May 10, 2024

Beltaine Reflections: Dancing in the Rain
By Holland Hook
Photos by Mike McConnell


    We gathered for a Beltaine celebration at Four Quarters, marking a splendid start to the 30th year on this land as we welcomed the warmth of spring. As nature does, it bestowed upon us a beautiful gift—the opportunity to celebrate our collective resilience and gratitude under stormy skies.

2024FriNiteA Friday evening opening.

    This year's Beltaine festival was a vivid experience held throughout a significant amount of rainfall. With wet shoes and big smiles, over 125 of us embraced the proverbial wisdom of Vivian Greene: 'Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass. It’s about learning to dance in the rain.”

    Our festivities began on Friday beside the hopeful blaze of the first Bale Fire. The Lord and Lady of Winter passed the crown on the joyous Lord and Lady of Spring, who led the crowd in a Spiral Dance. Drums beat, bells jingled, and voices sang along. The children built sandcastles between storytelling and twirling.
    Saturday morning blossomed with activities: workshops on making flower-laden bonnets, art classes for kids, and the first Sweat Lodge of the season. The vitality of the earth was palpable, as was the dampness in our socks, as our collective excitement built for the Maypole dance. Despite the persistent rain, the afternoon unfurled with ribbons, a petaled wreath, and the cherished Annual Tea Party.

2024MerchIt takes a merchant to make a village.

    The rain slowed, and the sky opened up with an offering of sunshine just as we wove ribbons under the canopy of spring. We were reminded of the enduring spirit of our community and the joy of traditions that bind us. The children tumbled and laughed in sheer excitement around their shorter ribbons at the center of the Maypole, while the adults frolicked with their intertwining ribbons, each dance step a symbol of our gratitude and unity.

2024MayPoleDancing the Maypole!

    We all savored the Beltaine feast, dining on roast beef, marinated seitan, roasted vegetables, tossed salad, hot rolls, and apple pie. Even as the evening drew a curtain of rain, our community's warmth continued. Drenched but undeterred, we gathered in the stone circle for a ceremony where we honored the role of pollinators in the dance of spring. Our shared endurance was as sweet as the honey on our fingertips, proving yet again that together, we can weather any storm.

2024MayPoleChildRoom for Babes in Arms.

    On Sunday, the children truly inspired us all as they took center stage with their joyous Seed Stone Pull and blessing. Watching their dedication as they plucked flower petals and expressed their gratitude was not only inspiring but also a profound reminder for us grown-ups. It urged us to pause and reflect more frequently on our own blessings. Their teamwork in moving the stone was a heartfelt display that not only showcased the vital importance of nurturing our young ones but also affirmed how they are indeed the bright future we strive to cultivate.

2024MayPole3It's getting tight!

    This Beltaine, we danced in the rain, not just to endure but to celebrate and grow. Together, we proved that community and gratitude are not fair-weather friends but pillars that hold us up, come rain or shine.

2024MayPole2Only the stalwarts left.

    As we look forward to another year, let us carry this spirit forward, weaving a tapestry of community and resilience, ready to dance through whatever weather the world may bring.


And the Future!