This is the Feast of Bealtaine. The light of the sun in the Wheel of the Year stands in the south east. This is the time of spring flowering, this is the time of the 'shining fire' light. Our celebrations are in the light of day.
Bealtaine is the time of year when nature suddenly seems to burst forth from the winter grip. Flowers, leaves and buds erupt and proclaim the vibrancy of life. The underlying energies sponsor expasion, growth, fun, play, joy, bounty and invigoration.
The name itself refers to the ritual bright summer fires. This is the Druidic fire light on the Hill when all other fires are extinguished.
The Patriarchal energy of Patrick and the Matriarchal energy of Brigid have combined to produce the blessed 'leanbh na grian' who is full of life and brightness and promise.
Traditionally, the young unwed men would go into the forest and return with a tree, usually a fir, to shape into a pole. This was placed in the centre of the settlement and guarded through the night. Then the people would mark the day with ceremonies of celebration and respect, and dance around the maypole clockwise, to bring fertility and good luck.
Later, brightly coloured ribbons were woven around the pole by the dancers, as they wove around each other. This serves as an image of the balance of the masculine and feminine energies and the duality of life. The ribbons would then be removed, to be burnt in the Bealtaine fire next year. This symbolises the old dying each year and giving birth to the new.