Northern Rivers celebrated its second Bealtaine together on May 10th. The skies, which had been full of rain clouds, became pleasant and even sunny. Perfect Maypole weather! What a blessing!
I’ve never found evidence that the ancient Celts celebrated the holiday with a Maypole, but it’s become such an important part of the modern celebration. My first exposure to the living Pagan community was on a Bealtaine. My would-be friends and teachers danced a Maypole. My first visit to Muin Mound Grove was on Bealtaine. Again, my would-be friends and teachers danced the Maypole. It has become a sort of personal “Pagan birthday” since I lack the memory of any other concrete day in my early years of exploration. Dancing the Maypole awakens my inner sense of whimsy and fun. My husband and I annually kiss each other as we dance, inspired by the flirtatious nature of the custom. This year, my ribbon broke shortly after I started, but I still laughed and circled with the others as one of our very talented members played his bagpipes. At the end, I tied my ribbon around the bottom with the others. Our dance sends our wishes of fertility into the land. It is prayer in motion.
More traditional among the Irish was jumping the Bealtaine bonfire for luck and healing. This was our magical working during the ritual. I also prepared a candle in a lantern for those uncomfortable jumping the actual bonfire. As we chanted, most of the women and children jumped the candle (I held Bee while we went together). Most of the men and one lady jumped the actual fire pit which was spectacular to watch!
Songs were sun, praise was spoken, and offerings were poured, sprinkled, and hung around the fire and the clootie tree near the stone circle. It was our first ritual outdoors since the hard winter hit Northern NY. My goodness, it felt wonderful to be out there at the circle again… Welcome May!