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Beltane[414 x 600 JPG]
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|Description ||Bright Blessings at Beltane!|
The Hawthorn or May-tree is the traditional flower of Beltane. It was the ancestor of the Maypole, the source of May garlands and the decorations for Jacks-in-the-Green and Green Georges. There are more stories, legends and rhymes about the hawthorn than any other plant and with Christian associations too. The red berries and thorns represent Christ's crown of thorns and drops of blood. The holy tree at Glastonbury is a hawthorn, grown from the staff of Joseph of Arimathea when he was weary and stopped to rest on Wearyall Hill. A magical tree for outdoors only, but whatever you do - NEVER bring it into the house!
|...what will happen if you do?|
|'orrible things to makes yer flesh creep! In Wales the hawthorn is known as "Blodau marw mam" meaning literally Flowers-death-mother and in many places it is thought to cause the death of the mother if brought indoors. Numerous bad luck stories abound, but all seem to stem from Protestant intolerance of the 17th century. As well as banning Christmas, Cromwell's far from merry men also banned the maypole and all May Day celebrations. Beltane was a festival of sexual license and the blossom is said by some to smell of sexual intercourse! As the hawthorn was the may-tree, if the Puritan Gestapo found any used as decoration inside your house, then you were condemned as a Pagan or a Papist and dreadful things were done to you. The hawthorn was associated with the Crucifixion because of the thorns and red berries, but also with the Virgin Mary. May Altars were set up to the Virgin and the blossom was known as Our Lady's Dowry. Putting aside all the superstition and religious conflict, the real reason you won't want to bring the hawthorn blossom into your house is because it stinks of cats' pee!|
|The queen must be entirely grateful that she receives a cutting at Christmas, not too much blossom around then. But can anyone tell me why she gets a cutting. What's the story?
And Beltane blessings to all from Peasedown in darkest Zumerzet.|
|Thankyou for this lovely picture and your kind wishes, Thorgrim. Can I pass on mine to everyone too, please? I'm hoping to go to another Pagan festival tomorrow - Padstow 'Obby 'Oss Day. It's brilliant. It's normally on 1st May, but, being Pagan, it's not held on Sunday. Men take it in turns to don the black, round, skirted table-like disguise, topped with a fearsome pointed black mask, and dance through the town. There are two of them: the red ribbon and blue ribbon 'Osses, and both set out at different times from their respective 'stables' with their followers, playing drums and accordions, and singing. A 'Teaser' with a long padded stick leads the 'Oss, dancing as they go along, while wending their way through the narrow streets, and ending up at the huge flower-bedecked Maypole in the middle of the town. Here the teasers dance around the Obby Oss, tormenting it, while it dips and sways, swirling around with its skirts swinging out. The fertility aspect is connected with touching these, or perhaps in the old days, a maiden was taken under them! A very catchy folk song accompanies all this and, together with the beat of the drums, can be quite mesmerising! Checking the website there is a 'Night Song', a 'Day Song', and 'Farewell'. The 'Night Song' starts: "Unite and unite and let us all unite, For Summer is acome unto day, And whither we are going we will all unite, In the merry morning of May. (2nd verse: "I warn you young men everyone, For Summer is acome unto day, To go to the green-wood and fetch your May home, In the merry morning of May.") From http://home.freeuk.com/bribbonobbyoss/maysong.html |
|A punctuation error! The Obby Osses don't play drums and accordions and sing!|
|Plenty of people at the Beltane eve evening at Butser Ancient Farm. I've put pics of the wicker man before and after burning on the Butser Ancient Farm pages (apparently its an Iron Age tradition). |
|Dunno why the Queen and Queen Mother get a spray of Glastonbury Thorn at Christmas. Secret Papist declaration of loyalty? Pagan connection? -(remember the Pagan origin of the Order of the Garter) Anyone know? The Glastonbury thorn is very special as it DOES bloom in December - not May. It supports the Joseph of Arimathea legend in that the tree on Wearyall Hill and in the churchyard at Glastonbury are not the British variety, but one from the Middle East. A possible reason may have been that it was brought to Britain from the Crusades. Certainly there were three such trees on Wearyall Hill in the early 16th century:
"Here begynneth the lyfe of Joseph of Armathia...
...Do burge and bere greene leaues at Christmas
As freshe as other in May when ye nightingale
Wrestes out her notes musycall as pure glas."
|May Day is not celebrated much here in USA. My mum (a Brit) raised me to always give flowers on May 1st. We used to have a May Day festival at primary school when I was very young, back in the fifties, but by the early sixties the schools had banned the festival, which consisted of each class presenting a traditional folk dance. Even a maypole (usually manned by the 6th graders) was permitted a few years, as I recall. I think the spring festival for public schools was discontinued during the Cold War, when anything remotely Communistic was suspect (May 1st -Labor Day in the then USSR?) It was a lovely and fun practice, now abandoned, at least here in So. California. Too bad. |
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