Celebrate Well-Being on Earth for the May Cross-Quarter

By Benjamin Gimmel, BenHur, CC-BY-SA-3.0, from Wikimedia Commons

Please join us to celebrate the May Cross-Quarter, the midpoint between the March Equinox and the June Solstice. Like all of our Octal Celebrations, we will feature messages of global wellness, joy and loving-kindness for all beings. These practices remind us of our ecospiritual connection to the Earth-Sun dance.

Tuesday, May 4th, 3:15pm PDT / 22:15 UTC
Meditation on Insight Timer Live (45 min, Presenter: Michelle)

Wednesday, May 5th, 11:00am PDT / 18:00 UTC
Celebration on Zoom (90-120 min, Facilitator: Michelle) – register

To celebrate this Cross-Quarter, Michelle will lead guided meditations, celebratory ritual, and conversation. We are invited to reconnect with the beauty and wonder of Nature. How do we welcome more love and joy for all our relations? What shall we leave behind, as we move into the next turning of our dance around the Sun? What beautiful possibilities beckon us toward the future? We will focus together on reverence, joy and loving-kindness – agaya and ubuntu – for the world.

The precise moment of this Cross-Quarter is May 5th at 06:36 UTC / May 4th, 11:36pm Pacific, when the sun is directly overhead at 16° 20′ North Latitude. Dr. Michelle Merrill will lead the celebration over Zoom about 12 hours after the Cross-Quarter, plus a meditation on Insight Timer Live about 8 hours before the Cross-Quarter.

Map from timeanddate.com showing sun location for May 2021 Cross-Quarter.

Other Traditions around the May Cross-Quarter

In the northern hemisphere this is the Spring-Summer Cross-Quarter (a.k.a. Beltane, often observed May 1st, and May Day); mid-spring celebrations are often associated with fertility. In the southern hemisphere this is the Fall-Winter Cross Quarter (associated with Samhain, Halloween and the Day of the Dead, with celebrations honoring the dead, and fearful or dangerous transitions). The May Cross-Quarter is also near Vesak Day, the day for celebration of the Buddha, which is usually coordinated with the full moon in May. It can also be the time of the Eastern Orthodox Easter celebration, and can correspond to the timing for Ramadan in the Islamic calendar.

Novasutras Cross-Quarter Themes

For celebrations of the Cross-Quarters, important themes are:

Locality & Seasonality

What is special about where you are at this time of year? What foods are locally in-season? Are there certain plants or flowers that emerge at this time of year? How are the trees around you responding to the season?

Creativity and Change

Cross-Quarter celebrations lend themselves to considerations of transformation. It is a good time to ask “what if?” The Cross-Quarters invite us to consider things from new perspectives, to experiment with difference.

More Ways to Celebrate the Cross-Quarters with Novasutras

Here are a few ideas for things you may wish to do as part of Novasutras Cross-Quarter celebrations. Some of these can be done on your own, but many are better done in community. You may include a variety of personal observances and community celebrations in the days before and after the moment of the Cross-Quarter.

“Spicy Blessings”: Abiding in Agaya and Ubuntu

We in Novasutras will extend wishes that beings abide in agaya and ubuntu when Calling the Corners, or in similar contexts offering blessings and loving-kindness. But the Cross-Quarters are a good time to note that there are several meanings of the word abide. We usually say “may all beings abide in agaya and ubuntu,” with the idea of a blessing that all may live long and well with joy, reverence, wonder, love, reciprocity and connection, using the sense of abide as “continuing in a space.” But there are other ways to interpret abide. We abide by rules. We abide when we patiently endure that which may be challenging or difficult.

We send out our intentions that agaya and ubuntu may take root and abide everywhere (even where they are not initially welcomed).

In Cross-Quarter celebrations, we may share the practice of “spicy blessings”: offering wishes that individuals or groups whose acts or attitudes are not currently abiding in agaya and ubuntu may transform. In keeping with traditions like the Golden Rule, we are empowered to send out wishes for change that we ourselves would gladly accept. So when we say “May fossil fuel oligarchs abide in agaya and ubuntu,” we are offering a change in behavior and intention that we are also pledging to make: to live more fully within the guidelines of agaya and ubuntu.

Create/Co-Create a Novasutras Symbol

Creation of the Novasutras symbol can be similar to casting a circle and calling the corners in neo-pagan and various indigenous rituals, as a way to open a sacred space for the gathered community. But while it should be done with reverence, in agaya and ubuntu, it need not be solemn. It’s easy to engage all Cross-Quarter event participants in the creation of a Novasutras symbol (see this video on creating the symbol as a personal ritual or meditation).

For community gatherings, you could create a symbol large enough for all participants to stand in. Perhaps you invite people to arrange themselves by color they’re wearing (or provide hats, masks, signs, etc. in green, blue, brown and white), then have everyone briefly meditate on agaya and ubuntu as represented by that portion of the symbol (green for beings above, white for beings below, brown for the tree beings that connect above and below, blue for beings nearby and far away or beings of the seas). On the beach, the symbol can be drawn by participants following each other and scuffing their feet in a kind of dance, or by one or more people drawing with sticks. On pavement, it could be drawn with sidewalk chalks or sand.

To produce something like a mandala (indoors or out), people could bring appropriate materials to co-create the symbol: leaves and flowers; feathers; seeds, grains, cornmeal (of different colors); chalk or sand; colored stones or beads; or just draw on newsprint or butcher paper with paints or markers. Weather permitting, you could even do a litter clean-up at a beach or park, sort the objects found by color, and array them in the symbol.

Please take pictures and share your creations – add them to our Facebook page, or use #Novasutras, #Cross-Quarter, #Agaya and #Ubuntu on other social media. Be sure to include ‘sweeping up’ in the closing of your celebration, making sure that any materials are taken for recycling, composted, or otherwise dealt with in ways that are respectful of agaya and ubuntu.

Local, Mid-Season Flowers, Fruits and Foliage

Adorn yourself and your event-space with vegetation that honors the season in your location. Are there colorful autumn leaves? Twigs with budding leaves? Fresh flowers?

Everywhere, plants must attune themselves to the seasons and make the best of the available sunlight – this holds important lessons for human communities also. By honoring their evolutionary genius and celebrating their sensual beauty, we become the partners of plants through ubuntu and agaya.

Reversals, Costumes, and Role-play

These Cross-Quarter times are a great opportunity for festivals of role reversal or other forms of role-play. Dressing up in costume for Halloween can be one such festival – an invitation to “come as you aren’t” and express an extreme or inverse persona from your usual self. By taking on a persona different from your day-to-day personal expression, you have an opportunity to build empathy and see things from alternative perspectives.

Costumes for Samahain (Halloween), a traditional Cross-Quarter festival.

In cultures where hierarchy and domination were very strong, many festivals included a reversal of “master” and “servant” roles for the day as a kind of release valve for social tensions, as in ancient Roman Saturnalia. Where gender roles typically limit women’s agency in courtship, traditions like “Sadie Hawkins Day” or “Bachelor’s Day / Ladies’ Privilege” allowed women to express and pursue their preferences.

Participants in Cross-Quarter celebrations could be encouraged to wear masks or costumes in the spirit of Reversals and Role-play. A longer event could include materials and opportunities to construct these.

Please help spread the word about this Cross-Quarter – tell your friends, share on social media, and help us grow the Novasutras movement.

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