• Pagans

    The Beltane Fire Festival is inspired by the ancient Gaelic festival of Beltane which began on the evening before May 1 and marked the beginning of summer.

    I was asked to photograph the Red Men, one of the many groups involved in the event. The plot relating to the Red Men goes something like this....

    Having awakened the four elements, the May Queen guides the procession around the Western side of the hill. The first of the Red Men, imps created with the May Queen's appearance at the Monument and representing the forces of Chaos, spot the procession as it passes below and are attracted to the May Queen and her Warriors.

    As the procession rounds the hill, the Red Men begin to taunt the White Women, and then stage a series of charges as the procession reaches the base of the hill on the South side of the Observatory. This represents the Red Men's interest in capturing the May Queen on behalf of their lord the Green Man.

    The White Women ward the Red Men off in the end without 'killing' any of them as any unnecessary 'deaths' would lead to a lessening of the energies needed to bring about the change of the seasons from Winter to Summer.

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