May Day is the half-year counterpart to Halloween. In the autumn, the gates between realms are wide open for a brief time before they close for the winter season. But now that summer is near, they open up again for a time.
During this time, it was traditional in the auld country farming areas to build Beltane bonfires to welcome the warmth of summer. Farmers would herd livestock between the fires for good luck. They’d leave offerings for the aos sí, to encourage the Good Folk to help look after their farms. Finally, once the fires died down, people would jump over them for luck.
This reading is based on those traditions. What can we expect this Beltane season?
Flame: how we can help ourselves and others
Eihwaz: yew tree. Refers to the tree, an archer’s bow, magic, deflection, or prevention.
Eihwaz is the first rune of the second half of the 24-rune Futhark. It represents the vertical axis. It may be a coincidence that the main spinal column has 24 vertebrae, and it may be further coincidence that in yoga, the spine is a channel for fire energy, which is strongly associated with this time of year.
The yew tree is toxic and this rune is associated with the Death card in Tarot. But the yew is an evergreen and this is not a physical death. Yew hedges were and are still used as a border to protect sacred places. Eihwaz represents a safe space in which to develop spiritual endurance and initiate greater communication and understanding between levels of reality.
Eihwaz is sometimes a sign of the wisdom of Yggdrasil, the world tree, which symbolizes the connection we all share with each other, our world, other worlds, and the universe.
This rune reminds us that our connection with others should be protected; communication and understanding is vital and we can help ourselves and others by creating safe spaces in which to develop these skills.
Offering: what must be sacrificed for the season
Odal/Othala: hereditary land, possession. Refers to home, hearth, family, inheritance, or possessions, birthright.
Othala signifies an ancestral inheritance, far more than a mere house or lump of cash. It represents a wealth of knowledge, a wealth of understanding, and a spiritual wealth that comes from generations of ancestors. These possessions secured and protected Asgard. The god Ing brought unity and harmony, which was to be our inheritance, so that Earth could share in those blessings. Of course, as humans with free will, it has always been within our power to destroy it.
But this means it is in our power to rebuild it. The ancestors have done their part, and it is our turn. This will mean sacrificing our current understanding of hearth, home, and family as we work to restore and re-align ourselves with all that is good and right, not only for ourselves, but for this world.
Embers: how we can create our own luck
Tiwaz/Tyr: The god Tyr. Refers to courage, compassion, justice, foresight and smart strategy.
The god Tyr was able to chain the wolf Fenris by sacrificing a hand. This may be a gruesome story but it illustrates how self-sacrifice or a willingness to compromise can achieve a fair and compassionate victory. Both rune and god are also associated with the north star, which has long served as a compass for travelers. Checking in with our internal moral compass for direction can require courage.
But this rune brings assurance that, if we offer justice and fairness to others, we will receive the same from the Aesir. Our world may be in chaos but the gods ask us to be calm, to think things through to the end, and make decisions that provide the greatest good, even though they may require courage and some personal sacrifice.
When we align ourselves with what is right and fair, we are most likely to see right and fair results, just as an arrow, calmly drawn and aimed, flies straight and true to its target. These kinds of courageous acts are rewarded by the universe, and this is exactly how this rune can inspire us: clear, long-term thinking may reveal that the best course of action does not directly benefit us. By bravely choosing it over a short-term benefit, we sacrifice, but we are rewarded. Building courage takes time and work, but the more we do it, the greater our potential.
Seed: what will grow or manifest over this season
Hagail/Hagalaz: hail. Refers to a disruption, interference, a storm or damaging natural forces.
Hail has the potential to be a destructive force, especially to crops. While the disruption may have a cost, it is not something to be afraid of. But as I’ve mentioned in other posts when this rune has appeared, you can pick up a hailstone and it will melt into harmless water.
It may seem as if a disruption is the last thing we’d want after so much chaos. But what we are nurturing is a substantial change. This is not one more storm among many. Think of it as a controlled burn to protect a forest from a wildfire.
Hagalaz is the first rune of the second aett, which pertains to humans and the world we live in. It relates to the inevitability of Fate with a confrontational storm, but also a balance of power by melting into water to transform a seed into a plant. Thus, this rune has a cleansing energy. It may reveal factors from the past that need to be destroyed, but it may also give us a glimpse of what needs watered in order to bloom.
This season brings fiery storms of insight and change
Personal development is never free. There is always a cost to insight, but this price must be paid. We have wasted resources gifted to us by our ancestors and must rebuild unity and harmony in this realm. In the midst of this disruption, we can develop a strategy with compassion and courage, and create a rewarding new destiny for ourselves.
If this reading resonates with you, please let me know, and share on social media with a comment to your friends!
See you soon!