It’s the 1st May today. A glorious date for sure.
This morning Morris sides all over the country were out for the sunrise to dance up the Sun and the land was filled with the glorious sound of Morris bells. A tradition celebrated in my song Forgotten, Never Be:
On the 1st of May at the break of day,
Summer is born,
We’ll dance a Morris tune with the setting of the Moon,
And we will greet the dawn,
The Winter we dispel with the sound of Morris bell,
So pass the drinking horn,
Pass the drinking horn.
And many a drinking horn was passed…
It’s the beginning of a busy time on the modern Pagan calendar. This weekend we have our Anderida Gorsedd open Beltane ritual at the Long Man of Wilmington where we choose a May King and Queen. There’s the Hastings Jack in the Green Festival, the Padstow ‘Obby ‘Oss will be dancing the streets in that beautiful Cornish town, and so much more will happening to celebrate this important day.
The date is also International Labour Day and our Bank Holiday Monday has seen a number of political protest marches over the years.
But the celebrations of May will continue deeper into the month. On the 8th May in Helston, Cornwall, the song Hal an Tow will ring out in the streets to welcome in the Summer.
For me there is one important thing missing. The May flowers. Sometimes they are early and will flower in April, this year the 1st May has arrived and although the buds are bursting to flower, at least here in Sussex, there is almost none in full blossom. Plenty of Blackthorn that is just going over, but hardly any Hawthorn.
I find it hard to separate the May blossom and Beltane. I guess that’s the problem with placing seasonal festivals on actual dates. Sometimes Nature complies, at other times she doesn’t. But it is May Day, it is the Bank Holiday May weekend here in England, and on Sunday we will chose a May Queen and the men will hunt the Stag to be the May King.
Our rituals will call the May, and soon her white and virgin skin will cover the hedgerows of Albion. The blossom will be upon the Thorn and the Piper’s tune will be done. In the sunlit forests the animals will bow, as the Piper lays his Goddess down.
Ne’er cast a clout, til May is out.
Sumer is Icumen In.
Happy Beltane my friends! And to all of my other friends ‘down under’, have a deep and blessed Samhain!