wreath-crown for May Queen
Trowel or dibbing stick
Aunt Ursula Birdhood
Jack i'th' Green
Aunt Ursula gets everybody together. She should be rather like Nanny Ogg in the Terry Pratchett books, a little scattered, but underneath quite powerful. The other celebrants should be part of the circle, in mufti.
She casts the circle, chanting:
Nuncle emerges from the crowd. Same sort of character as Auntie.
I TURN TOWARDS THE EAST
TO FINNIAS, THE SHINING WHITE FORT,
HOME OF THE LORD OF BATTLES
KEEPER OF THE SWORD
MASTER OF THE EAGLE
AND OF ALL THE WINDS OF HEAVEN.
COME TO US!
I TURN TOWARDS THE SOUTH
TO GURIAS, THE BURNING FORT,
HOME OF THE MANY-GIFTED LORD
KEEPER OF THE SPEAR
MASTER OF THE BOAR
AND OF ALL ILLUMINATION.
COME TO US!
I TURN TOWARDS THE WEST
TO MURIAS, THE FORT OF THE SEA,
HOME OF THE LORD OF RICHES
KEEPER OF THE CAULDRON
MASTER OF THE SALMON
AND OF ALL FOUNTAINS AND SPRINGS.
COME TO US!
I TURN TOWARDS THE NORTH
TO FALIAS, THE FORT OF FATE,
HOME OF THE GREAT MOTHER
KEEPER OF THE STONE
MISTRESS OF THE STAG
AND OF ALL DEEP THINGS.
COME TO US!
(Note: These invocations are modified from ones written by Alexei Kondratiev and based on elemental attributes of the ancient Irish. I changed them so that the directions conformed to NROOGD practice; his original directions -- and the ones his research indicated were the original ancient Irish ones were: Air - North, Water - West, Fire - East, Earth - South. The Boar and Stag changed places between Fire and Earth depending on which half of the year it was; from Beltaine to Samhain, the Boar was Fire and the Stag Earth; from Samhain to Beltaine, the Stag was Fire and the Boar Earth. One of these days, I hope Alexei will get online and post some of his really fascinating research results...)
All the celebrants crown the Queen, and stand or dance around her in a circle to sing the attached hymn. When they're done, all celebrants but the Queen, Auntie & Nuncle retire "offstage" to change.
At the Queen's feet, Auntie and Nuncle open a hole for the Maypole and prepare the earth, with the following verse:
OPEN EARTH AND OPEN ALL,
SEED AND SPARK INSIDE LET FALL;
OPEN EARTH AND OPEN HEART,
GOOD COMES IN WITH CRAFT AND ART.
Robin Forester leads the Maypole carriers, singing "A Branch of May". He looks rather like Robin from the BBC series, with dark green tunic & brown hood (& maybe bow slung over his shoulder). They walk all around the circle, and bring the pole into the center, where they raise it reverently. After the song is over, he bows to MQ with a flourish.
Jack comes out in light green, with little horns & flute, gets everybody into position to dance a maypole, starts the song off, then pipes for the rest of the time. It could be a new tune, or just "Nonesuch" (aka "The Lady's Bransle"). Robin holds up the Maypole during the dance. (Note: that's what it says in the script. The first time we did it, our Jack couldn't play and our Robin could, so Robin played and Jack held the pole up. The next time we did it, Robin played and Jack and MQ both held the pole up. And since then, that's the way it's been every time.)
The 'Oss comes in, in the time-honored fashion (Note: this means, one person yells "'Oss, 'Oss!" and all respond, "We 'Oss!" three times...), and dances around everybody, leading them in a line dance, with the traditional day-song and chorus. On the chorus, he sinks down, and the Teazer lays her club across him while the chorus is sung, then the drum rolls again and everybody launches into the day-song once more. This "dying" should happen at least twice, timed at the discretion of the 'Oss and Teazer. At one point, it would be good if the 'Oss could make his way to a water bucket or some other water, dip his snappers in, and throw water over everybody. He should catch all the girls under his skirt if he can, and the dancing should go on until everybody is tired and/or satisfied. At which point we have...
BLESSING THE FOOD
Auntie and Nuncle bring out the food, Jack and the May Queen bless it, and the first bite goes to the 'Oss! (Note: it has become traditional for the 'Oss to carry the bread around, and for the wine to go into the bucket after it has been emptied of its water, leading to the mystical phrase, "I have eaten from the 'Oss; I have drunk from the Bucket"...)
Feasting, music, etc.
AROUND, AROUND, THE SPELL'S UNWOUND,
THE CIRCLE SINKS BENEATH THE GROUND.
AS FROM THE EARTH OUR ENERGY COMES,
INTO THE EARTH THE EXCESS FLOWS,
EARTH AND ALL EMPOWERED ALIKE --
BE IT SO!