Welcome to the Yoga Church Sunday Sermons


Spiritual Practices for Beltane

The moment we’re born, we inhale.

And with this powerful first in-breath, we’re called to exhale. And the rhythm of life begins!

The rhythm of breath. The rhythm of our beating hearts. The rhythm of waking and sleeping. Of sun and moon, day and night. The rhythm of winter giving way to summer and summer giving way to winter.

Up in the northern hemisphere where I live, we’ve just arrived at the mid-point of spring–which is a wildly potent time.

Celtic teacher Glennie Kindred describes it like this:

This is the beginning of the final and most actively potent of the waxing phases of the Sun’s cycle. All of life is bursting with fertility and the power of its own potential. Everything is in the process of becoming.

Everything is in the process of becoming.

Beltain (the ancient Celtic name for mid-spring) is a festival of fertility and expectation. As the sun lingers a little longer every day, we anticipate the heat and abundance of summer. Looking at the natural world bursting forth with new life, we anticipate a future harvest. This festival is celebrated outside, around a fire, under a full moon. It’s a raw and sensual celebration!

But this year, it feels different. This year, the festival of fertility and expectation arrives in the midst of a global pandemic. We’re not able to gather and dance around May Poles in flower crowns.

And yet… The earth is still bursting with life around us.

Everything is in the process of becoming.

This is a potent sliver of time to ponder the always useful question: Who am I becoming?

I say over (and over and over) again: We become who we practice becoming.

In this fertile moment of mid-spring–in this strange moment of global pandemic–let’s pause to ask ourselves: Who do I want to practice becoming?

Let’s harness the waxing energy of the sun and move forward with power and confidence.

As we continue to face the large scale change and loss this pandemic brings everyday, what are you hoping for? What kind of future does your heart yearn for?

Everything is in the process of becoming.

Here’s our mid-spring practice…

  • Notice when you’re becoming overwhelmed by all that’s happening and pause.
  • Notice your breath.
  • Inhale – Hold – Exhale – Wait.
  • Receive – Pause – Release – Pause.
  • Invitation – Connection – Devotion – Offering. 
  • Listen.
  • Listen inward.
  • Everything is in the process of becoming.
  • Who is your heart calling you to become?
  • Listen.
  • Inhale – Hold – Exhale – Wait.
  • Receive – Pause – Release – Pause.
  • Invitation – Connection – Devotion – Offering. 
  • What’s the first, next step you need to take in order to become who you’re meant to become in this world?
  • Just the first, next step.
  • What’s the first, next step you need to take in order to offer love to this world?
  • Just the first, next step.
  • Listen.
  • Inhale – Hold – Exhale – Wait.
  • Receive – Pause – Release – Pause.
  • Invitation – Connection – Devotion – Offering. 
  • Act.

Repeat as often as necessary.

A Few Other Practice Ideas

Go outside! If at all possible, go outside and experience the fresh spring air everyday.

Notice the sun. Pay attention to the lengthening of daylight. Feel the energy of the waxing sun on and in your body.

Enjoy the mid-spring full moon. Again, if at all possible, find a way to celebrate and harness the potent energy of the season under the full moon on May 7th.

Create a seasonal altar that helps you connect with the elements as they change around and within you. Allow this altar to be a sacred space to activate and hold your intention for the coming weeks of spring.

  • Place earth elements such as rocks, gemstones, and dirt in the North.
  • Place the water element in the West.
  • Place the fire element in the South.
  • Place air elements, such as incense, sage, feathers, and leaves in the East.
  • Ring a bell or clap for the element of space, and place any special objects (your intention written out, meaningful jewelry, a picture of the Divine…) in the center.
  • As you place each object, offer prayers of gratitude.

Take a little time every day to refresh the altar. And to pause, remember your intention, and offer prayers of thanks and healing for the world.

Study May Day. It’s no surprise to me that Beltane, a festival of fertility and expectation has become linked with protests fighting for worker justice. If you’re not already familiar (or part of the action) take a moment to study and understand the movement. And remember: Every consumer choice we make is a political act. Part of learning to love the world better (one of our main yoga church tenets) involves taking the time to understand who and what we’re supporting through our buying power.

Share your dream of a more equitable world with a friend. If you haven’t already, listen to my recent sermon Let’s Not Go Back To Normal. Send it to a friend and ask them to listen as well. And then schedule a phone call to share your hopes and intentions for the future. Dream big! And then come back down to the ground and choose one, next step that you’ll each take. Schedule a follow up conversation to debrief and support each other. Together we can build a more just world.

COMMUNITY COMMENTS

We all benefit from the wisdom of spiritual community. And community means more than one voice, so please add yours to the conversation.

  • How are you marking this moment of seasonal shift?
  • What are you hoping for as we move toward summer?
  • What’s the first, next step you’re working to take?