Most of us in the Northern hemisphere have at some point seen a dance around the "Maypole" on the first of May, also known as Beltane or May Day.
This ancient Gaelic tradition (also celebrated by Neopagans and Wiccans) welcomes spring and celebrates its associated fertility — as this is the time of year when new shoots of life spring forward, flowers bloom and many baby animals are born.
It is said that a dance around the Maypole was originally performed with a live tree decorated with flower garlands and ivy vines, rather than the brightly colored ribbons around plastic, metal or wooden Maypoles that we see today.
Since most of us don’t have the opportunity to dance around a traditional 20-foot Maypole this week, here’s a fun DIY craft project you can do to create your own mini-Maypole and welcome the spring. I came up with this project to share with my women’s circle as we celebrate the blossoming of spring not only in our surroundings, but also in ourselves.
Fertility comes in more forms than merely the physical — on Beltane we can celebrate our fertile minds, fertile hearts, fertile projects and fertile lives — and give thanks for what we are birthing.
Here’s how to make your own mini-Maypole, and a ceremony you can do to welcome the spring and invite new growth into your life:
1. Find a one-foot long straight stick or piece of driftwood, not more than 5-inches in diameter. You can also use a dowel rod from the hardware store.
2. Choose four colors of ribbon — spring-inspired colors such as pink, yellow, light blue and green are great choices — and cut about 2-feet of each color.
3. Either tie or use a hot glue gun to attach the ribbons to the top of the stick or dowel. You can also glue the stick to a base, such as a wooden circle from a craft store or an old saucer, or you can “plant” the Maypole in a pot or outside in the garden.
1. Declare a wish for each of the ribbons — each wish is something you are wishing to “birth” with this “fertility” ceremony:
- One ribbon represents a wish you have for yourself
- One ribbon represents a wish you have for your family/inner circle
- One ribbon represents a wish you have for the community you touch with your work
- One ribbon represents a wish you have for the world
2. Braid the ribbons around the mini Maypole while thinking about your wishes. You can also speak out loud: “Welcome (wish)” as you braid each ribbon.
3. Give thanks for what you are birthing and feel free to do a little dance of joy.
May all of your wishes grow and blossom!
Photo Credit: Stocksy