Bealtaine and Fionn

So, a while ago I posted an entry describing my personal sacred calendar.  In it, I mentioned that I wanted to find the right day to honor Fionn, but nothing had come to me yet.

Flash-forward to a few days ago, when I found myself ruminating on the approach of Bealtaine, and the fact that it never really resonated with me even when I was keeping the standard Pagan Wheel of the Year.  I mean, I honor both the sacred sex aspects of it, I like the Maypole dancing and the singing, and I realize the deep power and mystery that lies there… but it just isn’t personally significant to me the way it is to others.

But then it hit me:  Bealtaine is the beginning of the “summer half” of the old Irish year, when the fianna would  leave their winter quarters to go back to living on the land, hunting and fishing (and making trouble, on occasion)- and Fionn is the king of the fianna.  And what was Fionn’s first creation after he had gained the salmon-wisdom?  Why, a poem praising Maytime!

May-day, season surpassing! Splendid is color then.
Blackbirds sing a full lay, if there be a slender shaft of day.
The dust-colored cuckoo calls aloud: Welcome, splendid summer!
The bitterness of bad weather is past, the boughs of the wood are a thicket.
Summer cuts the river down, the swift herd of horses seeks the pool,
The long hair of the heather is outspread, the soft white bog-down grows.
Panic startles the heart of the deer, the smooth sea runs apace-
Season when ocean sinks asleep- blossom covers the world.
Bees with puny strength carry a goodly burden, the harvest of blossoms;
Up the mountain-side kine take with them mud, the ant makes a rich meal.
The harp of the forest sounds music, the sail gathers-perfect peace.
Color has settled on every height, haze on the lake of full waters.
The corncrake, a strenuous bard, discourses;
The lofty virgin waterfall sings a welcome to the warm pool;
The talk of the rushes is come.
Light swallows dart aloft, loud melody reaches round the hill,
The soft rich mast buds, the stuttering quagmire rehearses.
The peat-bog is as the raven’s coat, the loud cuckoo bids welcome,
The speckled fish leaps, strong is the bound of the swift warrior.
Man flourishes, the maiden buds in her fair strong pride;
Perfect each forest from top to ground, perfect each great stately plain.
Delightful is the season’s splendor, rough winter has gone,
White is every fruitful wood, a joyous peace in summer.
A flock of birds settles in the midst of meadows;
The green field rustles, wherein is a brawling white stream.
A wild longing is on you to race horses, the ranked host is ranged around:
A bright shaft has been shot into the land, so that the water-flag is gold beneath it.
A timorous tiny persistent little fellow sings at the top of his voice, the lark sings clear tidings:
Surpassing May-day of delicate colors!

(source)

So tomorrow I’ll light His candle, pour Him a drink, and read the above poem and one of His tales.  And I’ll build on that from there.

Happy Bealtaine!  Hail Fionn MacCumhaill!

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