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Glastonbury – Beltane Celebrations


This is an information page on the healingenergies-at-londonwest website about the Beltane Celebrations which are held in Glastonbury. This page is one of a number of pages on this website about the Glastonbury area which are intended to help people know more about the area and its Earth Energies and about events and activities there.  If you have the intention of going to Glastonbury in late Spring / early Summer, you might like to time your visit to coincide with the Beltane celebrations there. Other events being held in Glastonbury during the year may be found in the Calendar of Events in the Events section of the Information Centre. Information about the energies at Glastonbury may be found in the Earth Energies section of the Information Centre.






Beltane is one of the old celebration times from before the Christian era. The annual calendar was divided into the four quarter days of the solstices and the equinoxes.  Exactly half way between the quarter days were further days of celebration marking specific aspects of the progress through the year’s seasons. Traditionally Beltane was exactly halfway between the Spring Equinox and the Summer Solstice. These days it tends to be celebrated a little out of timing sequence on 1st May each year.   


The celebration was focussed on the progression from the Spring time into the Summer time, and Beltane was celebrated as the time when the increasing strength of the energies received from the Sun meant that agricultural crops were entering their fast growth period and when there would be plenty of grazing available for animals such as lambs born in the Spring time. 


The traditional celebrations involved the crowning of the Queen of the May, a procession through the local community, and dancing around the May Pole.


The ceremony of the crowning of the May Queen would commence the Beltane celebrations. The Queen of the May was usually a young woman chosen to represent the female energies around and in particular the female magnetic energy field of the planet beneath our feet. Her symbolic role was to attract the male energies around so that female and male could co-create in the Creation process, the male energies largely representing the incoming solar energies. The emphasis was on understanding that agricultural communities needed both female and male energies around for agricultural abundance and the May Queen would choose her male partner to be her consort and to rule with her through the agricultural growth period.


Once the May Queen and her consort had been duly appointed, they would lead a ceremonial procession through the local streets to call in any members of the local community who had missed the crowning ceremony and so that everybody could proceed to the May Pole site.


The May Pole would be a long length of tree that had been cut down, stripped of its branches except for a few trimmed branches at the top, and positioned in the ground to stand upright. Trees were a symbolisation of the fertility of the natural world. Dancing and general festivities would take place around the May Pole. Fire was considered to help to bring in the energy of the Sun so a fire ceremony was often part of the proceedings.  These days it is common practice for people to jump over a fire for purification purposes and to bring in abundance. In some locations there is a twist on the fire ceremony with people walking across hot coals or embers. In the old days it is believed that herds of animals would be driven through fire to purify them and to bring vitality to them.     


The practice today of weaving ribbons whilst dancing around the May Pole is not believed to be a traditional Beltane dance and is believed to be a more modern day addition. However, it follows the spirit of the Beltane tradition. The female dancers going in one direction around the May Pole and the male dancers going in the other direction and the ribbons being woven between the female and male dancers symbolise the coming together of the two polarities for common purpose. 





Beltane at Glastonbury

Although Beltane is celebrated at Glastonbury, there does not seem to be an overall body or organisation co-ordinating events. If you might be interested in visiting at Beltane, it might be best to do an internet search on ‘Glastonbury Beltane’ to find out more about what is planned. 


The Glastonbury celebrations usually include:

-    An overnight vigil on Glastonbury Tor to greet the sunrise on 1st May with all kinds of ceremonial activities.

-    The ceremony of the crowning of the Queen of the May at Market Cross (at the bottom of the High Street) in the morning.

-    The crowning ceremony is followed by a procession up the High Street and out of the town to the May Pole site. In recent years the May Pole site has been on Chalice Hill.   

-    Celebrations around the May Pole.


As far as I am aware, these celebrations are usually free of charge.


There might also be other celebrations at places such as the Chalice Well Gardens for which a charge might be made.


Additionally, one of the monthly Glastonbury Mystic and Earth Spirit Fayres is usually timed to coincide with the Beltane celebrations. Please click here to go to a page on this website giving information about these Fayres.





YouTube video clips

Some video clips of the Beltane celebrations at Glastonbury can be found on YouTube:



The Goddess at Beltane

A celebration held on the eve of Beltane, in the courtyard of "The Glastonbury Experience" just off the High Street.




Beltane on Glastonbury Tor 2007 Part One



Beltane on Glastonbury Tor 2007 Part Two



Beltane on Glastonbury Tor 2007 Part Three



Beltane on Glastonbury Tor / Chalice Well Garden 2007 Part Four



Beltane on Glastonbury Tor / Chalice Well Garden 2007 Part Five




Beltane in Glastonbury (AvalonCAN) Pt 1, Market Cross



Beltane in Glastonbury (AvalonCAN) Pt 2, Market Cross and procession up High Street to collect the May Pole and then up to Chalice Hill




Beltane at the Chalice Well




Beltane Maypole Dance Glastonbury 2009 Chalice Hill




Glastonbury Beltane Goddess Temple Maypole Dance 2009




Glastonbury Tor 2009 May Day Morn Sunrise Pt3