A Call for our Eighth May Queen

The Earth is Stirring… and it is time to find our next May Queen. Read on for details on the role, the process and how to find out more.

  • Key Dates
  • The Growing Light
  • A New Cycle
  • The May Queen
  • The Call
  • Full details of the selection process

Key Dates

For the whole community:

  • Virtual High Tea (see details of what this is below) – 4pm on 17th January 2021
  • Nominations due by 5pm on 2nd February 2021

For those considering becoming May Queen:

  • May Queen candidates free for information gathering / chats some time arranged between 1st to 6th February 2021
  • May Queen free for all Green Man interviews between 22nd to 25th and the 28th February 2021

The Growing Light

In the most unusual of years, though the longest night has passed, and from the depths of midwinter a new summer is promised by Beltane, the beginning of summer. Because we cannot come together, there is a yearning for the richness and life that awaits us as we pray for a return to normality.

Our familiar Festival Beltane AND a potential new festival.

The growth and life of the coming springtime reminds, even in these dark times, of the fertility of the Earth, on which all of our lives ultimately.

While Beltane must be virtually celebrated, as soon as we can meet, we will celebrate the next festival we can prepare for, even if it is not a festival we have celebrated before.

A New Cycle

Our quarter-day festivals honour the Earth and its cycles of life, death, and rebirth, using the changes of the moon and season to draw attention to the spirals of change in our own lives, as patterns and changes that echo the greater whole.

The growth and life of the coming springtime reminds us of the fertility of the Earth, on which all of our lives ultimately depend. This is powerfully symbolised on Beltane night by the bonfire, where the material of the Earth combines with the energy of the Sun to create something new: the fire, a symbol of the life that combines and transcends them both.

Our bonfire is a symbol of life and transformation, and is lit each year by a personification of the Earth, who has herself undergone a process of transformation. One tale has it that, around Imbolc, the old Cailleach crone casts her staff into the earth, and becomes a mountain; and on Beltane night, the Goddess is born anew out of the mud, blooming like a flower in a maiden form, as the May Queen.

The May Queen

The May Queen, with the fire She carries, is at the heart of Beltane, Her festival. She leads Her procession around the Hill, gathering the elements in preparation for the coming transformation. Although newly-awakened and with pure intent, she carries the wisdom of the Earth’s endless cycles, and pushes forward the wheel of change, trusting that all unfolds as it should. As She journeys, She is the focus of the festival, uniting the diverse aspects of the festival and community and gathering them all together to witness the transformation of the season.

As the central figure of our Beltane festival, the May Queen has a unique role in the Beltane Fire Society. She is many different things to many people across our community, and the description here is just one interpretation.

In the 33 year history of the Society, only seven people have held the role, each one passing it on to the next. The May Queen should plan to stay and develop in the role for 3 (or hopefully more) years.

The Call

It is therefore with great excitement that we open this call for our eighth May Queen who would be involved in a virtual manner for Beltane 2021 (due to restrictions on physical gatherings). Also, for the first time, and if the planet allows us, we will celebrate the next nearest physical festival before Samhuinn on the wheel of the year, with the main physical role in this festival being passed to the May Queen role holder.

For clarity, recruitment for Samhuinn will go on as normal, since Samhuinn has such a different energy to the lighter part of the wheel of the year.

Nominees – including those nominating themselves – are welcome from all members of our community.

To further explore these qualities, the Selection Committee will hold an online high tea at 4pm on 17th January 2021 to hear from the community what they would like to see in a May Queen. Please note that this meeting will not be to discuss the merits of particular individuals; its aim is to inform what we as a community are looking for in a holder of the role – please join us if you have anything you would like to contribute.

These attributes will not be exhaustive, and the chosen person will have broad scope to interpret the role as they define their own process; however, as the central character and figurehead of our community, we expect that:

  • The May Queen will be involved in actively creating the main storyline of the festival, along with the Green Man. This is a key to the whole Society’s vision, and the understanding of the May Queen’s journey.

Anyone considering accepting a nomination should take time to think about their entire journey, plan to stay in role for at least 3 years while understanding that growing into the role is a creative process. The May Queen should be prepared to engage with the Whites in a leadership capacity, by both supporting the White GO’s and the group, from a deep understanding White role. The May Queen should expect to share their evolving vision of their role with the society, and their preparation plans with the Blues and Event Coordinator. They should attend weekly GO meetings when we have our next physical festival and be able to attend 1 day of the GO weekend, plus the open meeting to share their vision for the role.

Applications from people of all gender-identities, physical abilities, ages, races and socio-economic statuses are welcome. The potential to embody Her is the essential quality we seek in our next May Queen.

Nominations should be emailed to the Blues at blues [at] beltane [dot] org with the subject heading ‘May Queen’, giving the nominee’s name, contact details (if available/appropriate), and anything else you wish to add. Nominations will close at 5pm on Tuesday 2nd February 2021.

If you are considering nominating someone, including yourself, but have further questions, or simply want to talk about the role is and entails, don’t hesitate to contact the Blues for a confidential chat.

The Process

You can view full details on the selection process here. For any questions about the process, please contact the Board at board [at] beltane [dot] org.

We look forward to welcoming our next May Queen!

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