Letter from Cressida Pryor
May 1, 2017
1st May Beltane Letter 2017
Dear Fellow travellers,
Despite this morning’s sunrise being shielded by thick cloud when we met on the Cotswold’s highest escarpment to sing and dance a Beltane prayer to the turning of the year; the occasion felt hallowed.
Later in the afternoon the strength of the sun’s warmth brought blue skies and generated enough of a breeze to drive our kite to soar defiantly high over head. On the slow walk home my toddler companion stopped me to look closely at pieces of abandoned food wrapping that were then carefully posted into the nearby rubbish bin. Resplendent dandelion heads were pointed out and random lengths of stick ceremonially carried. Wonder and awe in the everyday is a lesson well learned through the eyes of those only recently arrived here in terms of years lived. A true Beltane blessing.
This too is the time of Wesak Day in the Buddhist calendar celebrating Buddha’s birth, enlightenment and his passing away...where flowers and candles are offered as reminders of life’s impermanence.
A few years ago I had the privilege of attending an evening with the Vietnamese Buddhist monk and peace activist Thich Nhat Hahn at a large gathering in Dublin. This wise and ‘awake’ elderly gentleman spoke about the necessity to ‘cool the flames of anger’ and then listened to many questions from the audience to which he responded with an assertive yet gentle compassion. As he was finally led off the stage on the arm of a companion, he bent over to cradle a flower head in a display near his feet...and then bent down further to savour it’s scent. This one simple act encapsulated so much. I know I can easily be swept away from the present moment by other ‘more pressing’ thoughts and issues and am then effectively asleep to what’s happening now and my footsteps may then stumble. Maybe at both ends of our life we can naturally be more aware and present to the divine indwelling and the sacred that is all around us...let our fellowship bridge those years when we meet to celebrate the festivals; find time to meditate and contemplate and allow the flow of compassion from the sacred feminine to serve the world’s need for peace. Surely these current precarious times need our thoughts and prayers more than ever.
Let the festivals of Beltane and Wesak remind us, in the words of Thich Nhat Hahn that:
‘We have to walk in a way that we only print peace and serenity on the Earth. Walk as if you are kissing the Earth with your feet’.
FOI Letters & Correspondence
(Our gratitude to Cressida for her letters!)
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