Saturday, May 7, 2011

Beltane by the Sea

In keeping with our tradition, my friends and I went out for another nature trip to celebrate the Sabbat. We headed this time for the lush island of Potipot in the province of Zambales. It was the farthest journey we've taken so far: we left the bus terminal in Manila in the morning and arrived on the island just before the dark. The trip was extremely exhausting but thankfully we were all well rewarded.

Our Li'l maypole. 

Ate Bet and the Beltane sun.

The beauty of the place was apparent even in the darkness of the twilight. The sea was very calm, and the sound of the gentle waves was like soothing balm to our tired souls. Stars were all a-flicker over the night sky and by our feet glimmer tiny, bioluminescent creatures as we walk by the shore. We were in a setting stolen from a romantic shojo anime.

The Beltane ritual in the morning was short and sweet and was almost just for formality’s sake. The real celebration I believe was the communing with nature itself. I always feel that the gods express themselves better through the elements of nature than with words.

Even though it’s fast becoming a popular tourist spot now, Potipot is still incredibly teeming with living creatures both flora and fauna. The observant Pagan can immediately perceive the essence of Beltane in the land and sea and air:

"...In every aspect, the colorful Sabbat of Beltane stands in contrast with its dark, polar opposite: Samhain. Beltane celebrates union, while Samhain acknowledges separation. In Beltane we reach out, while in Samhain we introspect. Beltane teaches about life and creation, and anticipates those who will be born, while the lesson of Samhain is death and entropy, and commemorates those who have come before." – Murmur’s Pink Cattleya Filler of Shadows

Cam-cam and Rei posing on the Potipot tree.

Incidentally, as Aldrin noted on his blog, the usual Wiccan narratives about the fullness of life on the land doesn’t very well apply to our little tropical country during this time of the year where many farmlands are dried up by the extreme summer heat. But as I realized in our trip, life is still abundant and the harvest is rich but we just have to know where to look:

“...In our case: underwater. I know, many local Wiccans are too caught up with all the earth stuff that we forget we're an archipelago - half of our country is submerged in the sea. Our warm waters seem to be attractive to marine life so fishing activities begin to peak around this time of the year (the absence of rain and anticipation for the Habagat season may also be a factor)." -- Christian Fernandez, Facebook comment

To end this exceptionally long and photo-rich blog entry, here are some useful tips I found to live the spirit of Beltane throughout the years to come. (Note: Some of the tips I don't necessarily agree with):

Basbasan Nawa!
The customary summer beach jump shot.

Starting a bonfire is apparently quite tough.

Happy Happy Joy Joy

Jumping over the bonfire - with style.


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