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On May first I set out to make my nature offering. I had been eyeing this tree for sometime, trying to imagine what I could do to honour her. She was a very ancient, large maple. I saw her as “Queen of the forest.” On this particular day I was walking along the path and I was sort of “pushed” off to the side somehow: wobbly footing? A root? I will never know, but it snapped me out of my pleasant daydreaming mind and made me look up and realized I was right near this beautiful tree that I had been wanting to work with. So I knew it was her turn to shine!

The purpose of this offering was really just to give reverance to such a mighty and wonderful being. Trees are very sacred to the Druids. In fact the word “Druid” is derived from an old Celtic word meaning ” Tree”, particularly referring to the Oak. The Oak tree was seen as the most sacred of trees to the Druid. But all trees were respected for their medicine, and knowledge. The Celtic version of the “Runes” is known as “Ogham,” the Celtic Tree language. Used for divination, each symbol is associated with a particular tree. The qualities of that tree are the basis for the “meaning” of the symbol itself. Here in Vermont, Maples reign supreme in our forests!

When I was a child I always wanted to be a tree! I’m not sure exactly why, they just seemed so regal; so powerful and magical. As if they had some wonderful inner life occurring that is not detectable to the human mind.

I wasn’t sure what to do with her. I tried hanging things in the opening of her trunk; wedging things in there, but nothing felt right. Next I tried stringing flowers together to outline the opening but that didn’t work either. Eventually I settled on pinning the flowers around the opening. But it didn’t seem like enough. I loved the way her large roots made wavy patterns on the ground. I thought it would be interesting to emphasize them somehow, so I started sprinkling flower petals along them, afterwards adding leaves in another “row” of colour. I really like the effect that gave! Finally, I finished by placing a large Welch shell on her front most root, it was as if it were the crowning jewel in her tiara. I think it was then that I realized I had crowned her the “May Queen.” Traditionally on May Day (Beltane) a May King and Queen are chosen. They play a leadership role in the community for the coming year. Later this same day I was on a Druid online ceremony (since we couldn’t meet in person due to Covid.) They were talking about choosing our next May King and Queen. But even more interesting was that they were suggesting, since we are all on our own, that we go out and “connect” with a tree, whatever that looked like to us. Here, I had done that already earlier that day!

There is a funny story about building this shrine. Some passers by “caught” me pinning up the flowers and seemed both curious and a little frightened by the oddity I suppose? They seemed to be “hovering” on their way back past me the second time. I’m not sure if they were trying to video tape me with their phone, or what. But they (three young adults) approached extra slowly. Their energy disturbed my trance like state of concentration. One of them kept saying; “Do you hear that! Do you hear that! There is something out there I swear.” It was a bright, sunny day, and hardly a time to feel scared of the forest. He was talking about hearing noises in the brush between where they stood close by, and myself (who they seemed to be kind of spying on.) I was chuckling and imagining that the spirits of the forest were trying to scare them away from me so I could finish my work in peace. I said in my mind; “Yeah, go scare them off they are being disrespectful.” Just then a large branch or something fell into the space between us. They yelped and scurried off! Ha! Maybe the ‘May Queen’ or her helpers had heard my silent prayer. I felt as if the forest herself was favouring me and my work, over the nosy disruptive humans.

As I walked away that day I came to another path, where I saw the other “oldest” tree in the forest. This one felt more masculine to me. I remembered I had built a shrine dedicated to “him” a few weeks prior. It’s interesting how they are on different paths, yet seem to be on a straight path to each other. I imagine they are on the same ley line, or energetic path. As I walked through the invisible line that connected them I felt an energy , as if they were communicating with each other, as if they were long time friends and lovers. The Grandmother and Grandfather of this forest: the May King and Queen! Perhaps I had unconsciously “crowned” the King weeks earlier without knowing? It is interesting too, because his shrine was of the sun at his base and very much looked “crown like” as well.

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May King and Queen — The Tree Song Journey

Beltane, May Day and the story written in the stars that fall on the Summerlands — Annie Dieu-Le-Veut — Vermont Folk Troth

the character of Tinkerbell leads a potent and magical underlying theme, just as the god Jupiter guides the mythological hero or pilgrim as he goes through is adventures and challenges which lead to total transformation. In alchemy, Jupiter is the god of the metal tin; Tinkerbell is his some time belle when she forms with him an astrological conjunction as Venus who rules Beltane through her governship of Taurus, which is the sun sign in which Beltane falls each year.

Venus helps the hero transform at the point in his trials when he reaches the Underworld, at Sagittarius, which ruled by Jupiter. Here, he has to face his shadow side and reintegrate it into his personality to make himself whole. The playwright J. M. Barrie illustrates this with a metaphorical act when Tinkerbell helps Peter Pan sew his shadow back on again.

The meaning of Beltane

The word Beltane is the anglicised form of the Old Irish Beltain and Scottish Gaelic Bealltainn, and it is thought to be derived from the belo-te(p)niâ, meaning “bright fire”, or “bale fire”, which means “white and shining”.

It falls on what’s known as a Celtic quarter day. Some have tried to link these old Celtic quarter days to the midpoint between the equinoxes and the solstices, but actually that doesn’t work astronomically, because Beltane would then need to be on 5th May.

In fact, the timing of Beltane comes from a much older strata of astronomical lore than that of the solar priesthood who built Stonehenge. It comes from those whose calendars were lunar rather than solar, and whose lives were dictated by stellar and planetary movements, and these people are the ancestors of the Irish and the Welsh that we call the Celts.

Beltane marks the time when the white and shining constellation of the Pleiades begins to rise above the horizon. It’s sister fire festival is held on the last day of October, which is now known as Halloween, but to the Celts, it was the festival of Samhain, which takes place when the  Pleiades begin to set.

In Ireland, and increasingly now in Scotland, these great stellar fire festivals are being revived. This photo shows the illustrious and upstanding members of the Beltane Fire Society celebrating on Calton Hill in Edinburgh, Scotland.

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Beltane, May Day and the story written in the stars that fall on the Summerlands — Annie Dieu-Le-Veut — Vermont Folk Troth

The May-Pole of Merrymount — Renegade Tribune