Thought for the Week – Beltane

Celebrating Beltane

A little time back, thousands of folk in the UK including me roared out in opposition to the mass sell-off of public woodland and forestry. The government heard and for once acted on public pressure, and currently the Forestry Commission’s role as holder of our forest estate continues. There is another roar of opposition, this time to the proposal to remove the May Day Bank Holiday in favour of an autumn date.

It’s worth considering, from both a Pagan and a Secular point of view, why this Bank Holiday is so treasured. Not intended to mark a religious festival, May Day was an agricultural holiday, celebrating the end of ploughing and seeding in the fields with community dances, perhaps around maypoles. It was a pause in the hard almost constant working calendar, and later became connected with workers in general, an international Labour Day, and became a Bank Holiday in the UK about forty years ago.

For many Druids, May Day is also Beltane; one of the eight major festivals of the Pagan year. It marks the midpoint of the Sun’s journey between Equinox and summer Solstice. Where, across the wheel of the year, Samhain speaks of death and leaving, Beltane is very much focused on fertility, upon new life and procreation. Don’t get too excited though, pagan life is not all as portrayed in the film The Wicker Man… Celebrations around fires are more likely, and prayers and ritual on fecundity and growth, and meditation on the transition from youth to adult, as the year matures. May your year be blessed and golden.

Mark Rosher – The Druid Network : registered as a charity in England and Wales (1138265)

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