Journal Beltane 2005
Beltane 30th April, 1st May 2005
A year since I started my garden. Where did the time go? Wherever it
is, my enthusiasm went with it. I have a sadness, an ache. It reminds
me too much of Findhorn to go to it. So I go where I'd rather be
I go up on Friday night, Phil Kaye is playing and I could do with a
laugh. He passes me twice as he cycles round the Park. Only he and I
about in the early evening sunshine. Him cycling, me unpacking the car,
getting ourselves there in our minds, everyone else at Friday dinner.
It makes me think of a French movie as his bike squeaks past me for the
As I walk to the B+B, from the corner of my eye, I see a blackbird
flapping on the ground. My heart sinks for it as I turn back to help.
I'm thinking it's got a broken wing, but also selfishly contemplate how
bad an omen is this. But it's not a broken wing at all, it's two
I'm sure that's a bit better omen.
And a lesson in looking on the bright side.
Phil Kaye is hysterical, off the wall clever and I'm crying laughing.
The evening flies in. A Danish woman and her baby are staying at the
B+B. The baby is cute and quiet as a mouse, but the mother has a voice
like a foghorn. Next morning, 7.10am it starts.
I have to get out. I'm so intolerant. But I have to get away from it.
So I'm down the beach by 8.30am, me and the seals in the Beltane eve
sunshine. As I walk to the pagan throne, two rabbits are sitting
looking at me and I pass two deer in the field. The world is a Beltane
I go to meditation at 10 and as we walk through the original garden the
first thing I see are two Beltane bees on the blossom trees. Bees
fertilise 90% of plants and are sacred to this festival. I'm full of
Spring and joy after the walk.
I'm wearing my singing red skirt and go, in the sunshine, with petals,
incense and Spring Oak wine, to meditate and ask my ancient tree to
join with me. On the way I meet an actual woodsman. I feel like Red
Riding Hood, but I'm not afraid of any big bad wolves today. He is a
calm and quiet man, country, friendly, wants to know my business,
looking at my bag, its lilac sequins sparkling in the sunshine, 'A
picnic today then?'
I say yes, it's less complicated than telling the truth.
He is scraping the bark from the fallen pines with ancient hand tools,
they look Victorian. He has the thickest country accent ever, but I
persevere and manage to translate that he's worked on the Estate for 40
years. A sound resonates from him in his loneliness and longing when he
tells me they used to have a horse for him to take the wood out of the
forest. It's a sad sound. He doesn't have to say how much he misses the
comfort and company of the horse. The air is full of it. No warm flank,
no steamy breath or rolling-eyed recognition from the yellow diggers.
Man and horse. Sacred pairing.
I can't get away from him, he needs to talk, to hear another breathing
soul over the echoing birdsong. So I listen and as I stand I see
glistening on the side of the naked tree on the ground before me. His
bark shaving is perfect and the tree is smooth as sculpture, a
craftsman at work. No gouges or chips, not even a mark where his blade
has been, just smooth pale naked bark, tantalising to be stroked. There
is a divine scent in the air and the glistening is the droplets of
sticky resin oozing out of the trunk. Fragrant tears in its last
moments of juicy life. I wipe some up to smell it, but it's not pine as
I expected, it's like lavender and musk. It's glorious. The power in a
tree. Even as it dies.
They were being stripped to be treated, to be telegraph poles. It
seemed so undignified.
I said goodbye to him and walked to my ancient tree, inhaling my sticky
tree fingers the whole way there. The scent calmed me and put me in a
The river is light and tinkling today, full of songs and I want to go
skyclad, but there are fishermen opposite. So I light my candles far
away from any trees, burn some incense, and contemplate how to ask a
tree to celebrate with me, to join with me, to be my sacred place. I
walk to it and as I circle it, scattering petals, wondering how I'll
know if it's a yes or no, two pure white butterflies land right in
front of me, lilac spots on the tips of their wings, like tiny eyes.
They lead me all the way back round the tree to complete the circle and
I know the answer.
I sprinkle some petals on my hair. I feel like a bride.
I stand in the Findhorn river for a while, to get the fish over to my
side, away from the anglers. They prefer female pheromones. The fish
and fishermen both.
I gather some Findhorn river in chakra coloured bottles to make
infusions for baths, and have an idea to make one for my garden. To
spritz over it. Seduce it to coming round. Brush of a cheek, a hand
lightly held. More seductive than any groping.
