New window display for Beltane
The sun was shining outside the Museum yesterday and we changed our seasonal window display. As the Wheel of the Year turns, the Museum marks its change by changing the display in our window so that objects in it correlate with the seasonal festival. We used to do this in our main window display but we have changed that this year (more on our main window display soon!) Our seasonal window display is now in the smaller, shop window (described by Cecil Williamson, the Museum founder as “Dickensian/Old Curiosity Shop” when he had it fitted during the early days of the Museum).
A small reproduction of the Wheel of the Year is on display in our window display. The original large Wheel is in the Museum and was made by Mark Highland and painted by Vivienne Shanley.
Here is the text that is in our window for our visitors to read:
The Wheel of the Year
The Ancient Festivals
The year can be divided into eight major festivals which mark the passage of the Sun through the year and relate directly to the agricultural cycle. This is significant to many people (including witches).
A small version of the Museum Wheel of the Year is in the window to the right. The central section of the display celebrates the current festival which is:
Eve of April 30th to May 1st
The ancient festival of Beltane is celebrated throughout Europe on the evening of April 30th through May 1st.
Dancing round the Maypole occurs in many communities at this time of year. It seems to have originally been a fertility ritual.
The phallic symbol (the pole) is danced around by the young people of the village. Some traditions say that the ribbons should be red (to symbolise the female) and white (to symbolise the male) The two are twined during the dance as male and female join together.
The celebration of Beltane recognises that the warmer weather is with us, and Spring gives way to Summer. The countryside is blossoming, Morris dancers are back and fertility is in the air!
In Pagan belief, this is when the Horned God unites with the maiden Goddess at Beltane resulting in the re-birth of the Sun Child at the Winter Solstice.
Above: the Museum wishing well in the sunshine.
Above: outside the Museum, Joan our wise woman’s garden looking lovely. This herb garden has slate signs with information on the folklore and uses of the plants.
Above: the witch door with pentacle gate, cauldron and broomstick.
Above: not the best shot of the window display (too sunny!)
Above: a mini maypole in the central window.
Flowers, sunshine, springtime, if only we had a baby to show off too…oh, there she is! Helping out in the Museum.