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Please add to your address book to ensure our emails reach your inbox. - Monthly e-Magazine - May 2008

The Top 3 Beltane Maypole Problems...And How to Fix Them
by Bronwen Forbes - Beltane - May 2008

It’s Beltane! Raise the maypole! Weave the pretty ribbons! Collapse in exhaustion, pig out at the potluck, and go home knowing you’ve participated in a life-affirming, ancient European Pagan tradition. Simple. Effective. Fun for all ages.

Well, the maypole is effective and fun, but apparently it’s not so simple. I asked some of my nearest and dearest in the Pagan community their biggest problem with the maypole. Here are the three answers I heard over and over again. I hope my suggested solutions will help your private group or local community next time you raise the ribboned staff!

Keeping the pole upright. This was the number one problem cited by my friends, and rightly so. Or, as Trystn put it: “Keeping the pole upright so it doesn’t bean someone on the head, terrorize the dog, or knock over the altar.”

The key, of course, is a solid maypole stand, a very deep hole, or a strong human (or two) to hold it up. There are pros and cons to each of these solutions.

If your Beltane celebration takes place on private or forest service (or other government land), you may not be allowed to dig a deep hole—and a fourteen-foot pole needs at least four of those feet to be firmly underground, preferably packed in with dirt and rocks. The hole also has to be well-marked so no one accidentally falls in and is seriously hurt. However, a maypole hole is cheap, i.e. free, stable (nothing’s more stable than good, packed earth), and easy to undo—just fill in the hole!

Unfortunately, your average Christmas tree stand is a great maypole base in theory but doesn’t work all that well in practice. An eight-foot pole (the minimum height, in my opinion) will easily topple from the tension of as little as ten people pulling on the ribbons attached to it. A better stand can be made from an old car wheel (with or without tire), some PVC pipe, a bag or two of cement, and green paint. Determine the diameter of your maypole, then find about twelve to fourteen inches of PVC pipe wide enough for your maypole to fit down into. Set the pipe in the middle of the car wheel, fill in with cement. When it’s dry, paint it so it looks less like a car wheel full of PVC pipe and cement. You might also want to cover it with flowers or budding branches on the big day. Some people advocate sticking the bottom of the maypole into a five-gallon drum filled with wet cement three or four days before the ritual, but I like the lower, broader base that a car wheel provides.

Sometimes patio umbrella stands work well, if your group or community can afford a wide-based cast-iron stand.

Of course, a strong man or two can stand or sit and hold the maypole upright while everyone else dances around it. Again it’s a cheap (free), effective solution. But be warned, and I say this from experience: If at all possible, find a human maypole stand who wants his fertile female partner to get pregnant! Better yet, find a couple who want to be parents, or want to be parents again, and have them hold the maypole together while everyone else dances around it. Speaking of dancing, that seems to be the second most common maypole problem.

No one here knows how to dance around a maypole. Let’s start with the easy part—ribbons.Everyone will need a satin or grosgrain ribbon (found in most fabric departments and stores) that is (and this is the really important part): twice the length of the maypole. So if your fourteen foot maypole has four of those measured feet in the ground, the dancers need a twenty-foot ribbon to wrap around the ten feet of pole left over. Why satin or grosgrain? The paper ribbon you decorate your Yule presents with is too fragile, and will tear in a heartbeat. The fabric ribbon with wire running through the edges will make ugly bunchies in the weave. Nice, flat inexpensive ribbons can also be made from two-inch strips of cheap, pretty fabric.

Now that everyone has a long cloth ribbon affixed to the maypole, put the ribbon down for a minute and practice the weave motions. 

Click here to read the full article.

Back to Top - Author Interview - May 2008

Goth Craft Author Details What it’s Like to Be a 21st Century Witch

Witch, DJ, and Llewellyn author Raven Digitalis has been profiled by MTV News. The segment initially aired on MTV on Tuesday, March 25, 2008 at 5pm Eastern. The segment will be rerun on MTV, MTV2, and MTVU, as well as being available at MTV News - Raven Digitalis - May 2008

“Witches believe in balance, and instead of relying on a book to tell us what is sacred and what is profane, we recognize our own ability to discern our actions and understand if we are helping or harming ourselves and the people around us. Books, teachers, and other people definitely help point the way for us all, but the true answers lie within,” says Raven Digitalis in Goth Craft, the new book examining the magickal side of dark culture. 

