Bringing in the May

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The air is thick with smoke. Wisps of frankincense and benzoin, rose and vervain float by, and hands clasped, we follow. Cross right over left, to step to the right. The smoke swirls. Our steps quicken, and become a dance.

Ring around the Magister.

He sits at the center, decked in flowers and fresh cut greenery. Priapic wand in hand, he is the hub to our spokes. At his feet, a cauldron of wheat: the promise of crops we’ve sown.

The power builds, colored by the fragrant smoke. Well-watered with our sweat. Spiced with our merriment. We sing and chant, faster and faster, until we’re breathless. Now all there’s time for is “Horn rise! Crops grow!” The pressure builds to a cusp, and then a bit more. As we pass, we each take the garland from our head and thread it over the May Pole. And the Magister releases the energy of our dance — out and down — into the cauldron of grain.

The rite is worked; the tide turned.

Out and down we flow, into the soft night. Silent at first, still entranced, but soon coming back to earth. We pick up the threads of our separate lives. We laugh and talk and eat, our feast washed down with woodruff-infused mead.

We turn to home. For those who will it, to the arms of our sweethearts.

Lucky sweethearts, who help us bring in our May.

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