A Collection of May Day Musings

The Wild Hunt is exclusively supported by readers like you. No advertising. No corporate sponsors. Your support helps us pay our writers and editors, as well as cover the bills the keep the lights on. We cover the community because of your generosity. Consider making a one-time donation – or become a monthly sustainer. Every amount helps. Thank you for reading The Wild Hunt!



First of May! First of May! A round up of Pagan musings concerning the Beltane/May Day/Walpurgis Night holiday starts today!

T. Thorn Coyle, “Walpurgisnacht Manifesto 2011.”

Today, I stand for beauty.
I stand for music to lighten the soul.
I stand for healing balms to comfort wounds.
I stand for kind words in the tempest,
And a scrap of bright cloth in the mud of war.

Erynn Rowan Laurie, “Bringing In the May.”

“The ritual itself went off quite well tonight, I thought. We seemed quite a bit more organized than usual, the fire did what it was supposed to, we made our rowan crosses, and tied ribbons on our May bush (the indoor ficus). Feasting was had, and lovely harp music, along with a traditional Irish Beltaine song. I was very happy with everything […] And so I wish you all a blessed Beltaine (or if you’re in the southern hemisphere, a blessed Samhain) and may all your Gods be with you.”

Cat Chapin-Bishop, “Cat, It’s Beltane.”

“I did get up, and made it to the meeting, and no one minded even that I took the time to pour myself a cup of deep, strong black coffee before we began, or that I took the time to greet my friends, to savor the sun, and to kiss my new love under the new green leaves before we pulled out our notepads and took notes.  For it was Beltane, and it was understood, that there are things more vital than efficiency, and obligations deeper than the ones we can put in words.”

Frater Barrabbas, “Coming Attractions and Other News.”

“I want to spend some time in my garden, continue building up my grove and perform some new ritual workings in it during the balmy summer months. I would like to do some hiking, swimming, camping and kayaking, as well as getting out more and going into town to meet with friends, socialize and eat some exotic foods. I have been stuck in my house most of the winter and I have become a bit stir crazy, so now that the summer is coming, I want to be outside a lot more. I really missed not being able to be outdoors, so I intend to make up for missed opportunities. After all, pagans belong in nature, and nature is anywhere outside of the house! As the summer comes gently sliding into our lives, may you find great pleasure in the wondrous outdoors and the blessings of the gods and goddesses of the land, waters, sky and even below the earth.”

Phaedra Bonewits, “Beltane Meditation.”

“Beltane is the start of summer in my half of the planet, and may it be a full, rich, fecund summer. May babies be strong and crops be abundant and happy couplings begin and ripen. May maypoles be wrapped with joyous wishes and may the dancers find what they desire. May what needs to begin, begin and grow stronger. May what needs to end, slip away with dignity. May the bonfires be bright, and life go on with all its vigor.”

Wes Isley, “May Day: Rekindling the Heart of Beltane.”

“So what does inspire me about Beltane? Running throughout all of these May Day traditions is a sense of unbridled joy, of youth sprinting across a flower-covered meadow beneath the warmth of the sun, with a mischievous and happy gleam in his (or her) eye. It speaks not of planting or consummating or doing anything — but of simply being alive in that moment, with a hint of bright tomorrows to come. Can I bottle that feeling and hold it forever? That’s what I want from Beltane this year, and I don’t think you can manufacture that spirit out of anything organized.”

Grove Harris, “May Day Delights: The Pagan Celebration of Beltane.”

“The dance around the maypole is a communal one, with dancers holding the long colored ribbons and weaving them over and under other ribbons. Around and around, carrying intention into the larger weaving of many strands of community. In some rituals, women and men dance in opposite directions, weaving the gender differences into the larger union. Other dances are more free form, playful and even chaotic. There’s coherence in the pattern, with the inclusion of imperfections and fun, with areas of systematic weave and areas of unique design. Dancers old and young engage, often sharing ribbons and turns around the pole. Around and around, over and under, sometimes in step and sometimes out of phase, how like life. We may not see the overall pattern until the dance is over, so the main thing is to participate, and to do so as fully as possible.”

Donna Hennes, “May Day: A Bawdy Festival of Fertility.”

“May Day is an old European spring fertility and copulation festival held in honor of the trees and their mistresses, the virgin vegetation goddesses. Celebrated as Floralia by the Romans, Walpurgisnacht by the Teutons, Whitsuntide by the Dutch, and Beltane by the Celts, it centered on romantic devotions to the nubile goddesses of spring, Flora, Walpurga and Maia, for whom this month is named. Maia can be traced back to Maya, the pre-Vedic mistress of perceptual reality who was the virgin mother of the Buddha. The Greek goddess, Maia was the virgin mother of Hermes. Her descendant, Mary, the Blessed Virgin Mother of God, is patroness of the month of May, which the early church dedicated to Her.”

Gus diZerega, “Dancing up the Sun at May Day.”

“The first time I saw Berkeley Morris I was new to Paganism.  As I joined the large group forming the circle within which the dancers were performing, something indescribably ancient seemed to pervade the place.  Here were people celebrating the triumph of life and fertility as they had in one way or another for thousands of years.  Rather than being on the leading edge of “progress” we were deeply immersed in a place of timeless meaning.  It was very magickal, and I have never forgotten it.”

No matter what your tradition, faith, or custom, may this day bring you blessings.