By Nimue Brown
For me, woodland flowers are as much a part of Beltain as the more traditional hawthorn flowers. I grew up on the Cotswold edge, where in May, the beech woods have a carpet beneath them of bluebells, wild garlic, and my absolute favourite – the wood anemone. The photo with this blog shows me in woodland in 2016, with bluebells behind me.
However, the flowers are early this year. I’d already seen them by early April, which leaves me wondering when I think Beltain is. Of course if what you respond to is ancestral dates, then the first of May is always the time to celebrate, but for many years I’ve been more interested in seasonal events, and those seasonal events are changing.
Last year, I took up a small volunteer post with the Woodland Trust – for me, service is an important part of the Druidry. I’ve been a Woodland Trust supporter for many years, and when the chance came along to take a more active role, I threw myself forward! All I do is raise awareness online about trees, campaigns to protect trees, political issues affecting trees and landscapes – all things I really care about.
This year The Woodland Trust is recording the arrival of bluebells. If you’ve seen some – native or non-native and are in the UK, you can get involved here – https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/visiting-woods/bluebell-watch-recording/
And if you’re further afield, what’s changing for you? How are the seasons and the ancestral dates connecting? What defines Beltain for you, and when are you celebrating it?