Compassionate Communities – Time in our life – Beltane Boogie

Saturday 30th April / From 11am to 2pm / Kaliwood, to Beltane/Mayday

The Beltane Movie

Beltane- sometimes called May day – falls halfway between the spring equinox (Ostara) and the coming summer solstice. We celebrate spring at it’s peak, fertility and growth, and indeed in Kaliwoods, the expanding green was glorious, oak leaves just coming into rich sap green, catkins hanging, hazel well out with hints of nuts to come.

Shona and Rachel called the four directions, to ground us in the woods: starting at East for the air that we breath, the oxygen given to us by the trees, the air we feel on our faces. South for fire, purifying fire, giving warmth and light and expansion. West for water, rivers joining and nurturing, emotions flowing. North for earth, into which we will all go one fine day, roots and connections.

With the talking stick we introduced ourselves, saying from which direction we had come from to be here this day.

Guy welcomed us to Compassionate Communities, the umbrella under which we are all sitting. He’d been inspired by his grandmother, who in the 1950’s used to sit with and support those at the end of their lives – a modern day Doula (REF) .

Kevin welcomed us from the Pear Tree, and outlined the day, Rachel from Kinda Education, with a Health and Safety briefing. Shona from Kinda talked about Beltane: aspirations, hope and fire. It’s also International Workers day celebrated worldwide as a holiday in honor of working people, commemorating the historic struggle and sacrifice of the working people to establish an eight-hour workday. Walter Crane’s fabulous design for a poster below incorporates the essence of old May day, with garlands and spring flowers, braided with slogans to support workers rights.

Modeling – Kevin and Rachel in conversation

We began with ourselves, talking about our life aspirations, how some had fallen by the wayside, those regrets. But others, unexpectedly had been achieved. If we had a year to live – what would we want to do?

Rachel: Regrets – not married a farmer, and had 6 children, nor become concert pianist, still hopeless at drawing/art, unlikely now to visit Iran (Isfahan), but instead found this wood, and this community. Aspired to be less busy and see and enjoy what was in front of her nose.

Kevin: Regrets – always wanted to connect and support community. …. Aspired to return to Italy (live in a Tuscan villa and drink some local red wine) and make more time for friendships and relationships. MORE

We exchanged in small groups our aspirations, regrets and hopes.

Lunch of Barron Bigod and fruit, yummy.

Maypole dancing

Pete arrived and with Adam played us a merry jig to dance around our tree May pole, over and under, over and under, until we had wound the ribbon around. Then we just danced. Below is Kaaren’s poem, which describes it all.

Back to work

Celebrating International Workers day, Shona and Guy conversed about their working lives, the twists and turns and found the common denominator of supporting others.

Back into small groups we talked through our useful life, our utility, and wrote on a board our diverse paths.


Jumping over fire

Taking some live embers from our fire, Shona carefully and safely put them in a frying pan, which we jumped. We left behind what we wanted to leave behind and jumped into our aspiration.

Compassionate Conversation in the CABIN – Guy and Shona

Meanwhile throughout the day all were invited to have conversations with Guy and Shona in the cabin. Guys question: What declaration of possibility can you make that has the power to transform the community and inspire you? What promises am I willing to make? with no expectation of return?

Guy’s question: What moment in the day shifted for you?

I realised that I had fulfilled my aspiration

I thought I was alone and through these conversations, I realised others too have been on the same journey.

Those who get most have given most

He’s our pain in the ass!

When a door closes, however painfully, another opens

Fascinating to hear of M’s humanist life reminding me…KALLY

Talking heart to heart, reminded me we are all connected.

I feel like I have found my tribe

I loved Maypole dancing, I am so much in my head, it was good being in the body with you all.


They just flower up with me having to do anything

Postscript from Rachel: I realised later that those expectations of 6 children and marrying a farmer had in a way materialised: talk of fertility – last night I found out Bobji was pregnant with at least 5 pups – hooray! Instead of marrying a farmer, I was about to become one, with the land I was buying.

Postscript from Kaaren Whitney – Beltane’s Maypole – a poem

Giving and receiving
the red goes over the green
slips under the blue
ribbons dipping and diving
movement, freedom
around, about, in and out
create this multi-coloured plait
connect the many chakra coloured strands
spiraling to the crown
where primulas, violets, forget-me-nots,
corn flowers, cow parsley and forsythia
burst forth to announce
the season’s consummation.

Kaaren Whitney
Beltane 2022


ribbons weave cocoon
monarchs fly from highest crown
a life sentience
Ashley St Clair Beltane 2022