Beltania: a Maypole travelogue

Categories: Events

The annual weekend-long celebration of ancient May Day traditions left attendees refreshed and rejuvenated -- and exhausted from a weekend of running around in the sun and dancing around a fire at night. Maybe that's a paradox, but if you attended the "20 Laws of Magic" workshop, you'd know this: "If it's a paradox, it's probably true." At any rate, there was a lot going on; here are some snapshots of the weekend as it happened.

My time off actually started on Wednesday, making it down to Florence Mountain Park -- a little over a two-hour drive -- by 9:30 Wednesday morning. After setting up camp, the first order of business was to help out the erection crew. (And there were just as many jokes about that phrase as you'd expect.) We got picked to dig permanent fire pits for the festival. There were eight of them scattered throughout the campsite -- with three of us digging -- and it was very hard work.

The Wild Meadow fire pit had some extra work involved -- smoothing out the area around the pit -- because this was the site of the all-night drumming and dancing around the fire, and nobody likes dancers with sprained ankles.

There were five different camping areas, ranging from family-friendly to eighteen-and-up segments of the camp. We pitched our tent in the Wild Meadow, which was adults-only, with no quiet hours and all-night drumming. It was steeper and rockier than some of the other camping areas, with some cacti to avoid on the ground, but the vista from the front of the tent was worth the hike.

After digging the fire pits, helping with the main canopy at the Center of the Universe (the central hub of the festival; also a nod to Einstein) and tying ribbons along the road toward Beltania, a trip to the Dakota Hot Springs was in order for a soak and a shower.

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Great people, beautiful ceremony, connecting with the energy of the Earth, celebrating springtime, what could be better! This year was an incredible experience for me, it's such an amazing place that it feels like entering a whole different world of peace and beauty. And concerts under the stars to top it all off. It's like the best of a Celtic festival, a Ren Faire, Metaphysical Fair, and Lollapalooza rolled into one. So cool to see the new agers and Rainbow gathering people right there alongside the neo-Pagans and yoga practitioners and Native Americans and eco-spiritualists and goth kids, yuppies and hippies, babies and grandparents all as one tribe with the Maypole in the center.


Good times indeed! Thanks for chronicling the weekend!!

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