Calan Mai

Calan Mai or Beltane, is a festival for the beginning of May according to the calendar. But the calendar has changed so I’ve always adjusted my sense of when the festival should be celebrated to match the season as it actually is in Nature and also to celebrate it during the period of the month when the Moon is waxing. The key natural sign is the emergence of may blossom on the hawthorn trees. In the past this often led me to a date quite late in the month, but more recently the seasons are shifting to an earlier date as the climate warms.

This year the hawthorns have been in blossom in some places since the warm spell in April. But the flower buds remain closed on the hawthorn behind my shrine, being a little higher up than those along the valley which are in full bloom. I’ve been biding my time before the final act of transforming the shrine : the annual re-painting of the white horse for Rhiannon’s ride from Annwn. After the warm spell we had  Storm Hannah. Flower petals were strewn across the garden, including some sprigs of not quite open may blossom, some of which I gathered around the shrine.

I have decided to do my rite of welcoming on 5th May, the day after the New Moon. But to paint the horse for Mayday itself, which I have now done. I’ve also celebrated the date with a walk in some bluebell woods and returned to light a green candle to mark the day. Now I will mark the time until New Moon after which I will celebrate the return of Rhiannon , bringing her Otherworld magic into our world once again.

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