A Message From The May Queen

Copyright Anna Chaney for Beltane Fire Society. All Rights Reserved.

This year I will embody the May Queen for the second time.

The May Queen is the ‘maiden’ or ‘lover’ aspect of the Triple Goddess, a entity found through the mythologies of many cultures. She is a presence at Beltane, the quarter day that marks the transition of spring to summer. To me, and many, she is an embodiment of the wild Earth itself. 

As winter comes to a close the Cailleach, our crone aspect, casts her staff to the ground and becomes a mountain; stoney cliff face and scree slope. On Beltane night as we prepare to usher in the warmer months, the May Queen is born of this same earth. She rises and guides the changing of the seasons, uniting with the Green Man in a celebration of cleansing fire, vitality, and new life.

As we begin to look forward to our Beltane festival, here are some thoughts. Inspired by a call to commemorate the people, mainly women, murdered in Scotland as witches, the grievous rift capitalism has created between humans, our own bodies, and nature, and in the great tradition of May Queens past: a poem, of sorts…

When witches were murdered

Here in Scotland,

These folk

Who did things differently

That the burgeoning capitalist patriarchy

Deemed it time to stop,

This should have been a crime.

It spoke of prejudice and hierarchy,

Echoing through the ages

As brutal violence

Against those who are ‘other’,

Those that need silenced.

And now here we simmer

In a system

That commodifies our limbs,

That turned procreation

Into a means of capitalist accumulation,

Sanisiting cyclical bleeding,

Relegating women to breeding.

This is not the system we need now.

While giant multinationals

Poison land and children alike,

And indigenous cultures

Are overwritten

With a violence committed

Not just by paper and pen,

The seasons still do flow.

Those that honour them know

That our climate is changing.

Sea levels are rising and

Flowers bloom too early;

Facts ignored

By those in power,

Whilst profits grow

Hour on hour.

An alternative is a reframing;

An outright stand.

A healing of this rift between

Humans and other humans,

Humans and the land.

We can be part of a system

Of dynamic stability,

Where we are valued for existing

Rather than our ability

To make more and more money,

Lives spun like tragi-comedy…

So much sad

And so little funny.

Here we can stand:

Using art as protest,

Honouring the oddities,

Sharing celebration without the purchase

Of disposable commodities

Seeing our land

Not as a resource to bleed

And auction,

But as complex and as living

As we believe ourselves to be.

When the gnarled Hawthorn

Shares her white blooms,

She is at once years old

and also a day.

In these blossoms,

Gentle whispers of May,

We sense echoes of time:

The journey of the triple goddess,

Our seasonal paradigm.

She who walks the changes:

The mother of the harvest

Who knows what it is to call frost ‘cross the land,

The winter crone

Who knows the feel of spring in her step,

And the May lover

Who already kens the feel of a child’s paw in her hand.

She is a contradiction; dynamic stability.

She is a force to be reckoned with.

And she reckons

That all acts to be slow

And recognise our place in this great turning machine,

This land and sea and sky and more

(ourselves?)

That can be wilded,

As we share less austerity

And more solidarity,

When we come together

In common interest,

Sow seeds through division lines,

And remember that we live only

In relational existence

To those around us,

We are on our way.

Copyright Anna Chaney for Beltane Fire Society. All Rights Reserved.

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