I was warming my frozen fingertips over the dwindling fire and eagerly questioning three former dominatrix.

“I would have done it for free,” laughed Blue, a Reiki Master who joined our group by the fire. “I’d get paid 200 quid to tie them up and give them a proper beating! Best job I ever had!”

The echo of drums was coming from belly of the henges at Thornborough and we had made progress on three or four bottles of Elderflower Mead.

“I got paid by the hour to wear oversized fuzzy slippers and talk, fully clothed, over the internet,” added another new friend, a pagan author and publisher.

It was -5 degrees at the campsite; I could have used a pair of fuzzy slippers. We gathered to celebrate summer, but the ground was frozen beneath us. Despite the cold I was barefoot, I wanted to absorb the earth through the bottoms of my feet.

Earlier that day I enjoyed my very first train from London to Thirsk, a village in North Yorkshire, where I met a very warm welcome from Sigbrit. Sig is the coordinator of Beltane at Thornborough and has taken part in the festivities since its humble beginning.

I had only started my European journey five days earlier and I was still settling into my new way of life. I was actually scared when I boarded the train, wondering whom I would meet during the weekend. Would I have trouble making new friends?

I was immediately relieved when I met Sig. During the drive from Thirsk to Thornborough I felt right at home; he told me the history of the local landscape, language, customs and agriculture.

When visiting the English countryside it’s not hard to miss the rolling fields of yellow and green. The yellow fields are actually a cash crop known as rapeseed. It is made into canola oil and exported. It’s easy to grow and does minimal damage to the topsoil.

The site of Thornborough is composed of three henges, which are essentially large circular mounds with entrances at either side. The purpose of the ancient henge site is relatively unknown because written records were not kept. Historians and locals speculate that locals used them for ceremonies associated with the seasons and astronomy. Today, pagans gather for ritual.

Beltane takes place on the first of May and represents fertility and the coming of summer. People celebrate with bonfires, Maypoles, mead, rituals, barbecues and of course dancing under the full moon.

It was the biggest moon in 300 years on that particular weekend, which only added to the magic. The drums and flickering flames can easily draw you into a trance, which is the point.

Everyone gathered awkwardly at first, trying to warm their rigid limbs. The energy began to slowly climb as people started to sway to the beat. Then a small number of brave souls made it to the middle, where they danced around the fire in circles. That is exactly what I did.

I had a small solitary tent that weekend, which meant I had to venture off and make new friends. As I explored, I saw a small shop, a tent surrounded by countless musical instruments, and two young women struggling to put up their tent. I complimented one of the young girls on her bright blue and green dreadlocked hair and said a kind ‘hello’ to the other.

As a writer and travel blogger I have to question, prod and expose the true nature of people, places and things. As a young female solo traveler, I am afraid to approach strangers and expose myself.

One thing that I fear a day,’ I thought to myself as I made a b-line to the tent full of musicians.

It’s funny that all the people who I had observed on my first morning ended up connecting with me for the entire weekend.

“Try everything once,” we all agreed over the fire. “When you are ninety you will be able to tell your grandchildren ‘Yes, I got paid to tie a man wrists to ankles and hit him with a hot poker.’”

 

 

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2 Responses to Druid Songs and Dancing Dommes: Thornborough, England

  1. J'net says:

    lovely~!~just lovely~!~<3

  2. Sig says:

    Beautiful kind words. You are welcome anytime. Thankyou for coming and adding to the wonderful atmosphere.