Beltane: The Honey Month of Festivals!


[Editor’s Note: This article references Beltane events in the Maryland and Virginia]

For many Pagans one of the most beloved holy times of the year is May, when we celebrate a rebirth of the land and the beauty of spring with the festivities of Beltane. These ancient celebrations, would last through the month, but like many Pagan holidays, became forbidden around the 16th century. Many Pagans have since reclaimed the sacred rites of the bale fire and you can now find a wide variety of Beltane festivals in America and Europe. Beltane, at its very roots throughout Central Europe, was a celebration of sexual freedom. If you ever wondered why June is traditionally the month for weddings, you can find the answer stems back to May and Beltane; marriages would be put on hold to honor the fertility rites, with bonds and handfasting’s commencing in June.

Bale FireHistorically, communities would gather together for fertility blessings of the land by coupling in acts of sympathetic magic in groves and freshly sown fields. Any child born of these “greenwood marriages” was a merry begot child of the Goddess and God, said to be the healthiest of the tribe and the highest honor to the Gods and in blessing the crops. One element that many are familiar with that remained a tradition after the banning of Beltane is the celebration of May Day and Maypole, were maidens dance merrily around the towering phallus. Today, you can still see this ancient tradition practiced at many spring festivals, but you will always find me lingering far away from the Maypole dancing and its fertile potency. Many have experienced its effectiveness, knowingly and some unknowingly, in bestowing Goddess blessed babies 9 months later. I did not even need a Maypole dance to have my very own Beltane blessed baby. The Maypole fertility dance is a source of pregnancy jokes among modern Pagans.

I have truly been blessed by the Goddess in my life for the past six years, not with more babies, but with 2 very amazing Beltane communities. As a young Pagan what I wanted and dreamed of most were experiences that reclaimed the sexually liberated rites of the old ways. A tribe of people committed to those sacred sympathetic magical acts under the trees, in the fields and around the bale fires. The manifestation of my prayers came a decade later with the discovery and involvement in 2 very wonderful yet uniquely different festivals; Turtle Hill Events (THE) Beltane and Blue Ridge Beltane. For me, May is truly the honey month and the highlight of my year.

The first of the two festivals is THE Beltane in Darlington, MD, always held the first weekend of May at Ramblewood. This festival has been a tradition for over 12 years and is a thriving adult community of sensual and spiritual exploration, BDSM and kink. The possibilities for celebrating your sexuality are abundant with workshops, cuddle parties, pole dancing, frolicking around the maypole, sacred sexuality rituals, a sensual feast, fire & drumming and a well-equipped indoor dungeon.

BeltaneAt THE Beltane I am honored to coordinate and host the Scarlet Den, during the day we hold sacred womyn’s space with a Red Tent, we also host a different event each night,  this year events include: a cabaret, an exhibitionist club with pole dancing and a ritual devoted to the sacred whore. Ramblewood is a beautiful, well maintained land with cabins, hot showers, a dining hall, a pool (seasonally and weather permitting), a labyrinth and golf cart taxis to get you around with ease.

When you Google Beltane and sexuality the first link you will find is THE Beltane’s website and very few other events will even be listed, as it is truly one of a kind. I am so honored to be a part of this yearly festival as it holds spirituality and sexuality in its mission like no other festival I have attended or even heard of yet. If it is your desire to align with a tribe that believes that Beltane should be a time to celebrate the sacred and profane and you want to experience a festival that truly knows what that Maypole is all about, you will find this and so much more at THE Beltane.

Blue Ridge BeltaneSix years ago I was approached by one of the Event Planners for Blue Ridge Beltane (BRB) and asked if I might be interested in running their adult only, sacred sexuality tent at the festival held in mid-May. Six years later, I am so very glad I said yes and am filled with so much gratitude for this community’s inclusion of sacred sexuality and how they push the boundaries of what can be achieved in a family friendly environment. For over 15 years, Blue Ridge Beltane has been a tradition in the mountains of Virginia, a tight knit collective of Pagan folks that are very welcoming to newcomers, and it shows as each year the number of attendees grows.

I am always so impressed with warrior spirit that runs through BRB’s  planning committees veins, with the struggle of conservative southern mindsets pushing from the outside and the family-friendly nature of the festival. For the last 8 years the planning committee has stood strong in upholding an adult-only, sacred sexuality space at the event. Though challenges have appeared more then a few times, they have not waivered. The Inner Sanctum Village is a place that adults of any gender identity and sexual preference can enjoy themselves and feel comfortable.

Inner SanctumI am so honored to be a Coordinator for the Inner Sanctum and always feel so inspired year after year with how the community embraces the experience we create and how we have grown. We do a lot of spiritual work with boundaries and consent in workshops and ritual.  We also have our fun with a themed cabaret, where every attendee has a chance to strut their stuff and find their exhibitionist groove. This is truly one of the rare events where you can enjoy a family friendly Beltane with workshops, rituals, fire & drumming, live music and adult only sexual adventures on a budget!

This blog may sound like I am tooting my own horn and well, frankly I am because it is a fabulous horn to toot! Beltane and May are the perfect months to dig yourself out of the winter lulls and slip into something more sensual, awaken your lower chakra, bliss out on sexual liberation and frolic with the fay in the woods. So if you don’t have any plans for May, I just wanted to let you know where the juiciest Beltane festivities are happening. Blessed Be!

Dirty Mother

Denise “Dirty Mother” Cumor is a Priestess, Educator & Facilitator of The Red Tent, who defies the patriarchal paradigm by following her own intuitive path, through creative expression and her commitment to womyn’s empowerment in the arts & history of sexuality and divine feminine worship. Experiences that have strengthened her commitment: Clerk at the feminist/ lesbian 31st St Book Store in Baltimore, working as a Dancer for 4 years on Baltimore’s infamous ‘Block;’ teaching OB-GYN protocol & techniques to medical students with Johns Hopkins; a decade of costume design in Baltimore, directing & acting in various productions of the Vagina Monologues; A 3 year purgatory as a corporate Event Planner, Event Coordinator & Sex Educator for the Spiral Dance Women’s Center, vending, facilitating & educating in the Red Tent for 7 years in the mid-Atlantic Pagan community, Coordinator for The Scarlet Den at THE Beltane & The Inner Sanctum at Blue Ridge Beltane. She has been making music and writing poetry for over 20 years, her current musical project is Red Wound. Creating art, music and sacred space for womyn has been her joy and salvation.

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1 Response

  1. Suzanne says:

    Dirty Mother you are amazing and inspirational! I have been honored to know you a bit and learn from your strength, integrity and joy! I will miss seeing you this year. But look forward to a dance in 2016. Much love.

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