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Beltane, the Animals, and Us

By Kathleen Jenks

Spring has arrived across the Northern Hemisphere with the usual celebrations of renewal and thanksgiving for help in dark times. All of these rituals””Easter, Passover, Earth Day, and Beltane–respect the life-giving forces of nature, which are in turn aligned with the mysterious Divine. But in recent decades, spring has also come shrouded in mounting statistics of death, caused by our attitude toward cattle–our major source of meat and milk.

Beltane (alternate spellings include Beltaine, Beltene, and Bealtaine), an ancient Celtic fire-festival, falls within the astrological sign of Taurus the Bull, thereby associating the celebration with the robust life-force of eros in humans and their herds. Given this association, as we mark Beltane, our modern relationship with the herds comes into chillingly clear focus.

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