Photo taken by Nathan Pritchard.
Brilliant, exhausting, moving, irritating, inspiring, wonderful: I could slather on a full coating of adjectives, but will quit while the plain bread of creative writing remains unsoggy and relatively crisp!
I have met up with friends both old and new: Sue and Stuart (of Silent Eye fame) who stayed with me all weekend (lovely); Diana and Kevin (both part of last year’s Leaf and Flame weekend); Morgana West; the cast of ‘In the Shadow of the Tor’ (most of whom also got stuck in to one or more of the Beltane events) and many other local people I have come to know and, in the main, like.
Facebook is not short of images of the events, so I won’t labour that pictorial point by reproducing them all on here, other than thanking Nathan Pritchard (whose photo of the Saturday drama ritual I have used on here).
There couldn’t have been a greater contrast between Sunday and Monday, the former apparently trying to recreate at least the beginnings of Ye Great Flood; the latter sunny and bright and warm and winsome in the extreme!
Saturday, Shadow of the Tor’s first performance took place in the Assembly Rooms and was extremely well received. Because I was in it, and thus cannot be truly objective, I am not going to formally review it. Suffice it to say that the audience responded with great enthusiasm, we all entered into the atmosphere of excitement of a shared venture and have bonded tightly as a result. Congratulations to Brad Crowley and Francis Oliver for bringing it to life.
I tried to immerse myself in as much of Beltane as I possibly could, this being my first time in Avalon. Beltane Virgin, as you might say (and I just did), though mainly from memory! I watched the lighting of the Unity Candle; listened to the delightful singing of the Free Avalonian State Choir; danced with maidens young and old whilst waiting for the Morris to arrive; watched as the Green Men, horns and leaves aplenty, hefted the Maypole out from the Assembly Rooms and, from there, down to the Market Cross and then up, up, up to the Tor. I saw many splendid costumes, witnessed great good will and jollity; heard the cheering of the masses as they witnessed the plaiting of the Maypole ribbons and the rituals associated with this ancient custom – and watched a town come together for celebration and acknowledgement of that essential Glastonbury spirit.
There are little videos on YouTube of parts of the whole thing. Feel free to ferret amongst them for more information, colour and Beltane vibes!
As for me, I am hugely tired – but also feel honoured to have played a part in this, my first experience of community Beltane. Most of all though, I am thrilled to have met so many wonderful, and special, people during the past four months – and to have played, acted and laughed with some of them during this weekend.
Roll on the Summer Solstice!