Changing Paths challenge 1– May Morning
May morning seems an appropriate time to start a new writing project. It’s one of the four quarter days of the year, when traditionally there were fairs (often hiring fairs) and celebrations. I always feel like Imbolc / Candlemas is a great time to start groups — when the green shoots are mostly still gestating in the earth (depending on where you live—in Canada everything is still covered in snow).
I’ve always loved stories about Robin Hood and his Merrie Men and so my favourite May Day tradition is one from the midlands of England where people would build bowers for Robin Hood and Maid Marian. You can almost draw a line across England, north of which the traditional May Day revels involved bonfires, and south of which they involved Maypoles. Probably the line matches the extent of the Danelaw (the area invaded by the Danes).
Yesterday on May morning we were up before the dawn to welcome in the summer and the May, and to “dance the sun up” (this tradition is 100 years old this year and started in Oxford, UK, where I lived for nine years). We danced the following dances: “Beltane Fire”, “Whiffler”, “Bean Setting”, “Tinner’s Rabbit”, and “Bonnie Green Garters”, and we sang “Hal an Tow”, “John Ball” by Sydney Carter, and “Tavaszi szél vizet áraszt” (a Hungarian song—one of our members is Hungarian).
Check out the photos on our Idylwild Morris blog, Instagram, and Facebook.
One of the reasons I’m a Pagan is the celebration of Nature and wildness, and that is very much in evidence on the first of May. Nature is blossoming and blooming and celebrating—the birds are singing, the trees are bursting into leaf and blossom, and the grass is springing up tall after being hidden and crushed under the snows of winter (I never understood the expression “the grass is ris” in the rhyme “Spring has sprung, the grass is ris, I wonder where the birdies is” till I moved to Canada).
I also love that Beltane is a celebration of sexuality in all its glorious variety. Check out the posts on my Dowsing for Divinity blog for explorations of inclusive Beltane.
If you would like to take part in the Changing Paths blogging challenge, check out the prompts.
Changing Paths is published by 1000Volt Press and is available as a paperback and ebook from all the usual online stores. Ask your local bookseller or library to stock it!
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