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I had a fabtabulous time at Beltane last night. I'm sore and achy (from dancing too much) and my throat is killing me (from shouting and cheering too much) and I think I managed to get a sunburn. Yay!

Seriously, though, I should preface this with I can totally see why this wouldn't be everyone's thing, and I can tell how easy it would be to go and have a horrible time. There were whole minutes that passed where I thought "Man, this is... yeah." But then I pushed myself to go out and find things and it was great.

The night starts out on the ruins up on Calton Hill. The "Green Man" is lead out, along with several other characters who do some sort of ritual (I could only see parts of it) until they light the fire. They take this ball of... something... and spin it around in circles until it catches. Once it gets going, they light a bunch of torches and start lighting the big runes and stuff behind the performers. Then, more torch bearers and drummers come out and line the ruin, getting everything up into a fever pitch before the Queen of May and her White Women appear. Then, the procession is led out and everything becomes insanely chaotic.

My understanding is they expected 12,000 people up on the Hill last night, and it was definately packed with people. It was hard to see things before I figured out what was going on. I tried to follow the procession a few times, but got crushed in the crowd, then headed towards the area with one of the stages and one of the bonfires. There was this energy in the crowd, but no one seemed to know what was going on or what to expect.

I know I missed things I would have loved, like the May pole and some of the Points (Earth, Air, and Water - I think I found Fire), but what I did see was so... wow. It was wow. *grin*

I managed to trail behind a group of drummers in orange with strange things on their backs (no idea what they were - I wonder if they just sorta showed up and did things?) to the stage that I *think* was the Fire Point. I watched them for a bit, and they were great - the drum beat just went through you, and the dancing was chaotic and fun. This one girl jumped up on stage with them and started doing some great dancing along - very bellydance like, but in this more tribal way. I'm sorry, words can't get this across at all. It was wild and crazy and chaos and fun.

Then the Procession came. Lots of torch bearers that pushed us back from the stage for the dancing on the grass. I had this constant fear of being lit on fire. By accident, of course. I'm pretty sure they don't do that on purpose, even at Beltane.

(The problem at this point is the *very* drunk people that were right in front of me. One of them was this absolute ass of a man who kept arguing with the torchbearers, with the stewards, and with anyone else around him, when he wasn't grabbing at the breasts of the women in the area. The other was this drunk girl that was encouraging him, but it was really obvious that she'd just do anything that anyone around her said. I missed a lot of things because of these two, and it was annoying, but I didn't want to move because - well, to where? I was *right* in front of the stage, and no one else was moving.)

I did the the May Queen alight to the stage, and the Green Man's attempts at grabbing her before their "wedding". I saw him sacrificed while the Queen watched, impassively. They threw his garmets of green leaves to the fire, to be burned. And then, the Queen made him reborn, not at the old Green Man, covered in summer's old clothes, but as the new Sapling, young and vital and full of energy.

He lept and danced, and it was beautiful.

Afterwards, the procession headed up to the Final fire to be lit, the huge bonfire that roared and burned above us. I missed the firelight (I went to Beltane and missed every single fire lighting!), but I got to watch the Red Men (and women! - the red beasties?) dance and do fire dancing and acrobatics. I can totally see how this could have led to orgies wild nights of dancing till dawn. The firedancing was amazing - the guy in front of me was great! (By this time, the drunken people had left. Aw, pity.) Dancing with the fire, with fire sticks, with these fire balls on chains... it was great. Everyone in this part was painted red and basically naked, including the women. The drum beat just went right through you, again, and it was... wow. It was wow.

About then is when I realised I had lost my shoe.

I'm not quite sure where I lost my shoe, or when I lost my shoe, but I did, in fact, lose a shoe. It's somewhere up on Calton Hill. I feel all Cinder-Anna like: maybe a Prince will find it and turn me into a Princess? I'd make a great Princess.

Anyway, if you see my shoe, do let me know.

Beltane was spectacular. I understand they do something for Samhuinn as well, on October 31st, down the Royal Mile.

Well, I know what I'm doing for Halloween this year.

{Pictures that are *totally not mine*, as mine didn't turn out, are here, and they are *amazing*.}


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I haven't seen your shoe.

But I enjoyed your post. :)