My own biodynamic preparation. An apology, a spritz of rose petal love,
with almonds, for wakefulness. To stop dreaming. Time for us both to
I leave the filled bottles to charge in the sun-sparkled sand at the
roots of the tree. I walk around it three times, the fishermen are
curious. So curious they leave and drive round to this side of the
bank, and pass me on the way out. Red velvet skirts in the forest. Flag
to a bull.
I stay there for three hours, singing to myself, to my oak, offering
wine to the earth and the oak and having a glass myself.
On the way out a huge Beltane bumble bee dances in front of my eyes.
The oak doesn't want me to go yet.
I walk to my car and on the way, decide to seal my written Beltane
bonfire wish with some of the resin. It's on paper bought at Wookie
Hole. As I reach the tree, I'm sure I hear singing. I drop petals on
the now sticky and fragrant paper and stick the sides down with it too.
A cigar of Beltane wishes for the bonfire that night. As I walk on, the
woodsman's voice comes from nowhere 'You're collecting it then, eh?'. I
nod. He knows anyway.
I get to my car and drive through yellow rape in full flower on either
side as another huge bumble bee flies into my car. Lovely to be missed,
but I stop and let it out as the fishermen pass me waving and smiling.
They have faces the mottled colours of uncooked sausage meat, but I
wave back, to be kind, for they have no fish today.
That evening, the movie is 'I love Huckabees' and it's bizarre and
funny. I pass sweet gardener in his car on the way there, but neither
of us wave, he doesn't come to the movie.
I go to the bonfire afterwards, he isn't there either. Another gardener
is. An older man, he's in love with me. I saw it happen, the moment he
fell into it in January. Like something in him broke. Pisceans can't
hide it. He's been dancing in front of me ever since, but saw my hug to
sweet gardener last time I was here. It was his birthday, I felt so
badly for his water-sign heart, but still he grabbed me and hugged me.
It turned me on. I like him too, his masculinity, his tenderness, but
I'm caught in another dance for now.
He has organised the Beltane bonfire and looks right at me as he drops
his release wish into it. Some of his hair and a wish. For this love
for me to be gone. I know it. I can see it written all over him as he
looks right at me. He looks ashamed and sad. He's playing at it, but
still, is afraid it will work.
I walk to the fire after him and drop my resin paper in, and the air is
full of a burst of the scent. Tree magic. Everyone smells it above the
wood smoke and they stand stock still, magic in the air. God is
But I'm sad and the fire is a let down after the glorious afternoon. An
American twenty-year-old talking shite about Beltane being about making
wishes and jumping over and over the fire, no respect or contemplation
in him. What has he to do with Celtic festivals? Empty vessel. I see
the human being too late, I'm already annoyed. I get up and leave at
midnight. I can't scry in the embers with this nincompoop
jack-in-the-box. He lands in it at one point, but he's too stupid to
wise up even from that. I leave wondering just how many wishes he
reckons he'll grant himself.
None of them will work.
Beltane Sunday. May Day
Last Thursday I looked up the weather forecast for Forres this weekend,
Mayday sunrise 5.34am. I laughed and thought won't be washing my face
in the dew this year then. When I woke up this morning, I was wide
awake, I mean open eyed and alert. The birds were already in full
I looked at my phone 5.34am exactly.
I had to do it.
I got up and brushed my teeth, why exactly I'm not sure, then went to
the original garden, knelt under a Hazel tree I'd noticed the day
before, and washed my face and eyes in the dew.
In my pyjamas.
Only at Findhorn.
It made me laugh and I went back to bed with some tea and toast, bits
of twig and dead beastie sticking to my face.
Later it pours with rain. The garden where sweet gardener works is
having a plant sale and I'm freaking out, but I go there. I want some
of Findhorn to get me back into my garden and I want to see him today
of all days.
He's in the poly tunnel and I'm outside choosing two pots of Lady's
Mantle, my Findhorn flower, it's everywhere there. I hear his voice. He
comes out delighted to see me, gives me a big hello, and invites me in.
They have cake and coffee, but someone else asks him something and he
goes to the end of the tunnel to help them. I pay for my plants.
Bonfire gardener is behind me, looking at what I'd bought. It takes a
while for the release to happen when you don't really want it to.
It's too hot and humid in the tunnel and I can't think of anything else
to do but leave.
So I do.
One of the women who works there meets me and we chat, there is a hedge
between us and the poly tunnel so I hear him as he runs out looking for
me, and his cry in disappointment, '?She's disappeared again!'
Wake up on Monday with pink eye.
Heady musk resin
Glistening bark of fallen tree;
As my oak joins me