How to Make a Beltane Table Top Maypole
Making your own table top Maypole is a wonderful craft the whole family can participate in. A great way share in some Beltane fun.
The Maypole dates back to pre-Christian times. Every year at Beltane, which occurs on May 1st, Pagans gather to celebrate the return of summer, the Maypole and Maypole dance are traditional Beltane festivities. The Maypole is made from a straight tree, usually birch, which the men cut down and carry in to the celebration area with much ceremony. The Maypole is then decorated with a flowered wreath on top and long ribbons which the festival goers weave around the pole as they dance. The Maypole is a phallus symbol and represents the male aspect, the God. The Wreath represents the female aspect, The Goddess. Together they represents the divine union that happens every year at Beltane, from this union all life is created.
As not many people have the room to erect a full size one in their backyards at Beltane, to make a table top maypole that can be placed on an Altar or on a table is ideal and quite cheap and easy to make.
- wood dowel or thin straight branch
- A flat wood plaque or a piece of wood to use as a base (your base should be big enough to support the pole)
- One small grapevine wreath. It should be just big enough to fit over the pole, a nice snug wreath is best
- Ribbon - red and white are traditional Beltane colors, but ribbon color can be whatever feels right to you.
- one flat-head wood screw (use a length that is big enough to go completely through base and into the pole)
- Glue (a glue gun works best )
- Decorations- flowers, leaves and ivy, small figurines of birds, fairies, butterflies or whatever suits you, small symbolic items.
- A small Styrofoam ball.
-Drill a hole through the bottom of the center of the base, followed by drilling a hole ½ inch deep into the bottom of the dowel/branch.
-Countersink screw into base and attach dowel/branch
-Paint your base and pole if desired.
-Decorate your wreath with small flowers and leaves
-Carefully dig out a hole in the Styrofoam ball big enough the it will fit securely on top of your Maypole. Paint and decorate the ball.
-Cut the ribbons so they are slightly longer than your pole and than either glue/tack/staple the ribbons to the top of the pole. You can use 4 , 6 or 8 ribbons,. (Tacking or stapling the ribbons makes changing them at a later date much easier than if you glue them)
-Place your decorated wreath over the top of the pole, sliding it over the ribbons. You can glue the wreath in place or just let it rest snugly on the top. With a traditional Maypole, the wreath is meant to be held at the top by the extended ribbons and slowly fall as the ribbons are woven around the pole.
-Securely place the decorated Styrofoam ball on the very top of the pole, again you may glue it in place or just sit it snugly on top, so you will be able to remove it at a future date to replace the wreath and/or ribbons.
-Put on any last decoration you’d like. Small figures and flowers look lovely around the base and gives the Maypole a fun festival feel.
-You can braid your ribbons around the pole or simply let them hang, whichever you prefer.
You can make a Beltane table top Maypole any size you’d like from a small table top version to a larger floor version. It can be used to decorate an outside Altar or table on a nice day but will not take to rainy weather well.