Three Things Thursday: May Bushes, an Easy Bealtaine Garland, and More to Read,

May Bushes

A photo of the May bush my family made for Bealtaine this year. Text reads: “Make a May bush for Bealtaine with Northern Rivers Grove, ADF! Spread the magic! Share a photo here or use #NorthernRiversGrove on social media.”

I’m sad that my grove is unable to celebrate Bealtaine in person this year. That means no Maypole, a tradition many modern Pagans enjoy during this holiday season. While not originally an Irish tradition, Maypoles are an import from other European countries like Germany and England. Over the last couple years, I adopted another tradition for my family – making a May bush. This actually comes from Ireland, and many there are working to revive it. May bushes are made to protect against antagonistic forces. This year, we need all the help we can get! Having Irish ancestors myself, and as I enjoy incorporating authentic Irish traditions into my druid celebrations, I started to decorate the forsythia bush in our front yard. We don’t have a hawthorn tree (yet), so the early-blooming forsythia is a good substitute with it’s cheerful yellow blossoms. We used ribbons made of cotton fabric scraps leftover from masks. As you can see from the graphic, I’m encouraging my grovemates to join me by sharing photos of their own May bushes on social media!

An Easy Bealtain Garland

My Bealtaine garland made of fabric ribbons. Photo by M. A. Phillips 2020

I grew fond of the felt bunny garland that hung in my window in honor of spring, but with Bealtaine this weekend, it was time for the bunnies to take a break. Inspired by our May bush, and desirous of a way to use up the tiny ribbons I made with mask-making scraps, I decided to knot them along twine. Voila! A simple, colorful garland to celebrate the turn of the seasons. Ever since my first Bealtain celebrated with other Pagans, I’ve equated the holiday with bright ribbons. No matter how deeply I delve into Irish lore and history, and no matter how enthusiastically I embrace the occasion’s fiery purification, I will always desire the whimsy of ribbons. Perhaps this simple craft will make you smile, too. It’s certainly easy to make with little kids in the house.

More to Read

A photo of the book Paganism for Beginners: The Complete Guide to Nature-Based Spirituality for Every New Seeker by Althaea Sebastiani arranged beside a deer jawbone, stone, and smudge wand of mugwort. Photo by M. A. Phillips 2020

I’m very excited to have won a physical copy of Paganism for Beginners: The Complete Guide to Nature-Based Spirituality for Every New Seeker by Althaea Sebastiani. Newly released, this intro book is getting rave reviews from other Pagans. Though I’ve been on this path for seventeen years (yeah, I just did the math), I still have much to learn. I don’t consider myself a beginner, but I walk but one trail in a diverse forest of footpaths. It’s impossible for me to know everything, and I always appreciate Althaea’s perspectives. Given the praise her publication is receiving, I’m eager to read it for myself so that I can recommend it to a new generation of Pagans. Now… to catch up on all my other reading!

Published by M. A. Phillips

An author and Druid living in Northern NY.

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