A NeoPagan High Priest and DJ with a degree in Anthropology from the University of Montana, Raven Digitalis lives in Missoula, Montana—not exactly the first place you’d think to look for witches. And at just 24 years old, he’s already a published author with a second book, Shadow Magick Compendium, hitting stores this September. 

Catch a special profile of Raven and find out what it’s like to be a 21st century Witch on MTV News.

Visit to forward the video to your friends and family to show MTV your appreciation and encourage MTV News to produce more positive stories featuring the Pagan and Wiccan community.

Back to Top - Llewellyn Journal - May 2008

Springtime Herb Magic Your Own Way
by Melanie Harris 
As sacred gardens come back into fruition, many Witches are wondering if their herb magic could be more potent. Using the personal arts of intuition and customization, Melanie Harris shows how to increase the potency of herb magic.

Read More

Beltane and May Day Rituals
by Raven Grimassi
Whatever the origins of May Day or Beltane are, it is still celebrated as a time of renewal within nature. Beltane can also be regarded as a celebration in anticipation of the coming summer season. Raven Grimassi, author of Beltane, discusses traditional May Day rituals and customs.

Read More

Holy Goddess! Who Are You?
by Michelle Skye
So, you’ve turned on your favorite meditation music, lit some incense, turned off all the phones, and locked all the doors and windows. Safe and secure in your little cocoon of calmness, it is time to meditate. You meet a winsome, lithe young girl or a stooped old woman or a big bosomed, bountiful mother. She gives you insight into your life and, maybe, even offers to heal various wounds that you have carried around for quite some time. You return from your meditation, ready to offer praise to your generous Goddess, and you realize that you forgot to ask her name. In fact you have absolutely no idea which Goddess came to your aid so readily. What do you do? Michelle Skye, author of Goddess Alive! and Goddess Afoot!, details how to discern which Goddess came to your aid.

Read More

Back to Top - Try This! - May 2008
May Day Celebrations Around the World

What Your Sixth House Says About Your Kitchen

Shadowplay: Herbs for the Shady Garden

Llewellyn Journal - May 2008
Springtime Herb Magic Your Own Way

Beltane and May Day Rituals

Holy Goddess! Who Are You? - News - May 2008

New Worlds May/June 2008

The May/June issue of New Worlds  is here! Download the PDF file of the latest issue of New Worlds or click here to sign up and have it delivered to your home!

2008 Newsletter Reader Survey
Please take a few moments to answer this brief online survey to help us improve your experience with Llewellyn's new monthly e-magazine.

A New You, A New World Sale. Save Up to 30% off Select Titles! - New Releases - May 2008

Goddess Afoot!
Goddess Afoot!
by Michelle Skye

Mother Nature's Herbal
Mother Nature's Herbal
by Judith Griffin, Ph.D. - Llewellyn Encyclopedia - May 2008

English Country Dance
A popular, communal form of dance. Many English country dances are done in a circular formation, and may have been the original Maypole dances.

(May 1) Beltane is the holiday that draws all Witches outside to celebrate the returning power of the Sun and the fecundity of the land.

Causal Duality
This principle states that equal benefit comes from action towards a goal and inaction away from it. The causes of our success are both to be found in efforts to move forward and from the absence of efforts to move backwards. - Reader's Top Picks - May 2008

  1. 2008 Witches' Companion
    by Llewellyn

  2. Psychic Vampires
    by Joe Slate, Ph.D.

  3. Craft of the Wild Witch
    by Poppy Palin

  4. Discover Your Psychic Type
    by Sherrie Dillard

  5. Magical Aromatherapy
    by Scott Cunningham

New Worlds of Mind and Spirit

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