Last night I went to Butser Ancient Farm for my first Beltane celebration. I heard about Butser from an amateur astronomer friend who mentioned that it’s a dark sky site and I thought it would be the perfect place to observe the full moon in perigee. Visiting the farm’s web site, I discovered they were holding a Beltane celebration, complete with the burning of a wicker man so I just had to go and see what it was all about.

We arrived at about 5.30pm and were practically blown off the hillside where the car park was. So cold! Thank goodness for my thermal vest. We walked across the field and down the hill where I caught my first glimpse of the farm and the giant wicker man.



Upon entering the site I realised very quickly that this was a well-organised event with even the smallest needs thought of. The bar was right next to the toilets…

There was a small stage with an Irish folk band and a dance group called Spirit of Ishtar began their performance not long after we arrived. I liked that there was a variety of women in the group, ranging from a girl who can’t have been more than 17 to grandmothers. It was great to see them all dancing in a belly-dancing style to music that was a fusion of Turkish, Indian, Arabic and I don’t know what else. I could see why some people wouldn’t like it – women enjoying the power of their bodies to express their inherent gorgeousness. I would like to learn to dance like that!


There was a falconry display, a guy making axe heads, African drumming, face-painting, tarot reading, a hog roast, crepes, jacket potatoes, storytelling and loads of people dressed as Celts. I particularly loved a woman dressed up in a Celtic costume wearing hot pink Doc Martens. I wish I could have taken a photo. Definitely the strangest thing I saw was an ice-cream vendor. These English are crazy.

We filled up on the yummy food before the queues started in earnest, grabbed some ale (well, Doug had some ale, I had some cider) and went for a tarot reading.

I’d never had one before and I know it’s a cliché, but it was spot on. I mean, SPOT ON. She talked about having gone through a very difficult period in my life and being on the cusp of something new. That part sounds very much like what a sceptic would expect to hear. Most people who go to a tarot reader go when they’re trying to make a decision about something or when they’re uncertain, but anyone who knows me, who’s followed my blog will know I’ve had a seriously difficult time over the past year. For those who don’t, try this on for size – I got divorced, moved house, lost my job and had to sell my beloved Jag in the space of 3 months. While taking care of three kids. I dare you to go through all that without losing your mind! I was particularly impressed with her insight into my personality, right down to the exact words I have used to describe myself. She mentioned my fear of disappointment and my sense of defeatism, feeling alone and worrying about what other people think.

I’m not going to try to analyse it or explain it. I am going to make use of it. I will accept who I am, release the passion and power that is inside me. I will share more of myself with other people and allow myself to be vulnerable to others. I am being all that I can be.

At dusk they set fire to the wicker man, which was quite a spectacle. We made our way back to the car and home again.

Beltane was great. Shame I didn’t get to see the moon though, it was completely, solidly overcast all night and even today, Sunday, it’s still grey from horizon to horizon. Frost has been forecast for tomorrow morning so I’m hoping that means a clear sky tonight. There’s some things I need to let go of and lots of things I want to manifest into my life.


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2 Responses to Beltane

  1. Vanessa, I really enjoyed reading this – I have always wanted to go to a Beltane celebration and by your description it is something I will look forward to. Sorry to read of your recent trials – it’s almost like you’ve been burning off the old, now to rise triumphant from the flames! Loved the pictures too, thanks.

    • Vanessa King says:

      Beltane was really fabulous, I enjoyed the whole thing, I hope you get a chance to experience it. Of course, the trouble is now I want to see the sunrise at the summer solstice and I’m not really a morning person, so it will be interesting to see how that goes! It’s truly been a tough time this past year, thanks for your thought about burning off the old and rising up again. This past month has really felt just like that, it’s been an amazing couple of weeks. Will have to get disciplined and write about that too! Blessings to you xx

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