Thoughts: That Time When You Accidentally Join A Pagan Celebration

Today was decidedly odd.

The morning schedule was a meeting with the Solicitor to get Mums affairs in order and progress correctly. To make sure they had all my details sorted. From there to the Memorial company to order a new Headstone for the plot.

Side note: We learned that if we wanted raised lead lettering on the stone it would cost 8 quid per letter…

We opted against raised lead lettering.

As we were close to Glastonbury we decided to head in for lunch. Completely forgetting that it was 1st May – May Day. Beltane. Glastonbury was at a complete standstill.

(Glastonbury is known for its Tor and has a history rooted in mythology and legends including Joseph of Arimathea and King Arthur. More here. The Glastonbury Festival takes its name from the town but is held a few miles away in Pilton).

The whole town gets involved in this celebration. There was the Town Hall address. The Town Crier welcoming Summer. The menfolk bearing the Maypole.

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I loved the folk dressing up as Goddesses and Green Men. Some better than others to be fair. The guy in the ghillie suit for example, didn’t quite get it. Or the guy who was green all over and wearing his favourite green shirt (it was a Green Lantern shirt so bonus points for that).

Flower crowns/garlands were on heads everywhere.

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We walked in a procession behind the Maypole for the best part of a mile. Destination: a field near the base of Glastonbury Tor. We paused by the Red Spring and the White Spring – a place of significance and meditation – for the Maypole to be blessed by intermingled waters from both. (ask me about the guy bathing naked in public sometime).

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The procession continued uphill and as we entered the field we were welcomed and blessed. The church of Beltane was truly in session. Chanting. Entering the ring through the garland portals.

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There were Gaelic blessings, invocations and chants. There were Druidic blessings, invocations and chants. People were drawn in to a state of worship. Singing. Drumming. Cannabis…

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The May Queen and May King were joined. The Maypole was planted. The couples were paired. The merriment began. Summer has been welcomed. Fertility has been encouraged.

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It was quite an experience. Not something this lad from Palmerston North has experienced anyway.

(Local coverage can be found here).

I do like days where the unexpected happens simply because you follow your curiosity and say Yes to new experiences.

But what is my take-away from all of this? It’s not just something that a tourist can observe and say “That was good wasn’t it”?. I think there’s more to it.

Beltane is about new life. It’s about conception. So, for me, I will conceive that new project, grasp that fleeting idea and get on with it.

Life is not about stagnation.

Not. One. Bit.

 

^sd

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