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  • Writer's pictureMidwest Coven Cast

Newsletter: Beltane 2024


The Green Man peeks out from greenery on the right. On the left the Midwest Coven Cast Logo on the upper and "Beltane" under that in bubbly text

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A Beltane look at the Green Man

A common character within ancient European folklore, one who comes in a variety of styles across the many cultures of Europe, is the Green Man. He is a symbol of vitality, fertility, and the eternal cycle of life. His appearance within so much lore has made him a popular symbol and, to some, figure of worship, amongst many modern pagans and witches, particularly during the vibrant festivities of Beltane and/or May Day.

A greenery, moss, and floral bust statue interpretation of The Green Man

The Green Man, sometimes known as Jack o' the Green, embodies the spirit of nature in its rawest form. His visage, adorned with leaves and foliage, symbolizes the flourishing of life as the wheel of the year turns towards the peak of spring. In every rustle of leaves and every blooming flower, his presence is felt—a reminder of the interconnectedness between humanity and the natural world.


Beltane, celebrated on May 1st, marks the halfway point between the spring equinox and the summer solstice—a time of profound energy and renewal. As the earth awakens from its winter slumber, pagans and witches alike honor the Green Man in their rituals, invoking his essence to bless the land with fertility and abundance. At the heart of these celebrations lies a deep reverence for the cycle of life.


One of the more recognizable aspects of Beltane festivities is the Maypole dance—a joyful ritual steeped in symbolism and ancient tradition. The Maypole itself, adorned with ribbons and flowers, represents the sacred union between the masculine and feminine energies, symbolized by the phallic pole and the fertile earth beneath. As dancers weave intricate patterns around the Maypole, they invite blessings for a bountiful harvest and a fruitful year ahead. In many cultures, particularly in modern contexts, the Green Man is represented amongst the celebrants and may even dance around the pole.


Simple illustration of people dancing around a maypole.

In addition to the Maypole dance, Beltane rituals often involve the creation of floral wreaths and garlands, which are worn as symbols of vitality and renewal. These adornments, crafted from the bounty of the earth, serve as offerings to the Green Man, honoring his role as the guardian of nature's abundance. Through these rituals, pagans and witches connect with the essence of the Green Man, embracing his energy as they costume themselves in the beautiful greenery and flora of the earth.


While the Green Man is most closely associated with Beltane, his presence extends beyond the boundaries of a single day. Throughout the month of May, communities across Europe celebrate May Day—a time of merriment, revelry, and communal gatherings. In many traditions, the figure of Jack o' the Green takes center stage during these festivities, parading through the streets in a riot of greenery and song. As Jack o' the Green dances through the town, he carries with him the spirit of renewal and the promise of abundance.


In the modern world, where the rhythms of nature are often drowned out by the noise of everyday life, the celebration of Beltane and May Day offers a precious opportunity to reconnect with the earth and its cycles. Through rituals that honor the Green Man, pagans and witches reclaim a sense of belonging in the natural world, forging a deeper connection with the land and its mysteries. In the dance of the Maypole and the laughter of the May Day celebrations, the spirit of the Green Man lives on, reminding us of the eternal cycle of life, death, and rebirth that binds us all.



Beltane mindfulness exercise


An illustration of a witch with a pointed hat sitting as though meditating. There are moons or planets over either shoulder with plants creating a frame around a warm yellow circle behind the witch.
  1. Prepare Your Sacred Space: Find a quiet and peaceful outdoor area where you can sit comfortably. Bring a small altar or items that represent the elements (a candle for fire, a bowl of water, a feather or incense for air, stones or soil for earth, and something symbolic for spirit, like  a symbol of your spirituality).

  2. Invoke the Elements: Begin by acknowledging the presence of the elements. Light the candle to represent fire, place the bowl of water in front of you, hold the feather or incense to represent air, touch the stones or soil to connect with earth, and hold the symbolic item for spirit.

  3. Connect with Fire: Focus on the flame of the candle. Allow its warmth and brightness to fill you with energy and passion. Visualize the power of fire, burning away any negativity and illuminating the future.

  4. Embrace Water: Dip your fingers into the bowl of water. Feel its coolness and fluidity. Allow the gentle flow of water to wash away stress and tension, leaving you refreshed and rejuvenated. Water represents emotions and intuition, so allow yourself to be open to your feelings in the present.

  5. Sway with Air: Hold the feather or incense and feel the air around you. Notice its gentle movement and the sense of freedom it brings. Take deep breaths, inhaling the fresh air and exhaling any stress from the day. Let the element of air inspire clarity and calmness in your thoughts.

  6. Ground with Earth: Pick up the stones or soil and feel the solidity and stability of earth. Press your feet into the ground if you're outside, or simply imagine roots extending from your body into the earth below. Connect with the energy of the earth, drawing strength and resilience from its steady presence.

  7. Invoke Spirit: Hold the symbolic item for spirit and take a moment to connect with your inner self and higher consciousness. Reflect on your spiritual beliefs and sense of purpose. Invite guidance, wisdom, and harmony into your life as you align with the spiritual aspect of Beltane.

  8. Integrate and Express Gratitude: Take a few moments to integrate the energies of the elements within you. Feel their balance and harmony working together. Express gratitude to the elements, the Earth, and the spiritual realm for their presence and support in your life.


This Beltane mindfulness exercise honors the interconnectedness of all things and allows you to deeply reconnect with the elements and the Earth's energy during this sacred time.



Shadow Work: Reflections through the Green Man

An illustration of a young woman with tattoos and long reddish hair sitting with a pen in her hand. There is a journal sitting in front of her with crystals, candles, and witchy ephemera around.

Beltane is a time of fertility and growth, a celebration of life and the vibrant energy of the natural world. The Green Man, a symbol of life, death, and rebirth, is often associated with this festival. 


Reflect on aspects of your life that are ripe for growth and renewal. Consider what needs to be 'planted' or initiated at this time to bring more abundance, joy, and vitality into your life. 


How can you embody the energy of The Green Man to cultivate these qualities within yourself? 


Write about a specific goal or intention that you feel drawn to pursue with passion and vigor. 


How can you nurture this seed of intention to ensure it blossoms and bears fruit in the coming months?



Coven Coloring Club: The Green Man

Preview of the Green Man Coloring club sheet with a black and white depiction of the Green Man ready for coloring.

This beautiful coloring sheet, a creative take on The Green Man or Jack o' the Green, will be a fun activity to add to your Beltane or May Day celebrations. Color your picture, post it on socials and be sure to tag us so we can see all of your pretty, interesting, etc. work! We are on most social sites @midwestcovencast or you can use #covencoloringclub! We can't wait to see them!


Beltane Green Man Coloring
.pdf
Download PDF • 2.18MB


Southern Hemisphere Shout Out: Samhain

Header from Samhain newsletter featuring a table with skulls, candles, flowers, old photos and other macabre items, appears to be sundown. the Midwest Coven Cast logo is on the top left and a rectangle with "Samhain October 31st" to the right.

Blessed Samhain to our friends in the southern hemisphere! We hope that here at the end of your harvest season, that you have been blessed with abundance! If you would like to see how we celebrated Samhain here in the north (when it was our “turn”) and get some ideas for journaling, activities and more, you can check out our past Samhain newsletter!


Special Thanks

As always, we would like to thank our Patreon coven, particularly Steve D. and anonymous who all help make this possible. We are so incredibly greatful for your continued support!


CALENDAR

01 MAY Beltane

07 MAY New Moon (10:21pm CST)

23 MAY Full Flower Moon (8:53am CST)

06 JUNE New Moon (7:37am CST)

20 JUNE Litha 

Midsummer


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