The Many Rites of Spring

Spring has sprung. Boy, has spring ever sprung! With all the rain we’ve had, each flowering bush is celebrating the rites of spring. Persephone has returned from the underworld, the Beltane fires are being built and the world clamors for the joy of unabashed Dionysian frolicking. 

Much like we enjoy the bounty of buds and blossoms throughout our area, we at USC are experiencing an abundance of springtime delights--beginning with our Beltane Mini-retreat on April 30, when we explore our inner Persephone and romp around the May fire. (For those of you who are hesitant to actually romp, a stately promenade will suffice!) In the afternoon, we will dedicate The Folly, AKA Stumphenge, blessing its future with visions of fairies and aborigines and wienies and communing with Spirit. 

This Sunday, we kick off A Month of Myth with a talk based on Dionysus, the Greek god representing spiritual ecstasy and the continual rebirth of life in the spring. We will be reading Ecstasy: Understanding the Psychology of Joy, Robert A. Johnson’s book about Dionysus, on Friday evenings during May. 

I’ve been steeped in preparation for our mini-retreat. I planned to begin it with a Blessing of the Bees. The Manse has overarching privets in the side yard, which each spring become an intoxicating bower of flowers. There are hundreds of bees. With the current concern about the bee population, I have felt honored to host them. As the privets bloom, I welcome the bees and offer thanks to them and their kin. This year I’ve been explaining to them that many people will be coming this Saturday, but it is no cause for concern. (I’ve considered explaining to the people that the bees are no cause for concern either—no one has been stung in thirty or more years.) 

Earlier today I was on the hammock with my dog Bailey when I noticed a thick cloud of bees swarming down into the privets. I quickly got Bailey inside the house, wondering if all my bee pondering had attracted the attention of a thousand additional little honey mongers. A neighbor explained to me that the bees were resting while finding a new home. They swarm around the queen to protect her, in this case looking like a big bee-beard about twelve feet up a pine tree. They will probably move on in a day or so. 

As I continue my preparations for Saturday, still hearing the buzzing of the swarm in the pine tree, I can’t help but wonder, who will be blessing whom? Has the queen offered us her benediction this day? 

Wishing you and your kin a most glorious spring, 
Rev. Carla