Beltane Fire Society

Calling our next Green Man for Beltane 2018

Dear Beltaners,

It is time for us once again to begin our search for the Green Man, who will take part in the Beltane Fire Festival 2018.  We now invite those who feel drawn to the role, to step forward and express their interest.

Notes of interest should be formally submitted to blues at beltane dot org by 7pm on Saturday 3rd February 2018: you’ll receive an acknowledgement of your application shortly thereafter. Please feel free to share something short about what draws you to this character in a format you feel best expressing yourself.

All applicants MUST be available for:

We would also like to invite the BFS community to submit the names of any members that they would like to nominate for the role of Green Man. Perhaps you know someone whom you feel would be perfect, embodying all that our society looks for in a Green Man – but who has not stepped forward themselves, for whatever reason.  Any member of the society may make a recommendation for Green Man, to the Blues; the nominee may then be approached to have a chat about their willingness and availability to enter into the selection process if the Blues feel they are a suitable candidate for the role. Nominations should be formally submitted to blues at beltane dot org by 7pm on Saturday 27th January: you’ll receive an acknowledgement of your nomination shortly thereafter.

A shortlist of between 2 and 4 individuals will be selected from all nominations who will then be interviewed individually by the Blues, a representative from the Board and the May Queen, with the final selection being made following careful consideration.

What is the role of the Green Man?

We cannot completely define this for you. Each Green Man has their own journey, their own story to spin – but we can offer some contextual thoughts.

The Beltane Fire 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 performance art piece and practice in 1988, it has become a central focus for our community, bringing people together to acknowledge and celebrate the birth of Summer and the fertility of the land.

The purpose of our festival is not to recreate ancient practices, but to honour the spirit of our ancient forebears, whilst creating our own connection to the cycles of nature. There is a great deal of joy and the revelry fostered in the ritual: it is about casting off the darkness and celebrating the light. A time for celebrating fertility, both in the context of our biology as well as our creative energies, forming 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 the festivities. Some aspects change from year to year, but certain elements are fixed and are repeated: one of these is the Green Man and his journey. In the context of the Beltane Fire 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 defined by our relationship (or lack thereof) with it, by how we interact with nature, and by the way it behaves and responds. Central to our relationship with the earth are the cycles of the seasons, the constant flux and flow of life, the continuous change from one state to another. Our Green Man is a living embodiment of the earth’s cyclical nature: a character who appears all over the world, common across many different cultures throughout human history.  As global location changes, so does the name, the personality, and traits – all being particular to that culture’s manifestation of the Green Man. But always present is the human need to represent the interdependent nature of the relationship between our species and the natural world.

The crucial aspect of the Green Man’s role is his death and subsequent rebirth, which provides the centrepiece of our ritual. The May Queen, having gathered the many elemental forces around the hill, spins them into a vortex, creating the right 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. The Green Man then presents himself to his Queen – if he is worthy, she will accept him as her new consort.

This is just a brief introduction to the history and concept of the Green Man, and how the role has been represented by the many folk who have performed it. We encourage you seek out more information if the subject interests you; the role is fundamentally important to our festival and the community.

Expectations

The journey of the chosen person is both solitary and social; it is up to you to decide on this balance as you define your own process, with the support of the Blues. However, we ask two things of you:

If you are considering stepping forward for this role but are wavering, or simply looking for more info, we’d like to encourage you to contact blues at beltane dot org for a chat.

Details about this process can be found within the Green Man Selection Process – Beltane 2018 document.

Thank you,

Your Blues & Board

Image of Beltane 2017’s Green Man is by Mark Taylor for Beltane Fire Society.