Beltane Southwest Tips

Whether you’ve been coming for years or are getting ready for your first dance around the Maypole, these tips will make your Beltane more enjoyable, more comfortable, and safer.

Get The Latest Info On Facebook:  We put out a lot of information via our Facebook page. For those of you who are on social media, you can make sure you see all the information we share by choosing the “See First” option under “Following.” Once you’ve chosen that option, all our posts will appear at the top of your newsfeed when you log in to Facebook.

Look For Beltane Blue:  All of our volunteer coordinators will be wearing sky blue event wristbands to make it easier to spot them in the wild.  If you have questions or concerns during the event, look for someone with a Beltane Blue wristband.  We’re here to help you have a joyous and magical weekend!

This Is A Huge Party, Right? Like Burning Man, But With Trees?  Nope.  Beltane Southwest is a religious organization celebrating a religious holiday by observing several religious rituals.  Celebrants are expected to behave in a way that respects the festival as a safe and joyous spiritual setting for everyone there.

What’s The Weather Like?  Be sure to take a look at the forecast when you’re deciding what to pack! And always err on the side of layers – the temperature difference between day and night can be dramatic in our high desert climate.  Some years are gloriously warm, other years we have winter storms and Snowtane.  There are two weather stations very close to our festival site – you can check them here and here.

When Do All The Things Happen?  Screen shot the weekend’s schedule on your phone to keep it handy!

Will My Phone Work?  Maybe?  Cellular coverage is pretty spotty out in the wilderness. If you’re planning on shopping at Merchants’ Row, bring cash instead of counting on merchants being able to process your credit card. Keep your phone in airplane mode if possible, to avoid draining your battery. A portable battery pack you can charge your phone with is a good addition to your emergency supplies.

I Just Want To Come Up For The Maypole Ritual!  Why Do I Have To Do A Community Service Shift?  The Maypole ritual, like the other parts of Beltane Southwest, does not happen in a vacuum but arises from the effort the entire festival community puts into the event.  We have zero paid staff, so every bit of the work that is required to run the event, from checking people in at the gate to running rituals to refilling handwashing stations to transporting the Maypole to dousing the fires at night, and everything else in between, is provided by festival attendees.  We are proud to say that our festival family takes service seriously – 97% of our 400+ celebrants contributed at least one shift last year, and many people took several shifts!  This allows us to keep ticket prices low, and helps to build a sense of community and shared purpose among participants.  Asking for a day pass is asking to enjoy the benefit of the work more than four hundred other people have put in to make it possible for you to dance around the Maypole, without contributing anything yourself.  That’s not how we approach spiritual community or spiritual celebrations at Beltane Southwest.

Where Are The Showers?  Our festival is held on barely-improved forest land. There are no cooking facilities, no electricity, and no running water. There are pit toilets and we will have small handwashing stations set up at the bathrooms.  We ask that everyone bring one gallon of water per person to donate for use in the handwashing stations, in addition to the water you bring for your personal consumption. (We recommend two gallons per person per day.)

Is Food Available For Purchase?  No.  The campground has no cooking facilities, electricity, or running water, and it is too remote for food trucks to swing by.  You are responsible for bringing your own meals and sufficient water for drinking, cooking, and washing up.  We recommend two gallons per person per day.

When Is Trash Pickup?  Pack it in, pack it out. Due to federal budget cuts, the Forest Service is not always able to provide us with trash pickup during/after the event. On-site trash cans will be sealed, so please bring heavy-duty trash bags with you and plan to take your trash home. We’ll have clear bags available for sorting your recycling into, as well.

Why Is No One Else Setting Up Camp Over *Here*?  The campground is encircled by a boundary road and all campsites must be set up INSIDE the road.  If you pitch your tent on the wrong side of the road, you’ll be required to break it down and move it.

This Is So Great, I’m Gonna Bring My Friends Up Tonight!  NO, DON’T.  Beltane Southwest is a ticketed event and we do not tolerate gate crashers.  Anyone without an event wristband will be required to leave immediately.  Ticketed attendees who bring in gate crashers may also be asked to leave, and may be banned from future events.

Can I Bring My Emotional Support Peacock?  Only qualified service animals are allowed at Beltane Southwest. It is a criminal offense under New Mexico law to falsely represent a pet, emotional support animal, comfort animal, or therapy animal as a qualified service animal.

Harm None.  Beltane Southwest is dedicated to providing a harassment-free experience for everyone, including all genders, gender identities and expressions, sexual orientations, abilities, physical appearances, body sizes, races, ages, or religions. We do not tolerate harassment of participants in any form. Participants violating Beltane Southwest’s Safe Space policy may be expelled from the festival at the discretion of the organizers.  If you are being harassed, if you notice that someone else is being harassed, or if you have any other concerns, please tell a Beltane Southwest coordinator, Order of Themis volunteer, or Silver Moon member immediately. If you do not see one in your immediate vicinity, go to the Gate or to the Silver Moon trailer. We will be happy to provide escorts, contact law enforcement, or offer whatever other assistance is required for you to feel safe for the duration of the festival. We value your safety and presence.

