The Dance of Life: Pagan Spirituality

Flowers bloomed and the May weather was fittingly beautiful as we arrived for the Dance of Life Maypole Celebration. As we came in, we chose a hair garland or  “antennae” from many brought by Rev. Angie Buchanan, the days’ guide. Dr. Gwynne Guibord welcomed us and officially introduced Rev. Angie.

Rev. Angie shared some of the maypole’s history, starting in ancient Europe. The ritual grew out of ceremonial dances around a live tree. Tribal peoples rejoiced that they and their livestock had survived the dark, dangerous winter. It was a time to celebrate that the sun, life and warmth had returned, a time of hope, abundance and new life.

Weaving the Web of Life

Rev. Angie first had the dancers practice weaving around each other and the maypole without ribbons. Then they formed a wide circle, facing in alternating directions. Each held brightly colored ribbons streaming down from the pole’s top.

The chanting and drumming began: “…We are weaving the web of life.” The dancers began circling the pole, weaving left and then right. Round and round they went, coming closer and closer to the pole as they reached the ribbon ends.

Blessing the Maypole and Each Other

When they finished, the maypole was woven with vibrant colors. Rev. Angie gathered the dancers close to the pole, their hands on it, and led them in blessing it and each other. “Love is the law,” she intoned. “Let love infuse you…” As she spoke, the dancers called up all their love and energy, sending it to the maypole, the sky, the ground, and one another.

“Take what you need…for fertility, for healing, for self satisfaction in life, for strength, for the power to make a difference in your world.…It’s yours for the taking, and yours for the giving. Weavers, weavers…We are weaving the web of life.”

With full hearts and souls, the dancers looked up at the maypole – the web of life they had created together.