Sunday, May 1, 2011


Today is the 1st of May, Beltane. Over the past few days I have been reading a few books together, these two... and also David Louv's Last Child in the Woods

Louv talks about helping our children connect with nature. For him (and also me) this is about encouraging and permitting lots and lots of outdoor, unstructured playtime in nature. I feel that by paying attention to our local flora, fauna, weather and seasons we will help forge a strong and respectful link between the children (and ourselves) and the natural world in which we live.

I have found that the ancient celebrations like Ostara and Beltane are lovely ways to do this. Sadly many of these celebrations are being lost as celebrations and festivals generally become swallowed by commercialism and consumerism. However, there are still some great resources out there. I picked up the book above, Celebrating the Great Mother, as a bit of an impulse buy, but I'm glad I did; it has some lovely ideas for celebrating the more ancient festivals.

And so, today we are celebrating Beltane.

Beltane is a festival of fertility and sexuality. It is also a celebration of the beginning of summer and the arrival flowers. Reading through the folklore gathered in Counrty Wisdom it appears that May Day was a very special and magical day and that there are many rituals that will bring you good fortune or protection for the year associated with that day and that day's eve.

Hanging a wreath made with twigs from special/magical trees appealed to me. So yesterday we went in search of Ash, Oak and Hawthorn. This trio of woods are to be very magical and it is said that where you find the three together faeries live and you must not disturb them. Any branches taken must be respectfully asked for and gifts of left overs from a meal and coloured ribbon or wool should be left to appease the wee folk. This can only be done on May Eve.

We also decided to make a garden goddess for Andy. A little Goddess to be placed in the garden who will look after our plants and help them to grown and flourish. We felt this was a good idea as Andy has to battle 2 of the most pesky pests around...slugs and Benny ;-)

She is made from salt dough, which is kind of nice as she will 'weather' outside and, come to think of it, be quite a good slug repellent ;-)

This morning (we didn't get up for sunrise) but...

we did wash our face in the dew to gift us beauty.

We hung the wreath from the door...

I also put on some little salt dough decorations to symbolise what I wish for our home and garden. The blue tit on the nest is because we have a wee couple making a nest in our bird box which I am SO SO excited about :-)

We placed the garden goddess amongst the flowers

Benny put his there too...

and we adorned our hair with flowers...

We don't have a maypole to dance around and it's too windy for a bonfire, but it's been fun and something I hope we'll repeat and build on years to come.


  1. How very lovely. I must put this in my diary for next year :)

  2. Great day Laura. How beautiful you all look! We had a lovely day too. I loved LCITW so much - I thought I would not learn very much from it, but I really did. Every parent should read it. Beltane blessings. xxx

  3. Oh such fun you had! It's amazing how similar our days were. I didn't know that about the trio of trees:) Thanks for the lovely ideas!
    xo Jules

  4. Oh Laura, how wonderful! I love how you celebrated Beltane, I would love to do more with this myself! My children would've loved to leave things for the wee folk. You look so pretty with your wreath of flowers. So does Benny. ;)

  5. Lovely photos and some great ideas. Me and my children made crowns of dandelions recently.
    I hope the things that you wish for come true.

  6. Jacqui, I am really enjoying that book and getting so much out of it, really I am! I loved your pictures as always.
    Thanks Sarah x
    Jules, I saw on your blog the face washing picture and just smiled to myself how similar :-)
    Melanie, I do think Benny's very pretty :-) He prefers things like this nore than Rebe x

  7. Beautiful! We have never actually celebrated May day/Beltaine but have always wanted to. We will have to do it next year. I looks lovely.

    I love the flowers in your hair, and your little earth children.

  8. P.S. We read Last Child In The Woods. It is a great read.