Posts Tagged ‘Maypole’


2014 Maypole – Photo by Tara Loughborough, 2014

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!

Clootie Tree – Photo by Grey Catsidhe, 2014

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Whenever Bealtaine rolls around, I inevitably get the old song, “Sumer is Icumen In,” stuck in my head.  My very first experience with Paganism in general was at a Bealtaine (they called and spelled it as “Beltane”) festival.  It included a Maypole, and the priestess, who would become one of my good friends and mentors in my early days of Paganism, sang the song in her beautiful alto voice as we danced with our ribbons.  Music and food were essential parts of her seasonal celebrations.  They are for all of us, but she’s the first person to help me see that and make the connection between local food and the agricultural cycle of the various Pagan holidays.  Although I have never felt my voice is practiced enough to do the tune justice in public, I find myself singing it constantly with my baby girl now that Bealtaine is here.  Again, I think about the lessons my friend taught me and I rejoice at the Nature Spirits growing all around.  Some will become my food, and I join them in their yearly dance.

Bealtaine has found us once again, and the green of summer is growing in!  Sure, I don’t have the traditional Hawthorne blossoming nearby, but I have plenty of Nature Spirits heralding the change of the season!


Chives are among the first sings of life in my garden each year. This tenacious herb winters well in Northern NY. Photo by Grey Catsidhe, 2014.

The dandelions are just blossoming! I’m hoping for some time this weekend to harvest. Photo by Grey Catsidhe, 2014

Beautiful lemon blossoms fill my my living room with a delicious aroma. Photo by Grey Catsidhe, 2014.

Next weekend we will join with friends and grovies to jump the sacred bonfire. In the meantime, my little family will celebrate with food and household saining. May your own celebrations be blessed, and may you pray with a good fire!  Sing cuccu!


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Northern Rivers' beautifully imperfect Maypole!  Photo by Weretoad, 2013.

Northern Rivers Protogrove, ADF | Bringing the Ár nDraíocht Féin tradition to Northern NY.

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