. Polytheism. Animism. Other Witches don’t but choose to work with the wood of the trees. I like to think of them as wood workers like carpenters. These are those that touch upon the essence of the material that composes the spirits. Broadly speaking they like to throw around terms like the divine and the sacred in lieu of specific “trees.” Others like to study the forest and uncover the inner workings and connections of the whole ecosystem. Yet another group likes to focus upon the cycles of the forest. Most Witches though are way more complex than any one of these simplified and limited categories and instead mix it all up to include some I didn’t mention.
My Beltane experience all those years back trumps all of it. In one instance, as I was standing in a doorway watching it rain, I was each plant and animal in the forest, I was the essence that made the whole, I was the inner workings, I was each point in time throughout all cycles, I was the sky and earth below, I was each star and planet to include the sun and moon, I was the nothing in which it all sat, and more. Is this the same as enlightenment? No, not as commonly defined. It is more of a shattering of an illusion, a taste of the feast on the table.
This is what Beltane is about, at least from a Traditionalist standpoint. Beltane is when we are crowned the ruler over the spiritual kingdom. Custom and myths tell tales of the rulers of old being wed to the land at the beginning of May. Just as they are wed to the land we are wed to the spiritual land and crowned with the whole of the heavens as the rightful sovereign. Today is the celebration of the consummation of that union.
This is all speaking from the individual perspective though. Now take this idea and expand it to include the forest and see how each category approaches this point upon the cyclic myth differently, and how each of those applies differently to us.