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Ask A Pagan: The Maypole

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By Sophia Kesler

What is the meaning/significance of the Maypole?

Thank you for your question. The maypole is used during the May Day celebration, which some Pagans call Beltane. This holiday falls halfway between the Spring Equinox and the Summer Solstice. It is the peak of spring and a celebration of the fertility and subsequent new life of Earth and her inhabitants.

There are many different ways to celebrate Beltane, including bonfires, dancing, planting a garden, and performing rituals. The maypole dance has long been celebrated by various cultures around the world. Some erroneously believe that it is a phallic symbol, but this was view initiated and perpetuated by those with an anti-Pagan agenda. (Don’t get me wrong, there are phallic symbols in Paganism; this just isn’t one of them.) The most commonly accepted meaning behind it, especially in Pagan circles that consider trees sacred, is that the maypole represents a budding tree. Therefore, it is still a fertility symbol, just not in the same way.

Blessed Be.

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