The May Queen

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It was set to music by William R Dempster.

The Wake Of The May Queen

Tennyson once visited Dickens at Lausanne and found the novelist's daughter Mamie singing his May Queen at the piano. But the older village tradition of a May King as well as Queen endured in many schools. Phyl Surman in her 'Pride of the Morning - An Oxford Childhood' writes that In Iffley, 'a queen was elected by private ballot from the girls attending the village school and, by a similar procedure, the pupils would also elect a king.

Girls in their best white dresses and boys in Sunday suits would process to church in the wake of the king and queen and maids of honour wearing flowers in their hair.

Robert Plant The May Queen One Show 2017 10 11

May Queen at Great Rollright, A resident recalls how after maypole dancing on the village green, all the children toured Great Rollright on a farm cart carrying garlands of flowers. A May King and Queen at Heythrop, Note the cruciform garland and the four armed attendants - this was the eve of the Great War. May King and Queen at South Newington, As at Heythrop above, headgear and sash appear to be the King's main items of regalia.

Pilgrimages and visits are made to churches dedicated to the Blessed Virgin.


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In some Pagan belief systems, typically those that follow a Wiccan tradition, the focus of Beltane is on the battle between the May Queen and the Queen of Winter. The May Queen is Flora , the goddess of the flowers, and the young blushing bride, and the princess of the Fae.


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She is the embodiment of the Maiden, of mother earth in all of her fertile glory. As the summer rolls on, the May Queen will give forth her bounty, moving into the Mother phase. The earth will blossom and bloom with crops and flowers and trees.

May Queen - Wikipedia

When fall approaches, and Samhain comes, the May Queen and Mother are gone, young no more. Instead, the earth becomes the domain of the Crone.

She is Cailleach , the hag who brings dark skies and winter storms. She is the Dark Mother , bearing not a basket of bright flowers but instead a sickle and scythe. When Beltane arrives each spring, the May Queen arises from her winter's sleep, and does battle with the Crone.

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She fights off the Queen of Winter, sending her away for another six months, so that the earth can be abundant once more. Make an offering of a floral crown, or a libation of honey and milk, to the Queen of the May during your Beltane prayers.