Beltane Fire Society

Introducing: Lore

Copyright Jasper Schwartz for Beltane Fire Society  All Rights Reserved / Beltane is a ceremony held on Calton Hill in the City of Edinburgh every year on April 30th during which participants come together to celebrate the coming of spring through a number of different rituals based around the narrative of The May Queen and the Green Man, a narrative of the change and the rebirth of new life that Spring represents. Organized by The Beltane Fire Society, the event draws thousands of spectators with it's pageantry. For more information on this image or to contact the photographer: For more information on this image or to contact the photographer:

Today we want to introduce a very exciting new Beltane project (that needs your help!), with a message from its founder:

Lore is our traditions, group knowledge, known skills and our stories. Lore is our collective understanding of who, and what, we are. Lore is a project aimed at embracing a new way of gathering and sharing that knowledge.

Currently Lore is just one person – working away on getting the bare minimum of information into a searchable, categorisable and cross-linkable format.  I’d love to enlist the enthusiasm and knowledge of our membership and those who’ve come and gone from the society to create a trove of knowledge about Beltane Fire Society – from the origins of our festival, to what kind of material is best for cloaks, and everything in between. 

This is meant as an insiders’ knowledge base and, as such, will aim to contain types of information that are useful, interesting and relevant to us.  If someone is new to Beltane, they will (eventually) be able to trawl through pages about the history of the society and get a wider idea of what’s going on around them.  If you’ve been around a long time and want to know where a particular drum pattern came from, which techniques you can use to create a great mask, and who the Green Man was in 2003 – these are all types of information we’d like to have available.

Currently what is available is very limited due, in part, to spotty availability of records. Over the next few months you may get a survey or questionnaire asking if you can fill in what you remember, aimed at scooping up the general mass knowledge that the united amoeba of BFS shares. Any information you can provide will be useful to this process.  For those with deeper knowledge – for example, those who’ve participated as court or group organisers over the years – you may find a more in-depth questionnaire arrives on your electronic doormat.  This will be aimed at finding out about how groups have been run over the years, and will give you the opportunity to write a little something about your group and record it for posterity. If you could keep the project in mind as you go along on your Beltane journeys this year, it would be greatly appreciated.

If you know lore and legends of old, I want your stories. If you are skilled at crafting, I want your knowledge. If you have the drums of the festivals ingrained into your soul, I want your beats. If there is anything BFS-related you are interested in, and you’d be up for collecting and sharing that information, then please get in touch. You don’t need to have great writing skills – we can support people who would prefer to give their information verbally. If you’re into art and want to bring that into the mix then fabulous! If you want to contribute and don’t have anything specific in mind, but could spend some time gathering information or scribing, for example, then please get in touch as there are always little bits to do! 


Photo by Neil Barton for Beltane Fire Society.