Painting the Hill Red

The Summer is drawing to an end, but the Reds are reluctant to depart with it. Born from the same energy as the Green Man at Beltane Fire Festival, full of boundless life, vigour, and drive, they are the embodiment of the fiery energy ignited at our Summer festival. They will fight to keep that fire blazing at Samhuinn Fire Festival, wilfully facing off the winds of Winter with their love for revelry. 

Copyright Neil Barton for Beltane Fire Society. All Rights Reserved. http://www.beltane.org / http://www.facebook.com/beltanefiresociety

They approach everything with delight and wonder and very quickly develop love for everything around them. They are fit and strong and sensual. They party without ever seeing reason to stop and are yet to meet anything they cannot best or achieve. 

Copyright Vince Graham for Beltane Fire Society. All Rights Reserved. http://www.beltane.org / http://www.facebook.com/beltanefiresociety

They have played, danced, and trained all through the Summer since coming into their own on Beltane night, and believe themselves to now be so strong that the seasons no longer hold sway over them.

Copyright Bleu Hope for Beltane Fire Society. All Rights Reserved. http://www.beltane.org / http://www.facebook.com/beltanefiresociety

As Winter’s forces sweep across the Hill and wipe out the Summer King’s followers, the Reds are dismayed at the thought of being left alone with the cold season’s creatures. They draw on their last reserves from Summer to put on an immense display of strength, flying through the air and becoming more sure of themselves than ever.

Copyright Neil Barton for Beltane Fire Society. All Rights Reserved. http://www.beltane.org / http://www.facebook.com/beltanefiresociety

The Reds will be reborn next Beltane, but for now they must make way for a new period so the cycle of seasons can continue. It is up to the Cailleach, the Kings, and the observing creatures of Winter to put them at last to rest. Like the sunset, the Reds sink in a burst of dramatic colour – no fading, burning out, or crawling away, but a life lived to its fullest and brightest to the last.

Samhuinn Fire Festival takes place on Wednesday 31st October on Calton Hill from 7pm. Tickets are available from Tickets Scotland.

Featured image by Vince Graham for Beltane Fire Society. All rights reserved.

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