The time has come once again for us to begin the search for the Green Man to take part in the Beltane Fire Festival 2016. This is, therefore, an invitation to those who feel this role is for them, to step forward and note their interest for the role.
Notes of interest should be made formally to blues[at]beltane[dot]org by Tuesday 2nd February at 7pm. We’ll acknowledge receipt of your application. All applicants MUST be available for interview on the evening of Thursday 4th and Friday 5th February and they must also be available for at least one day of the GO weekend on the 13th and 14th February and for the Open Meeting on the 21st February.
But what is the role? We cannot completely define this for you. Each Green Man has their own journey, their own story to lay down. But we can offer some thoughts for the purposes of context.
Our festival is a living, dynamic reinterpretation and modernisation of an ancient Iron Age Celtic ritual and is the largest of its kind. Having been resurrected as a practice in 1988 it has become a central focus for our community, bringing many many people together to acknowledge and revel in the birth of the Summer and the fertility of the land. It is important to note that the purpose of our festival is not to recreate ancient practices but to continue in the spirit of our ancient forebears and create our own connection to the cycles of nature. Another key point to note when thinking about our own festival is the joy and the revelry that is fostered in the ritual. It is about casting off the darkness and celebrating the light. It is a time for celebrating fertility, both in the context of our biological functions as well as our own creative energies, the fertility of our creative community.
Our Beltane celebrates the turning of the wheel of the year, from spring into the beginning of summer. We celebrate each step of the cycle with our festivities. Some aspects of our festivities change from year to year, but as part of our expression of ritual, certain elements are fixed and are repeated year upon year. One of these unchanging points is the journey of the Green Man, the nature Godhead. In the context of our festival, the Green Man is the embodiment of the earth, the personification of the world around us, and a counterpoint to the divine entity of our May Queen.
People’s lives upon this planet have always been intrinsically defined and shaped by nature itself; our lives have been defined by the relationship (or lack thereof) that we have with it, by how we treat it and by the way it behaves. Intrinsic to our relationship with the earth are the cycles of the seasons, and the constant flux and flow of life, the constant change from one state to another. Our Green Man is a living embodiment of the earth’s cyclical nature. The Green Man character is common the world over, present in many different cultures. As global location changes so does the personality and traits of the Green Man of that locality. But always there is this link between humankind and the earth we live upon.
The central aspect of the Green Man’s role is his death and subsequent rebirth. This provides the centrepiece of our ritual. The May Queen, having gathered the many elemental forces around the hill, spins them into a vortex, making right the conditions for the Green Man’s return. Witnessed by both our own community and the wider community of witnesses, this powerful death and rebirth sequence binds us together in our hope and desire for renewal. He presents himself to his Queen – if he is worthy, she will accept him as her new consort.
This is just a snippet of information about the Green Man and how he has been represented by the many folk who have taken the role, and we encourage you seek out information if this topic interests you. This role is intrinsically important to our Festival and the journey of the chosen person is both solitary and social. It is as much of either as you wish it to be as you define your own process, with Blues’ support. However, we ask two things of you:
1. The Green Man is expected to be involved in actively preparing the main storyline along with the May Queen. This assists the whole Society’s vision and also the understanding of the Green Man’s journey.
2. A Green Man applicant should consider their entire journey and should be prepared to share their character vision with the society and also to share their preparation plans with the Blues and producer.
If you are considering this role but are swithering we suggest that you contact blues[at]beltane[dot]org for a chat about the role. As always, email us if you have any questions. Applicants are all individually interviewed and are selected following careful consideration. Should there be a multitude of applications we may not be able to interview all applicants.
Photo of the Green Man at Beltane 2015 by Mark Taylor