“The time is out of joint; O curs’d spite,
That ever I was born to set it right!”
With weather such as we’ve had recently it’s hard to feel the burst of life that even now is pushing through into the landscape. Summer feels so far away (I think it was mostly in February and March) but even as the rain falls and the dry, dry land struggles to swallow the glut and gush of water, Beltane is here. Festival of fecundity, fire and fellowship. The Sun is now gaining in strength every day, calling to the trees to throw out leaves and blossom.
In times long gone, the cattle that was saved for breeding over the hard winters would be let out of the pens and holds to wander freely in the fields and hills, to feast on the new grass. Before they went they would be driven through fires of thick smoke, killing off the pests and parasites that had accumulated in their coats. From this perhaps we get the Bel fires that give the festival its name, and thoughts of purification that curry strangely with those of feasting and frollicking in the woods… something seen to be relatively impure these days.
Whether it was ever true that folk went off at Beltane, into the woods to take part in the earthier forms of fertility magic… well it’s still pretty damp out there, even in a normal year (what is that, any more?)… and we don’t seem to have any historic data to suggest more than average childbirth in February… but hey, let’s not let facts get in the way of a good, um, story. After all, what is that Maypole all about eh? Nudge, nudge.
It’s worth remembering too that it’s International Labour Day. Up the workers! Or, as our local incompetent incumbents might say, Right Up the workers! There’s a few more May Day customs here.
Ooh, the Wicker Man image reminds me I have tickets to see the first ever stage production of this wonderful, daft and magical film later this very week! More on that later, but when even the tickets are made out of the wood of empty Summerisle apple crates you know you’re in for a treat!
So, with a bit of luck as this post gets automatically uploaded at about six in the morning, I’ll be catching my breath on top of May Hill in Gloucestershire, having watched sunrise (if clouds, rain and divers alarums allow) prior to going off to work. Morris men dance up the Sun from the top of the hill on May Day morning – mad buggers. I may need coffee later.
[later edit: ah, no. Whether it was the gods being kind to poor tired old bish, or perhaps my subconscious listening to the howling wind and rain… whatever it was I slept right through the four thirty alarm call. I don’t feel bad about it, in fact looking out of the window I feel great! lol)]
Blessings of fertility (as appropriate, and don’t blame me!), creativity (ah, that fertile imagination put to work), and a liberal does of happiness to you all. And just because it’s such an earworm, and made for just this time of year… a little YouTube. (NSFW!). Be good folks, or a little naughty. 🙂
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