Hey, Look, A Wedding!  Many people have chosen to celebrate their handfasting or even hold their legal wedding at Beltane.  We honor the privacy of these celebrations as best we can given the absence of enclosed spaces on the site.  Please, unless you see the event listed on our public schedule, assume that the handfasting/wedding is by invitation only and keep a respectful distance.  Likewise, please do not crash anyone’s wedding reception!

Hospitality Suite:  The Happy Cauldron, sponsored by Ardantane Pagan Learning Center and located next to the Gate, is a gathering place and information center for everyone, especially newcomers! Stop by for shade, coffee, lemonade, snacks, and good company. The Happy Cauldron will also be presenting Beltane 101 at noon on Friday, where newcomers can learn about our festival culture, the history of the Beltane holiday, and more. Park your broom and set a spell!

Gate Schedule:  The physical gate to the site will close at 10 pm every night and reopen at 8 am every morning. If you think you’ll need to be driving out after 10 pm, please use the small parking lot next to the front gate into the site so you don’t get locked in. If you have an emergency and need to get out after hours, come to the Silver Moon trailer and the staff will open the gate for you.

Be Sure To Wear Some Flowers In Your Hair:  Our annual Head Wreath Making Workshop is scheduled from 8ish to 10ish on Saturday morning. We will have a small stock of flowers but encourage you to bring your own for your extra fabulous wreath. If head wreaths aren’t your thang, we can show you how to wrap your staff, bracelets, necklaces, etc. instead! If you have an abundance of rosemary, lavender, or anything else pretty, please donate them. Flowers are also a great part of the main ritual – please bring some special flowers to wrap in with the Maypole and share your love with community. It is a beautiful and powerful sight to call forth the May energy wearing flowers in honor of the Fruitful Goddess and Mighty Sun God. We are here to help you dress in the best of the May!

Carbon Monoxide Safety:  Keep warm but do it safely. Carbon monoxide is an odorless, highly poisonous gas that can kill you. Read and heed these detailed safety tips about tent heaters (you can see this post even if you don’t have a Facebook account).

Stay Hydrated:  Bring two gallons of potable water per person per day. The dry air, high altitude, and (please Goddess!!!) warm weather can all make you dehydrate much faster than normal. Alcohol is a diuretic and can also contribute to dehydration. Please be aware of the warning signs and watch for them in yourself and your friends! Spend the weekend with a Maypole, not an IV pole!

Bargain Shoppers:  Saturday’s schedule includes the Benefit Auction for Ardantane Pagan Learning Center. Can you donate some Pagan goodies that need new homes? Items that have been popular include:

* Ritual tools
* Musical instruments (especially drums)
* Pagan jewelry: necklaces, bracelets, cloak clasps
* Homecrafted meads, wines, and ales
* Statues of goddesses and gods
* Blades of any kind: knives, swords, athames
* Ritual clothing (especially 1-size-fits-most, like cloaks)

If you have any of these items (or others!) that you would be willing to donate, please bring them to The Happy Cauldron or to the auction itself on Saturday. And of course, we hope that everyone will be there for the (LIVE) auction Saturday afternoon–have some fun and pick up some gorgeous bargains!

Photography:  Are you familiar with our photo policy?  TAKE NOTE!  You may take photos and videos for your personal remembrance except as follows:

* Attendees who do not wish to be photographed will be given a blaze orange wristband. DO NOT PHOTOGRAPH people wearing orange wristbands, including people who are in the background of your shot. If you get home and discover you caught someone by accident, either pixelate them beyond recognition or delete the photo.
* No sharing of images on social media or other publication without the express permission of all the people in the photo/video. Please remember that religious discrimination, while illegal and wrong, is still a real thing that our community has to contend with regularly. Don’t be the reason someone loses their job or custody of their children.
* Privacy can be tricky at a camping event, but this rule is simple: Absolutely no nude photography/video.
* No commercial photography/video without advance permission from organizers.
* No photography/video of rituals without express permission from ritualists.

* SPECIAL MAYPOLE RULE: We know that the Maypole ritual is irresistibly photogenic. You may take photographs during the wrapping of the Maypole as long as you do not obstruct the wrapping AND have the express consent of all the people in your photo. Anyone tangling a selfie stick in the ribbons will be dealt with severely! Please be aware that you are still in sacred space, and limit your picture-taking so that you can be fully present to the experience.