When the procession reaches the stage the May Queen opens the space, meeting the eyes of every person in the community as they enter. The whites four handmaidens of the May Queen (whites) cleanse the stage and remain at the four corners, channelling the energy of each of the four elements. The May Queen makes the third and final circle widdershins round the stage. As she steps onto the stage the heartbeat begins, shown by the drum beat of the processional drummers and the movement of the whites. The Whites channel the heartbeats of the community through their hearts and to the May Queen.
She welcomes the four elements and then signals for the Green Man to enter the stage. She begins to spin, weaving together the elements and the communities intentions for the new season to come. The Whites mirror her movement, gathering in speed, the drum beat speeds up and when the tension can no longer be borne, the Reds are released into the space. Screaming and swirling counter-clockwise around the stage, adding their own energy.
The pressure builds until the May Queen signals to the Green man that now is the time. The Green Man’s passing is done with a mutual understanding between him and the May Queen that this needs to happen for the cycle of life to continue. He submits to her as he reaches for her hand in a loving and supportive way causing him to suddenly yet peacefully die and those parts of him to pass with the darkness of winter. He shuts his eyes, and all is black.
As he hits the ground, so too do the Reds. The handmaiden Whites rise and strip the Green Man of all that was his old self, ready for what is to come. The May Queen gathers the energy from the whole community and beyond, from all the corners of the world. She breathes life back into the Green Man who awakens and dances for Her. From darkness to light he dances for joy and love and new life, a reflection of the celebration of the community gathered. His energy and joy erupts into the world. He presents himself to her and the May Queen chooses him as her consort, crowns him and together, in balance, they create summer.
Featured image by Neil Barton for Beltane Fire Society. All rights reserved.