For the second year in a row, a group of us have celebrated the advent of spring with a yoga retreat at Quantum Leaps Lodge, just outside Golden, BC.

This year, our yoga practices embodied the full cycle of creation, maintenance, dissolution and rebirth. We journeyed into the dark, the realm of Kali who is the goddess of dissolution and who holds us through the fallow winter season.

We then ventured forth into the light and the realms of Saraswati the goddess of and Lakshmi who teach us to learn, grow and embrace the fullness of who we are.

Our wonderful weekend together culminated with our second annual maypole dance. This is a traditional Celtic way to celebrate May Day or Beltane. We laughed and had fun weaving in and out as we wrapped colourful ribbons around the trunk of an old tree.

This dance is a way of joyously welcoming in the circular, spiraling nature of the springtime. With spring comes new growth, vitality and fertility. There is a long and varied history around May Day traditions and I found a web site that has some neat things to say about this. If you are curious, have a look here: http://mandalashaman.com/2011/04/13/beltanemay-day/

What I have learned is that in many cultures in the northern hemisphere, May 1st, marks the beginning of the light half of the year. November 1 marks the beginning dark half. These two days mirror one another. Here in the north, May invites us to open to our full potential while November takes us into the quiet place within.

One of the retreat participants asked why we dance around a tree. According to Laural Virtues Wauters who wrote the web article I referenced,  “Trees have always been symbolic of human nature and the world around us. They were seen as ancestor spirits that carry great wisdom. They symbolize the four seasons of birth (spring), life (summer), death (fall) and rebirth (winter). The Tree of Life is represented in every culture as a way of symbolizing our connection between the earthly world, the present world, the divine world, and the unknown world.”

When erecting a maypole, the members of a community ask the spirit of the tree for the blessings of fertility and good luck for the coming year. As I danced around the tree, I too asked for blessings of abundance and good luck as we move forward into the season of growth.

May Day is my first “official” day in the new Yoga Salon space. What that really means is today I officially begin to pay rent! It think it this bodes well for the future success of our new yoga space and I hope it will soon be filled with all of our positive energy! It is my deepest wish that the Yoga Salon gives us the room we need to learn and grow both individually and together.

There are still a couple of projects to be completed before the first class is held in the Yoga Salon next week, but we are very close! When I popped in yesterday, both the electrician and plumber have been into to work on the bathroom. The mural, courtesty of my friend Chrys, is also progressing nicely. It’s all coming together. I can’t wait to show it to you!

May you be blessed with good fortune and abundance, peace and joy on this special day. Happy Beltane!

Nora