The Rites of May screen print in Pearl Grey, limited edition
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A pair of lovers clasp hands, united in the sacred ritual of hand-fasting, as the Beltane bonfire blazes and the ribbons of the Maypole swirl in joyous celebration. Hawthorn blooms and candles flank the scene in reference to the bonfires that bring purity, protection, and luck throughout the year. May this print bring the same blessings to you as you celebrate Beltane!
The Rites of May depicts the traditions of Beltane, the ancient Celtic fire festival that celebrates the renewal of nature and ushers in the “light” half of the year, when the Sun once again takes rulership in the sky. Beltane is a time to honor the growing season through rituals of fertility, luck, and protection. Festivities begin at sunset on May-eve (April 30th) and continue throughout the day until the following sunset (May 1st).
Marriage and coupling are encouraged on Beltane to celebrate the union of the potent life-force of growth, embodied by the Sun’s fertile rays and sometimes symbolized by the Green Man, with nature itself, symbolized by Mother Nature and represented by the May Queen. The ancient ritual of hand-fasting is a common practice on Beltane and pays homage to this natural union. Also embodying this union is the creation of a Maypole, which is erected during Beltane and has come to be one of the day’s most recognized traditions. It symbolizes Spring’s rebirth through the phallic pole topped with the feminine flower wreath. With merry dancing, ribbons hanging from the top of the pole are woven together in signification of the marriage of the earth’s fertility and the generative rays of the Sun.
A central tradition practiced during the festival is the burning of a communal bonfire. This blaze represents the vigor of the Sun’s fertilizing light and is the focus of many rituals that bring luck and protection to a community and its resources. Cattle and other livestock are walked between two bonfires to purify, protect, and bless the animals. The ashes of these bonfires are sprinkled over the fields to further aid in protection and bring a fortunate growing season. On May eve, the celebrators distinguish their individual hearth fires which are then re-lit from the main communal bonfire in an act of protection that recognizes the Sun’s fiery energy as renewer and life-giver.
To embrace the re-emergence of nature, may-time flowers are gathered as decorations to symbolize the budding of the season. The ancient Roman festival honoring Flora, the goddess of flowering plants, was celebrated during this time. This festival, called Floralia, involved gathering bounties of flowers and is the origin of many flower-related customs of Beltane. Celtic communities recognized it was time for Beltane when the Hawthorn trees began to bloom and the constellation of Taurus appeared in the sky. Along with Hawthorn, other flowers such as daisy, foxglove, dandelion, marigold, and lady’s slipper, among others, were gathered during Beltane to create garlands, wreaths, and bouquets for the May Queen. Many of these flowers have associations with the Fairies, whose lore intertwines with much of the Maytide lore surrounding Beltane.
The Rites of May is original artwork, hand drawn and screenprinted by Adrienne Rozzi.
Printed with black ink on Pearl Grey Stonehenge archival paper. Measures approximately 13.5" x 15" (inches) witch a raw deckle along the bottom edge.
Please refer to last photo for most accurate portrayal of paper color against a white background.
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