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  • Writer's pictureWren McMurdo Brignac

Diary of a Queer Beltane

Awoke to a cool morning again. Yesterday, the sun finally warmed the land after a consistently chilly early spring, and it felt good, but also strange to wear different clothes. 

I generally brace at the idea of wearing shorts. Probably because here in the PNW you can catch a chill on even the prettiest spring days. A skirt is a happy medium. 


Pagan festivals in the first half of the year celebrate fertility for the sake of a bountiful harvest and a thriving and prosperous community. At four points during the first half of the year, Magical people ask for fertile crops, bountiful harvests and the birth of new beings and ideas.

Beltane (May 1st) is a pagan sabbat of sexuality, fertility, and a traditional time for “handfasting” a.k.a marriage ceremonies. On the witches’ wheel of the year, mythology describes the union between the Earth goddess and the Green Man, a nature deity seen in architecture and statues throughout the world. He is a symbol of rebirth and his union with Earth is the love that inspires life.

At Beltane, spring has sprung indeed. All beings have emerged and are participating in the creation process. It is a time of blossoming as a creator. For many, what comes to mind at Beltane, otherwise known as May Day, is people dancing around a Maypole, wrapping it with ribbons. 

For this sabbath, I felt inspired to let the energy of the day guide my thoughts.

The following is a diary entry inspired by Beltane, the May 1st pagan sabbat that celebrates love, union, and commitment:

Spring delights me again. I felt fear the year the buds appeared on the trees the spring after the two weeks of smoke in 2020. It meant the heat and smoke were just around the corner. 

Blankets of smoke choked and churned, reminiscent of the smog created by the tree-eating machine in Fern Gully, a film I adored as a child. I related deeply to Crysta, the fairy. There was smoke in 2021 but not as much, and last year there was smoke again. 

Now that I’m used to it, I don’t feel as much of a drop in my stomach when I see baby blooms. 


One thing that has come to mind this Beltane is the internet-free childhood I enjoyed in rural Oregon. I was set free to roam the wilderness, not a touch screen or wifi connection in site, not for years to come. 

I was barefoot most summers. I saw so many bugs and creatures I never see anymore. Like grasshoppers and frogs, and the occasional praying mantis. I miss being down close to Earth as children are.

The spirits are inviting me to play, to enjoy Earth for what she is now. When someone has a terminal illness as she does/we do, it becomes clear what’s important. 

We may not see frogs as much, honeybees are scant, and environmental oddities may unravel our sense of security. But when we do catch nature still thriving in some way, we pay closer attention. And appreciate it more.

Maybe we needed to lose Earth to love her.


Beltane as a Magical Valentine’s Day

The pagan symbology behind the decoration of a Maypole is the enclosing of a phallus in a womb. I like to think of it as the interlocking bond that deepens between beings, not necessarily a phallus.

It’s interesting to be a queer pagan witch. In most traditions, there is a heavy emphasis on the union of sex opposites, and little celebration of the contributions of those who don't fall on either side of this spectrum.

Most of the world is assigned either male or female at birth, with their gender expression conveniently and conventionally aligned with that assignment. 

This structure has been of service to humans. Even ancient pagan practices lean heavily on sexual symbology and traditional gender roles. Physical birth is an important part of the cycle of life. But what about our other contributions?

But my queerness and queer community have always shown me that this binary spectrum isn’t actually correct. Our physical forms are but canvases for allowing our true forms to emerge and express themselves. 

The binary doesn’t exist because queers exist outside of this binary. There is no spectrum, rather genders and sexes are varied, not measured. They are like paints to be mixed into new colors. 

The same applies to sexuality and sex. Beltane is held high as a season of sexual expression, but sexual expression isn’t universal. 

As a person with asexual and intersex community members, I see Beltane as a pagan holiday about intimacy more than sexuality and the joining of two opposites, although sexuality is absolutely something to celebrate, highlight, and learn about at this time of year.

When I take a step back from sex, sexuality, and gender, I simply see relationships building between beings. I define intimacy as the deepening of a relationship. 

At Beltane, I celebrate the loves of my life in whatever form they take, because they bring new life and vitality to my world.  


Fertility + Pleasure + Creativity + Healing Sexual Trauma

I’m enjoying a bounty of good work, small pleasures to explore, and opportunities to advance in many areas of my life. I’m also notably at the peak of my moon cycle. How beautiful and poetic to be synced in this way with that which is larger than myself. 

I associate ovulation with creativity and sexual pleasure. The sacral chakra, which lies in the pelvis near where the womb might be, is our source of creativity. 

As an adult without children, I’m keenly aware of the myriad functions of my creative organs that stretch well beyond the production of offspring. 

The sacral chakra also holds any sexual trauma we have experienced. Beltane is a good time of year to honor our healing in this area. My own traumas have resurfaced in my memories lately, and their visibility leaves trauma wounds vulnerable to the power of my resolve to use them as fodder for creation. 

My queerness has helped to teach me that parenting isn’t mandatory to being complete. 

Including creativity of many sorts, more than just the propagation of our species, in the fulfillment of purpose is what helped inspire Mother Tarot


The extra hours per day help to lift my winter depression, and this is truly something to be celebrated. 

Our consumer culture drowns out natural beauty and distracts us from it. This is a kind of spiritual brainwashing that requires unlearning. 

This is a reason to mark the sabbats on our calendars and actually honor them, because they focus on the rhythms in nature as they pertain to not only our survival, but our ability to thrive and enjoy nature, as well.

Honor your participation in the cultivation of love and life.

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