Spring Cross: The Beginnings of Allurement

Editor’s note: Over the course of 2023, at the eight stations in the Wheel of the Year, Bart Everson will share with the Gaian community a guided, breath-based meditation. It is our hope that these meditations will help you to observe and to celebrate Gaia’s journey around the Sun, and to explore possible meanings embedded in various parts of the cycle. The particular meditation featured here is appropriate for the Spring Cross, which falls in early May in the northern hemisphere and early November in the southern hemisphere. If you’re in the Southern Hemisphere, and it’s May, you may wish to listen instead to the fall cross meditation.

Listen to Bart’s Meditation here or on Insight Timer or read the transcript below.
A Chicory flower in all its beauty. (Image by Bart Everson via flickr)

Transcript of the Spring Cross Meditation

This meditation is dedicated to Mother Earth, mother of us all, and to Beltane, the spring cross-quarter, roughly halfway between the vernal equinox and the summer solstice. This seasonal moment is traditionally celebrated around the first of May in the northern hemisphere, around the first of November in the southern hemisphere. It might be considered high spring in a lot of parts of the world. In fact, in the background, you’re hearing a recording on a spring morning in an open woodland area near a standing stone in Portugal.

So, for this meditation, you should be sitting comfortably with an erect spine. If you’re feeling a little sluggish, a little low-energy, a little sleepy, as we sometimes do, you can begin with some deep, quick breathing, to kind of bring some oxygen energy into our being. Breathing deeply but also quickly: in through the nose and out through the mouth.

After you do this a few times, you might feel a little lightheaded, hopefully also a little energized.

Let your breath return to its normal rhythm. We can just observe the cycle of our breath, just notice how it is: what it’s like to breathe, to be here. Notice how the breath is like a cycle, like a circle that goes around and around. Breathing in and breathing out. We find the same patterns throughout nature, similar cycles. In the natural world, in the cycle of the seasons, we also see a cycle that’s very much like our respiration. Days growing longer and then shorter again, temperatures rising and then falling. Biological activity in the ecosystem increasing and then waning, much like the cycle of every breath.

As you breathe in, notice how your lungs come to fullness with each inhalation. Notice how your lungs are opening up, full of air, full of life-giving oxygen, sustaining you. You can slow the breath down a little bit. You can even emphasize this feeling of coming to fullness. When you reach that point where your lungs feel full of air, maybe breathe in a little extra. See if you can expand your lungs even a little bit further, not so much it hurts, but just a little bit. That moment in the cycle of the breath, we might call that the Beltane moment, the moment of high spring.

A Lily opening in the most surprising of places. (Image by Bart Everson via flickr)

We feel our lungs opening up, our chest expanding and opening. We might, if we like, visualize this with the metaphor of a flower opening up, a flower blooming, with petals opening wide, with each breath. We can even, if you like, bring your arms into it. If you have your hands, say, sitting in your lap, with the inhalation, open your arms up, bring them up into the air, spread out like the petals of a flower, then fold them back down into your lap on the exhalation. Inhaling, raising your arms up; exhaling, folding your arms back down. Opening up, if you like, you can even hold your arms open, as you continue to breathe, in and out.

Feel your openness. Open — to what? Open to the possibilities of this moment. Open to the universe. Open to others, to the energy of others, to the attraction of others.

And of course, when your arms begin to feel fatigued, you can lower them back into your lap. Continue the cycle of the breathing. Focus on the breathing, on the inhalation and that fullness of the breath.

In the metaphor of the flower, we remember that their beauty is not merely an accident. It’s very much the design that’s been forged in the crucible of millions of years of evolution. Plants put forth flowers that are beautiful to attract pollinators, to attract bees and butterflies. They find the flowers beautiful as well as we do. The whole point of the flower opening up is to signal its availability, that it’s open and ready. We might call this allurement. Brian Swimme and Thomas Berry in The Universe Story say that “love begins as allurement – as attraction.” And they invite us to “think of the entire cosmos, all one hundred billion galaxies rushing through space: at this cosmic scale the basic dynamism of the universe is the attraction each galaxy has for every other galaxy.”

A Monarch allured by Butterfly Weed. (Image by Bart Everson via flickr)

And so, with each breath, in the fullness of our breath, we acknowledge and sanctify our desire, our sacred desire. In ancient times, goddesses like Aphrodite were worshipped and revered. Today, we might might receive notions of Aphrodite as the goddess of love, in a superficial way, but the ancients regarded her not only as erotic/romantic love between humans but also as a goddess of the cosmos. Their wisdom comes to us through the Orphic Hymn to Aphrodite, which states:

  • For all things are from you, who unites the cosmos;
  • You will the three-fold fates, you bring forth all things;
  • Whatever is in the heavens, and in the much fruitful earth and the deep sea.

We recognize also our openness to the possibilities of others, of working with others, of our attraction to others. This can also take the form of political mobilization. Our same sanctified desire may drive our engagement in our communities, to work with our neighbors, our friends, our allies, whether it’s marching in the streets, or working on a press release, as we work for a more just and humane society.

Beltane is often regarded as an ancient rite of fertility. We recognize fertility is not just biological fertility of crops or the bearing of children, but also what we might call noetic fertility, the fertility of ideas, the creativity of our imagination, which comes alive with each breath.

Finally, it’s always appropriate to close with gratitude to our ancestors, our biological ancestors and also what we might think of as our spiritual ancestors. I want to give thanks particularly to Glenys Livingstone. Through her work, I’ve come to the ideas I’ve shared here, and I wanted to close with some words of hers.

She writes that “Beltane is an opportunity to recognize and ritualize our desire for Life, which we feel in so many ways; and to recognize that it is a Holy Desire. On an elemental level, there is our desire for Air, Water, the warmth of Fire, and to be of use to Earth. There is an essential longing, sometimes nameless, sometimes constellated, experienced physically, that may be recognized as the Desire of the Universe Herself – desiring in us. We may remember that we are united in this desire with each other, with all who have gone before us, and with all who come after us – all who dance the Dance of Life.” Thank you.

Share this Reflection:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *