How to build a Maypole

hawthorn 2 We built a Maypole last year for our Family gathering in Thetford forest.  Much fun and hilarity was had, but a week or so later when I (Sam) went to unwind our ribbons and reclaim my staff she realised the power the children had raised into the staff and quickly took it outside to send their energy back into the Earth, and my garden, with a heartfelt blessing.

The building was quite simple.  My staff is just under 6 ft tall and quite straight so was perfect.  We got 4 different coloured ribbons, about 5m of each, and attached the middles of them to the top using hair bands.

During our ritual one of the Dads sat in the middle holding the staff upright and all the children, and most of the other grown-ups too, took a hand in dancing round the maypole.  We did do lots of weaving over and under our dance partners, but it was very clear that we would never be able to dance it unwound again.  Voices were raised clear and true and feet tripped out a merry jig under the trees in Thetford Forest.  Our intent was solid, even if our dancing was a little haphazard and prone to giggling.Maypole 2

This experience taught me a valuable lesson in magic, working with children and of the power of intent.  From an outsiders view the children were just playing around a makeshift maypole.  Dancing and laughing with little focus; some came in for a moment to dance and then to return to their tree climbing, others did all the moves wrong and annoyed their big sister, while others danced and giggled contentedly.  Sam’s children, however, talked about dancing the Maypole for weeks afterwards, and the power raised, as mentioned above, was significant.  Before we started we stated our intent; that we were celebrating the Beltane festival and were dancing for the flowers to grow and all the participants held that intent as they danced.

Maypole 3I have learned not to underestimate the power of play, of laughter and of childlike innocence.  Our children are wise and cunning and I have found myself learning much from them and their questions.

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