Ceremony- May Day - May
with Edie Stone and Maria Jekic
- Celebrate the joyous juiciness of Spring
and the flowering of Celtic Summer
- May King & Queen, May Pole, The May Bush
- Gwalchmai, the Hawk of May
- 1 pm, set-up and preparations; 2 pm, Ceremony - Please arrive
by 1:45 pm
- Potluck dinner follows the ceremony
- By donation, $10 to $25 appreciated, no one turned away for
Beltane Themes and Details
I am delighted to have Maria Jekic
join us as our co-facilitator and logistics maven for Beltane!
You are invited to celebrate the joyous juiciness of Spring and the
beginning of the Celtic Summer with a Beltane ceremony, followed by a
potluck, on Sunday, May 1. Set up and preparations, 1 to 2 pm (set up
May Pole, etc.) Please arrive
by 1:45. Ceremony starts at 2 pm.
By donation, $10 to $25 is appreciated, no one turned away for lack of
The location will be in North Boulder, and you will receive directions
when you RSVP. Because I want and need this to be a co-creation of our
growing Celtic Spirituality group, you can participate by bringing
certain items, listed below. Be sure to include what you are bringing
with your RSVP to 303-415-3755 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Please bring folding chairs or blankets if you know you need to sit. We
will have a few chairs on hand.
During the afternoon, we will weave together several themes from Celtic
and British seasonal myths, folklore, and rituals, into a playful,
co-created ceremony. Themes include:
1. The transition out of the dark
half of the year, giamos
has been with us from October 31, Samhain/Hallowe'en -- into the light
half of the year, samos
, which starts on May 1 with
the Feast of Bealtinne.
3. This transition is sometimes symbolized by a battle between Green Man and Brown Man,
or conflict between the Young God and an Old,
Dark, or Giant God.
(The energy of Youth is found in Mabon,
Lleu, Culhwch, or Gawain/Gwalchmai in Welsh traditions,
Cúchulainn, Lugh, and Angus Og in Irish -- while the aging
Cernunnos, the Hawthorne Giant, and Cú Roí Mac
Dáire are the old or defeated energy.) In parts of Wales, the battle of the King of Summer against the
King of Winter
for the hand of the May Queen was acted out by
teams of boys. In the Middle Ages, Robin Hood or
embodied the young energy, battling against
Dark and Evil. In many traditional May Day revels, the triumphant youth
is crowned as the King of the May.
2. The coming forth of the Flower Maiden
(Blodeuwedd and Olwen in Welsh legend, Bláthnat in Irish). She
is the Goddess of the Land in her youthful,
Sometimes the old Hag
to be vanquished, much as the Old God is defeated. Maid Marian,
whom some see as a version of the ancient White Lady of the wildwood,
Hood. We find the Flower Maiden embodied in the Queen of the May
in many Bealtaine festivities.
3. Symbols of
fertility and the Greenwood Marriage.
symbols include the phallic May Pole
Germanic/Saxon influence), which is crowned, by a yoni-like wreath of flowers.
Other fertility symbols include ritualized "marriages" or the King and Queen of
, and the joining of Chalice and Blade. Hobby horses
are often to be
found in May Day festivities, and they cavort and dance, teasing the
girls, and sometimes "capture" a maiden.
4. Another important figure is the Fool,
often appears in mummers plays or
groups as a male cross-dressed in women's clothing.
This is an apt symbol of the limnal, neither-here-nor-there energy of
transformation, of the thinness of the veils between the worlds, and of
By breaking patterns of expected behavior and
crossing boundaries, the Fool makes greater change possible.
5. Fires of
transformation and purification.
The first Bealtaine fire was
lit at Uisnech, the center of Druidic power in Ireland. Other fires
would be relit from the central fire. Until the 1800's in Scotland and
Wales, the fires of Bealtaine or Calan Mai were lit to purify cattle as
they were driven from stale winter containment into the fresh freedom
of the green pastures in the hills, called sheilings. The young people
of the village would spend the summer in the sheilings, which might
have led to a bit of mischief.
blessing of water.
Dew collected at dawn on Bealtaine was
especially potent, as it had absorbed the fire of the sun, and thus
became "sun in water." This could be saved and used for healing during
the rest of the year for healing. In some places, communities would
make a pilgrimage to a sacred well at dawn on May Day, to collect the
potent "sun in water," which was sprinkled on them as a blessing. In
Cornwall, May 1 was Dipping Day
and boys would splash water on anyone they met who was not wearing
hawthorne. In southern Ireland, a procession of mummers included a
clown who would anoint the shrieking crowds with water from a home-made
mop. (Thanks to Mara Freeman for most of the water traditions, and
Alexei Kondratiev for the sun-in-water image.)
in the May, and May Bushes. I
t was customary in all the
Celtic lands to rise early on May Day, go out in the countryside, and
bring back in flowers and flowering branches, especially hawthorne
branches. May Bushes are a more authentically Celtic version of the May
Pole. Flowering branches were gathered together and decorated to make
the bush, or a living tree was decorated with flowers, ribbons, bright
scraps of material, colored eggshells, bits of shiny metal, or a golden
ball to symbolize the sun. Boys and girls with branches and flowers
would dance around the May Bush, in a serpentine or spiral pattern.
How do you spell Beltane, any way?
Any of these ways:
Belltaine, Bealtaine, Beltain, Beltane, Beltine, Bealteine, Bealltuinn
(Scottish Gaelic), Boaldyn (Manx)
Or try Welsh: Calan Mai, or Cornish: Cala' Mē, or
When you RSVP, please indicate what
you can bring to share. Most of these are items you have on
hand, it won't need to cost a lot, but a few things need to be
purchased. I hope we are developing a sense of community.
Flowers - You can go a-Maying
in the morning, and find what is blooming, or visit a grocery/flower
shop. White and yellow flowers are especially symbolic, but bring what
Branches. It would be lovely
to have some flowering branches for the May Bush and a short
procession. White hawthorne branches are traditional in the British
Isles, but we are in Colorado, so we will see what is blooming.
Vases or small buckets for
the flowers and branches. Some small stones or a bag of smooth river
rocks, to put at the bottom of the vases.
Dew water. If you want
to be traditional, arise at dawn and collect the dew that has been
kissed by the dawn. We will add some dew water to a bowl of flower
water, and use it as a blessing.
Daisy chains, dandelion chains, a
garland. We will need one of these to crown the May Queen. My
yard was the victim of a misguided weed exterminator 2 years ago, so we
no longer even many dandelions to share. :-(
Hobby horse. I have a horse, it
could use a few new ribbons.
Ribbons, strips of colorful cloth, or
clooties. To decorate the May Bush, to hold prayers and
blessings on the Apple Tree, for the horse, for your hair ...
Other decorations for the May Bush or
Apple Tree: colored egg shells, origami, paper ornaments ...
For our 2 fires: I am
planning to use a dutch oven, with sand in the bottom, and candles
stuck in it as a safe and containable fire. We have a copper kettle
coming for the other fire. I need a bag of clean sand for the fire
pots. We may also have tiki torches to line our route to the summer
Candles. Anyone can bring
candles for the fire pots. They can be various heights and thicknesses,
tapers, pillars, etc.
Mead or flower wine, juice.
Oat cakes, cookies, scones.
Paper cups, plates.
For our sharing of Cakes and Ale. We have some scones coming.
Music, musicians, instruments,
songs to share, CDs. I will prepare a CD of seasonal music, but if you
have favorites, please bring them.
Poetry, love poems, humor.
PLEASE RSVP TO 303-415-3755 OR email@example.com
to reserve your place and get directions.