It is time for us once again to begin our search for the Green Man, who will take part in the Beltane Fire Festival 2020. We now invite those who feel an affinity to the role and feel they can work with our current May Queen, to step forward and express their interest.
You don’t have to fit an image/profile of previous Greens. Potential candidates sometimes self-deselect because they don’t feel they fit the profile for being Green based on who they’ve seen take the role in the past. This becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, as we can only select from those who step forward or are nominated.
Notes of interest should be formally submitted to blues[at]beltane[dot]org by 7pm on Friday 17 January. You’ll receive an acknowledgement of your application. Please feel free to share something short about what draws you to this character in a format you feel best expressing yourself.
In a change to previous years, it’s been decided that all applicants will only be considered if they are available in person to attend the following;
- an interview on the evenings of one of Monday 20 January, Tuesday 21 January, Wednesday 22 January
- the GO training day on Sunday (date TBC)
- the Open Meeting on Sunday 1 March
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, who could embody all that our society needs 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 agree they are a suitable candidate for the role. Nominations should be formally submitted to blues[at]beltane[dot]org by 7pm on Sunday 12 January. You’ll receive an acknowledgement of your nomination shortly thereafter.
A shortlist of between two and four individuals will be selected from all nominations who will then be interviewed individually by the Blues, board representation (see Selection Process) 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, but we can offer some context.
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 how it might have felt to attend a past celebration and to create our own connections 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 grows and reaches the height of his power during Beltane. The May Queen represents the Earth and the eternal cycling through the season, she is knowing, bears many faces, but is also timeless. She realises and arbitrates proceedings through her various agents, including the Blues, having seen the cycles repeat many times before. She needs the fresh and transient perspective of the Green Man to complete the cycle.
The Green Man grows and dies each year, and has his own wisdom through this. To some extent, the Green Man is experiencing things for the first time. He grows and learns through his process. He needs the age old wisdom of the May Queen to complete the cycle. He 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.
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.
The crucial aspect of the Green Man’s role is his death and subsequent rebirth, which facilitates the centrepiece of our ritual. The May Queen, having moved through her more destructive crone phase now remembers that even though the Green Man has transgressed his boundaries and has been killed for it, he is also learning and needs to be brought back to life for life on our planet to continue. 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 May Queen then decides whether to select The Green Man after he presents himself to his Queen – if she chooses, 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.
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. There are two aspects to the demands made on your time, this is a change from previous years;
1. Practical and Production aspects – these are fixed and are compulsory since others are dependent on them to make an effective performance.
- The Green Man should attend the Open Meeting and give an idea of their approach to the community at this time.
- A Green Man applicant should consider their entire journey carefully, and should be prepared to share their outline character vision with the society by at the second GO meeting,
- The Green Man must make their own preparation plans and share these with the Blues and Event Coordinator no later than 4 weeks prior to the event.
- The Green Man is expected to be involved in actively creating the main story-line of the festival, working closely with the May Queen to have an outline ready by the second GO meeting. This is a fundamental part of the whole Society’s vision, and the understanding of the Green Man’s journey. Our May Queen, Katie Ruth will be returning for Beltane 2019, and will be performing her vision of her own role.
- The Green Man MUST attend all of the Group Organisers meetings, this is to ensure that practical matters of production are attended to.
2. Community and Ritual aspects – these can be tailored to meet the needs of your character and story.
- The Green Man is expected to be engaged within the community, helping to spread understanding of the story-line and the festival itself. How he does this is up to him.
- This can involve (but isn’t limited to) getting involved with groups, involving them in your story line, co-creation of stories and other aspects.
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.
Your Blues & Board