Greetings, Good People, and Welcome! The Beltane Pageant is about to begin. Lend us your eyes, your ears, and your imaginations and heed these words closely: This year’s pageant is performed in the round, and you--fair audience--shall be a part of the magic and the choreography. Rest your weary Zoomed-out eyes upon the dancers but do not settle your bottoms too comfortably, for you shall all be turned around and about as though witnessing the very cycle of the seasons.
“Behold here the Spring Palace of the May Court--home of the Green Man. And to your right (the stone circle) the Stone Circle of Summer--home to Golden Goddess of the Sun. Behind you, (in the trees), witness the flight of the Ancient Dragon--as she soars above the Autumn Wood. And to your left (the aerial fly stage), the Winterlands--where lonely Old Man Winter is King. Let us take in this ritual theatre, and participate to help bring around the change in seasons again.
“Ah! The first signs of Spring are in the air. The wee Fae Folk have come to grace us with their gifts of Snowy May and warm the ground with these springtime blossoms! Oh, such dancing! Thank you, fairies.
"And now! As is tradition every year, our new King and Queen shall be crowned, the Green Man will awaken, and spring shall begin anew . . ."
Ah, but dear audience--the story of Beltane is never so simple… Here, our tale begins...
Before the Coronation could commence, Princess Lily, sister of the Queens, spoke out: ‘My sisters, STOP. Something is amiss! Do you not feel the strange current in the air? The way that time has warped and frozen. I feel that we have lost something … But my mind is sluggish, as though vines have twisted and crept through my memories, freezing them in place. My soul feels wrapped in a cocoon--bound so tightly I can scarcely breathe. Can’t you feel the wrongness of it all?’
Queen Stella & Lady Fiona called back: ‘Sweet sister! What are you saying? Spring is here! Nothing is amiss! Ignore these silly notions and come, let us rejoice and celebrate the May as we have done EVERY YEAR.’
But princess Lily knew in her bones that they were wrong. She felt out of place. Misunderstood. Shunned. Something was not right in the world and she needed to find answers. She looked out into the distance and saw a glittering palace of ice and snow. Called by instinct--she reached out.... her soul burst open like a snow bird, to the Spirits of Winter! They came to her, and swept her into their world. . .
As the snow flurries drifted away, the May Court awoke to find their beloved sister missing! They raged and mourned until--amidst the chaos--sweet, noble Prince Owen spoke up.
‘Perhaps we should have listened to Princess Lily. I, too, feel as if a creeping fog has settled over our memories. Now is not the time to rage, it is the time to search, look deeper, and trust our inner wisdom. Go, my Fairy Court. I will stay and do my best to guard this Palace in your absence. Find Princess Lily--and when you do, listen to what she has to say.’
And so Queen Stella, Lady Fiona, and the Queen’s Guard set out to find their sister.
They travelled from Spring into the sweltering heat and golden shores of Summer. Here, the SummerDancers welcomed them with open arms . . .and with dance.
As the midsummer revels ended, Queen Fiona spoke up: ‘Please, my friends. We are looking for our Sister. Have you seen her pass this way?’ And the SummerDancers pondered a moment and then called to their mother--the Golden Goddess of the Sun, to share her wisdom. The Sun Goddess smiled warmly upon the May Court and said, ‘We have not seen your sister, but a chill wind passed this way not long ago and rustled the leaves of autumn. Go search the Autumn Wood for the answers you seek.’
The May Court arrived in the crisp, chilly Forests of Autumn and were soon greeted by a curious group of helpful creatures...
First, from the shadows, prowled three ferocious cats: A tiger, a cheetah, and a bobcat. They circled Lady Fiona, stretching their claws and snapping their teeth. ‘Have you seen my sister?’ asked the princess. ‘No’ they nodded. ‘We have not seen your sister.’ And into the shadows they returned.
Next, through the leaves, appeared two sly foxes. They scampered about the princess, who asked again: ‘Have you seen my sister?’ ‘No,’ they nodded. ‘We have not seen your sister.’ And into the leaves they returned.
Then, ever so slowly, from the roots and bark of the trees, crawled a turtle and ladybug. Slowly, slowly, they circled the princess, who asked again. ‘Have you seen my sister?’ ‘No,’ was their reply. ‘We have not seen your sister.’ And into the woods they disappeared.
The May court looked around in dismay until, from overhead, a tiny baby dragon soared! He circled their heads and stretched his tiny dragon wings as wide as they could go. ‘Baby Dragon!’ called Fiona ‘Have you seen my sister?’
And the baby dragon landed and said, ‘No, I have not seen your sister . . . BUT! I bet my mama has!’ And all the little animal spirits jumped about in excitement and flew circles about the May Court, journeying to the home of the Ancient Dragon.’
‘Oh! Ancient One, have you seen my sister?’ And the great beast spoke, ‘Yes, my child, your sister passed this way not long ago, answering the icy call of Winter. My animal children will point you to the gates of the Winter Palace. Tread lightly and care for each other -- for something is wrong in this land that must be fixed.’
The animals pointed them to Winter and waved goodbye before disappearing back into the autumn wood.
Soon they arrived at the freezing gates of Winter and found, to their dismay, Princess Lily sitting on a throne beside the Winter King himself! The Queen’s Guard readied for a fight as the Winter Minions formed a line of defense!
‘Stop!’ Princess Lily called out. ‘Listen to me, my sisters. These beings are not our enemies. I have found the home I need and the answers I sought. Please... listen to my friend, the Wise Old Man Winter.’
And Old Man Winter Spoke: ‘To the Spring, I am not always warm and welcome, but this year, I promise I am your friend. All the world has faced a common enemy--an enemy we could not see, an enemy that froze us in time for a whole year. Last spring, there was no awakening of the Green Man, no coronation, no Old Man Winter to fight! As I speak these words, your Spring Palace is being consumed by the vines of wilful ignorance and… forgetting . . .’ And the May Court looked back to their home and saw, with dismay, that the Winter King’s words were true! Poor Prince Owen valiantly battled the evil plague all alone!
Old Man Winter spoke agaon, "That, my friends, is our enemy, and it is rotten to the core. Had our story followed it’s traditional path, last May, Lady Fiona would have sat upon the Throne. Today, she would have borne the title Queen of YesterMay and passed the Flowered Crown to Princess Lily. But nature did not follow the course we expected. And you, Fairy Court, were held, as though in a chrysalis, unaware of the unfolding chaos around you. Princess Lily was the only one who could see clearly through the creeping fog. My Winter Spirits and I have searched a long, long time to find a leader like her. And, as the world transformed around us all, a new story shaped itself for Princess Lily. She will never be a Queen of May--but instead a Queen of Winter. I am an old, foddy, white beard. She is my Queen now, and I bow to her grace and wisdom . . .’
The Winter King places a crown on her head. As Lily stepped into her role as the Winter Queen, she spoke. ‘My dear sisters, let our two seasons unite. Only through our union can we lift the foul fog and pull the rotten weeds. I can think of no stronger bond than the love between sisters to help us heal this world. Hand-in-hand the three sisters and their fierce guardians travelled back to the palace to unseat the Creeping Vines of Ignorance and Forgetting and save Prince Owen!"
And so they did!
And now, good people, we may truly crown the King and Queen of May.
At long last, let us present the King Owen & Queen Fiona of this, and Yester- May. The fog has lifted. The Green Man has awoken and spring has come at last!