IT'S the festival that heralds the start of the summer and if Beltane 2009 is anything to go by it's going to be a hot one. The Beltane Fire Festival, which takes place every year on Calton Hill as April turns to May, lit the sacred fires of summer in front of 11,000 revellers last night.
The May Queen started the summer by evoking all four elements – air, earth, water and fire – before banishing the horned-god of winter and bringing forth her consort the Green Man to breathe new life into the Earth.
The festival is renowned for its lustful atmosphere as this year's May Queen and Green Man proxies Fenella Hodgson and Rupert Smith found out when their three-month-old son Reuben was conceived on the night of Beltane 2008.
It's enough to make any mother want to lock up her daughters . . . .
No, it's not. Pagan mothers may v well be happy if their daughters have sex on Beltane. Protected sex, yes, unless the daughter wants to conceive. It's like writing an article about catholic confession and saying, "Of course, most parents don't want some creepy old guy in a skirt sitting in the dark and making their kids feel guilty for having sexual feelings." It's not true. That is what (at least some) catholic parents do want.
Pagans believe that sex is good, sex is holy, magical sex makes the world fertile and happy and good. We don't think that locking up our daughters is good, or holy, or makes the world fertile and happy and good.
And, of course, no mention of fathers locking up their sons. Ever.
I'm a woman, a Witch, a mother, a grandmother, an eco-feminist, a gardener, a reader, a writer, and a priestess of the Great Mother Earth. Hecate appears in the
Homeric Ode to Demeter, which tells of Hades who caught Persophone
"up reluctant on his golden car and bare her away lamenting. . . . But no one, either of the deathless gods or of mortal men, heard her voice, nor yet the olive-trees bearing rich fruit: only tenderhearted Hecate, bright-coiffed, the daughter of Persaeus, heard the girl from her cave . . . ."