Friday, 1 May 2015

The May Pole - Mai Baum

I'd like to continue a little on the theme of the May Pole. As I mentioned in the previous posts the Maibaum or May Tree is the continental name we English give to the May Pole. The symbolism is the very same. The Pole is raised in May and coincides with the Walpurgis celebrations. Symbolising the Irminsul in its role as World Axis - the Pole is raised in May to represent the summer months, and it is raised again in winter - the Yulebaum or Yule tree to represent the winter. The dance around the pole is called the Maitanz (May Dance). The Maibaum, as the name implies is often a decorated tree - and the most common tree used is the Birch tree - again this connects with the Birch Rune Berkano-Beorc as also mentioned before. The Birch tree is a very fast growing tree, often the first tree to grow in reforested land, and as you'll know has a beautiful white paper like bark. The Birch (just like the Yew and Ash) certainly has Yggdrasil symbolism connected to it - perhaps this is the White-Tree of Gondor from the Lord of the Rings?   

Above and Below - National Socialists honour the coming summer months by raising the Maibaum

May Pole image on this NS publication

The Maitanz or May Dance.

In England the dance is formed by dancers each holding one of the coloured ribbons (these ribbons are often brightly coloured, whilst the German tradition often uses Blue and White - the colours of Bayer-Bavaria, which itself stems from the word Bauer meaning peasant - thus a continuation of these rural and heathen customs). These dancers then dance around the pole passing the other dancers one side then another so that the ribbons form a knotted pattern down the pole. The dance is then performed in reverse which frees the ribbons from its braid.