A True Beltane Story

New Brunswick is an old, odd, urban city filled with its own collection of lunatic homeless.

There’s a tall guy in a fur coat that stands on the corner and asks you for change in seven different languages.
There’s the guy I call the “town crier” who consistently roams through the city at six a.m. shouting that “the communist hungarian hippie gypsy gangsters are taking over the city– and it’s unconstitutional!” There’s a guy who loves coasting down the hill to the train station in his wheelchair— in rush hour traffic.

Usually we treat these homeless, the result of Reagan defunding the psychiatric hospitals, as outsiders: we leave an offering of a quarter and go on. We’re aware, however, since our encounter with Pan a few years ago (see Druids Progress # 13) that the Gods find the homeless a convenient conduit for their own special magic.

It was Beltane Eve, a few years ago. Green Man had organized a ritual, maypole, and games in Erica and Pattie’s backyard in Morristown, about an hour away. Everything was going according to plan, E & P had decked out a polyurethane maypole, and there were about 50 people coming, including folks from New Moon in New York City. All of the festivities were to take place outdoors. The weather prediction, however, was for lots and lots of rain throughout the weekend.

Norma and I were walking back from somewhere when we spotted a homeless guy sitting on our building’s outside stairs. Usually we don’t offer anything to people sitting on our stairs, because we don’t want a crowd sitting there when we get home from work, but the guy said hello, and said, out of the blue, “Listen, for a dollar,
I can change the weather.”

Well, having heard him say that, and faced with the prospect of entertaining 50 people in Pattie & Erica’s living room, I reached down into my pockets.
I had two quarters. Norma had no money at all.

“I’ve got fifty cents,” I said.

“It’ll take a dollar,” he replied.

So, I ran upstairs, grabbed a dollar and took it down to him.

He said, “Thank you, good night, and have a beautiful weekend.”


I’ll bet you’re wondering if it rained.

It didn’t. The storm veered off into the Atlantic, and we had a fine, sunny Beltane, with games, merrimaking,
morris dancing, maypole and Druid ritual. Pretty good deal, really, for a buck.


I’ll bet you’re wondering if I made all this up.

I didn’t.


–Edwin Chapman, Editor-In-Coherent