Beltaine, a time when nature seems to be at its most fecund and vibrant. There is a palpable change in the energy of the land and all life seems to step up a gear. The birdsong becomes louder and brighter, the lambs are bouncing for all they are worth in the fields already, flowers come thick and fast to the hedgerows and gardens and we feel more alive and vital as the Sun climbs higher into the sky and is with us longer each day. And we look to the trees to see the new green mantel of leaves emerge from the bare branches as the Goddess of Spring stirs and wakes.
Oak before Ash in for a splash, Ash before Oak in for a soak, and the higher the Rooks nest the dryer the weather, they say! Well this year it was the Oak by a long way and the the Rooks were as far up in the trees as they could manage, so maybe we are in for a dry spell, who knows!
On the Long Man hill we were blessed by the Sun as we gathered again to celebrate the turning of the eternal wheel. The wonderful Mythago Morris brought the circle together with a couple of dances. After opening the ceremony we held hands and formed a circle of unity and then with chanting and love the men and women parted company to honour the mysteries of the God and Goddess, both within and without.
For the Men a Toast, a Boast and a Promise! to honour someone or something in your life, for something of which you are proud to have achieved and a promise for something you wish to achieve. Roars and cheers of pride, power and passion filled the air, the God in his glory was felt on that hill.
For the Women a time to say out loud of how the Goddess spoke to us and how she manifests through each of us, then a song of unity, strength and beauty that soared and spiraled around the circle binding us together with the Goddess and each other and as we sang the May Queen was divined. The women cloaked and crowned the May Queen and paid her honour due and then we heard a tune coming from the men’s circle which signaled that they too were ready to find the May King.
We danced around their circle as they sang to show the Goddess was with them as they rose up to face the ordeal to find the May King!
The Men gathered and made ready to run, all fired and tense for the race. The signal given the chase was on and like greyhounds across the great expanse of grass they ran finally disappearing into the trees in the distance, the May King would be the first one to find the Antlers hidden in the copse.
The May Queen and the women watched the men run and then waited to see who emerged carrying the prize, slowly the group came back into view but no horns were to be seen. They walked slowly all with their hands behind their backs, who had won the prize?
Eventually the waiting women caught sight of the antlers in the hands of one man who then brandished them with much whoop and ceremony from all. He was brought to the top of the hill where his cloak and crown were bestowed and the May King and May Queen were presented to each other and the the assembled company. For this moment they were our God and Goddess standing with us at the time of Beltaine, holding the energy of the land, they blessed the bread and drink and shared the feast with the circle, whilst poem and song was presented to honour the day.
With the Lord and Lady blessing the company, Mythago morris danced for us again and a fire was lit to represent the Beltaine fires of the ancestors and we all jumped through the flames. The feasting, poetry and dancing was done, so it was time for our King and Queen to return that energy to the land and for the circle to come to a close. With grateful hearts we thanked the spirits of place and all of the guides and guardians of Anderida for their inspiration, guidance and protection and wound our way to the Giants Rest for Ale, more dancing and the good company of like minds.