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Please add to your address book to ensure our emails reach your inbox. - Monthly e-Magazine - May 2009

Rediscover Beltane with Kids and Maypoles
by Bronwen Forbes - May 2009

Last May my family—including my three-year-old daughter—attended the local community’s Beltane festival and picnic. I was excited – this would be Rose’s first Maypole dance! She’d proudly helped me purchase our ribbons at a fabric store prior to the event, and couldn’t wait to tie them onto the Maypole crown. Rose’s grandmother is a retired elementary school music teacher. Every year she taught the fifth- and sixth-grade girls how to dance around a Maypole. It was time to teach my daughter the “family tradition."

Unfortunately, Rose got tired after a couple of “rounds” around the Maypole, and I ended up carrying her piggyback the rest of the time. Looking around afterwards, I don’t think too many of the under-ten attendees lasted until the final ribbon was tied, either. Adults tended to run them over, get impatient when the kids couldn’t remember the “the ribbon goes over, then under, then over” pattern (and never mind that half the adults had the same problem!), and it went on so long that the little ones (and those of us who carried them most of the way) were utterly exhausted when it was over. What, I wondered, could be done to make the Maypole dance as much a part of our kids’ Beltane tradition as it is ours?

The absolute best and most obvious solution is: give them their own Maypole. Little ones don’t mind sitting at the “kid’s table” at Thanksgiving until they and the adults decide they’re too old; the same arrangement could be made for dancing around the Maypole. Let the older ones (say, age twelve and up) “graduate” to the big Maypole when they feel old enough and tall enough to keep up with the grown-ups.

Here are my tips for making sure a separate kids’ Maypole is as successful as the “big” one:

Make sure the little ones’ Maypole dance is at the same time and within sight of the adult’s Maypole. Parents of the littlest dancers will most likely join in the kids’ Maypole, but encourage attendees who don’t have kids to dance around the “little” pole, too! Adults who may feel too out of shape or too old to keep up with the bigger (faster, longer, rowdier) Maypole may welcome a short, slow one. The extra adults will assure the kids that their Maypole is part of the celebration – another benefit! However, if there is not enough room for two Maypoles at the same time, let the kids go first. This will make them feel like their Maypole is special, rather than an accommodating afterthought. Then, let them be “part” of the adult Maypole by singing or clapping along around the perimeter.

Keep it short.

Click here to read the full article.

Back to Top - Author Interview - May 2009

An Interview with Bronwen Forbes, Author of Make Merry in Step and Song
by Llewellyn

1. Your new book, Make Merry in Step and Song, is a compendium of historic music, dances, and mummer’s plays. Why do such things elicit joy in people?Make Merry in Step and Song

The easy answer is: because they’re fun! All of us have an inner kid who likes to put on a costume and pretend to be Robin Hood or some other hero of legend! 

On a deeper level, these folk activities touch something very deep, very necessary in all of us, especially in America. Our country is relatively new, and our ancestors have only been here for a short time. The old songs, dances, and mummer’s plays remind us of where we came from, and that can be a source of joy, too.

2. Do you feel music and dancing are integral to pagan celebration? Why?

Absolutely! I’d say music and dance are integral to any celebration, even if it’s just singing “Happy Birthday.” Our ancestors came up with these dances and songs as a way to express their relationship with the seasons and with each other. The sabbats were when the community or village would come together and celebrate with feasting, song, dance, games. I’ve never known a Pagan who didn’t appreciate the post-ritual feast, but a holiday celebration can be so much more than that—and that’s when the music and dancing come in.

3. Did you grow up with such lore and celebration?

Yes, I did. I grew up on the campus of Berea College in Berea, Kentucky. In the 1930s a professor from England brought the plays, songs, and dances featured in my book to Berea, and taught them to the students and the community. That tradition has continued ever since. My dad was a music professor when we lived there in the 1970s, and was “recruited” to be a musician at the dances and classes. My mother and I started to tag along, and a lifelong family hobby was born!

4. Each sabbat of the wheel of the year is associated with a different emotion, whether it be solemnity, revelry, or reflection. How do you think the seasons affect the emotions of sabbats and esbats?

In a word: profoundly. It’s hard to imagine a “party hearty” Samhain or a solemn, depressing Beltane. Those are the most obvious, but it’s not uncommon for me, at least, to seriously take stock of my life at Lammas. Imbolc, the first hint of spring, is very joyful in my house, but that could be because it’s also my birthday!

I’ve never had any major emotional shifts at esbats, although the Harvest Moon (September) is usually more of a reflective Full Moon ritual than usual, at least to me.

5. The songs, dances, and plays in your book are from the English folk tradition. How does this tradition differ from the other songs and dances (such as those of a Celtic or African tradition) employed by modern pagans?

Click here to read the full interview.

Back to Top - Llewellyn Journal - May 2009

Royal Court in Residence
by Janina Renée 

About a fifth of the cards in a standard tarot deck are court cards, and these are commonly used to designate personalities. But being that we have to be many different things to many people over the course of our lives--and even over the course of a day--how can we use the tarot to better understand ourselves? Janina Renée, author of Tarot for a New Generation and Tarot Spells, illustrates how we can use the court cards to gain insight into the many facets of our personalities.

Read More

The Garden Witch is Back, with Garden Witch's Herbal: How to Unearth Your Spirituality Through Gardening
by Ellen Dugan 

Spring is here, and what better time to dig into the magick and mystery of the earth than right now? Ellen Dugan, author of such books as Cottage Witchery, Garden Witchery, and the new Garden Witch's Herbal, details the power of using gardening and green magick to enhance your Craft.

Read More

Five Effective Ways to Stage Your Home for Sale with Feng Shui
by Christine Ayres

Any edge in today's real estate market is a good one, and feng shui provides some easy ways to invite a buyer into your home. If your home has been sitting stagnant on the market, now is the time to give it an energetic lift! Discover five ways you can use feng shui to properly stage and sell your home.

Read More

Back to Top - News - May 2009

New WorldsMay/June 2009

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!

Llewellyn Announces 2 Apps for iPhone!

Over 100 Llewellyn Titles Now Available as eBooks for Amazon's Kindle! - Try This! - May 2009

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Llewellyn Journal - May 2009

Royal Court in Residence

The Garden Witch is Back, with Garden Witch's Herbal: How to Unearth Your Spirituality Through Gardening

Five Effective Ways to Stage Your Home for Sale with Feng Shui - New Releases - May 2009

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