Celebrating the May Pole
Philip Deal’s Celebration of the May Pole!
It’s midnight and the moon is full. A group of lonely witches in cloaks are walking through the forest headed to the sacred grove. They assemble themselves in front of the alter dressed with fruit, honey, and wine. Freshly cut flowers and incense fill the misty air. Holding hands they walk in a circle around the alter chanting “Drink your fill, do your will”. As they raise energy for the circle they move into a trance. Drums start to fill the air as they shake their tambourines. As they become more and more aroused with the heat of the spring air they begin to disrobe. Barefoot and almost naked they touch themselves as they dance around the alter. Then the high priestess arrives.
Casting a circle she blesses the witches and invokes the spirits. She leads them deeper into the forest until they reach the sacred pole. It is the phallus of the horned God. The high priestess tells the witches to go dance and invoke the energy of Pan. As the witches dance around the may pole they take hold of the ribbons and wrap themselves around the may pole dancing in and out of the silks. Climbing and inverting on the pole they hang their legs around Pan’s phallus. Spinning and twirling in ecstasy they lose themselves in their dance. They are bringing back fertility to the land. Drinking and laughing they watch each other move erotically around the May pole, each woman showing her body and talent. As they dance they do not realize that Pan himself has been awaken by the drums, laughs, and giggles of the witches.
He hides in the trees looking down on his devotees with lustful eyes. The women are nude frolicking and gyrating around the pole. They roll around in the grass and spread their legs drawing in the erotic energy of the god. With a smile on Pan’s face he becomes aroused while watching witches feast, dance, and celebrate the rite of spring. Tomorrow the land will blossom and the warmth will come back to the earth.Somewhere far off a man is running by the ocean and hills. The fog envelopes his naked body as he passes through the forest, he comes to the alter of his God. He bows before the image of the Shiva Lingam then raises his arms, he twirls and spins around the sacred pole. He climbs and inverts, he performs the most elaborate feats of gymnastics. He holds Shiva’s pole as if it were his own. He dances to the pounding of a drum, his feet hit the earth, and his body burns like fire… this is the dance of the God. This is Beltane.
Yes, I admit that those stories are based in history, mythology, and the contemporary views of Witchcraft or Wicca. The heart of my story honors a tradition that has existed for thousands of years in the pagan traditions of old, be it Tantra, the fertility cults of Africa, the Celtic traditions, or modern day Wicca. The dance of the may pole is a holiday that celebrates fertility, sexuality, and freedom. This tradition is still being practiced in many lands as a holy rite to invoke the coming of spring. I know that if I were to say that the May Pole is the origin of pole dance I would be ripped to shreds by the countless number of women in the pole industry who advocate that pole fitness is a sport, has nothing to do with strippers, and is not a form of phallic worship. Vertical gymnastics and the such. I am not saying it is, or maybe it is, or really who cares. But the foundation of the nude woman dancing sensually around a pole is a sacred art and tradition that had existed way before strippers came on the scene in gentleman’s clubs.
Why are we afraid to honor our roots? Is there really something bad or wrong acknowledging that this is a tradition?The feminist and female empowerment movement surrounding pole has, for a long time, cut the masculine energy out of pole or at least showed no respect for the symbolism. That pole is a female thing, hence so many studios refusing to allow men to take classes. Well, by seeing the trend of rising male pole stars in this industry the balance is starting to come full circle. The Universe abhors a vacuum, and balances itself in all things. I stumbled upon this Pole industry as clumsily as I fell upon Wicca. It came out of nowhere and to my surprise.
Being a Pagan I had already made the connection that the pole is a phallic symbol, and most of the time beautiful naked women paraded around it in their Goddess like glory. But I didn’t think it was for myself, or a way I could honor the Horned God at Beltane. I always enjoyed watching my girlfriends perform and I loved raining money down on them. I never saw a man dance with a pole. But when I got a job stripping in NC I suddenly worked in a club where there were poles. There was a dancer named Smoke, and he could pole. He was extremely masculine, stylish, and graceful. And every time he performed you couldn’t take your eyes off his muscular body twirling and spinning around the pole. He climbed and inverted and hung off the pole like a possum in the dead of night! Actually he moved like a cat, and his execution of pole moves were smooth and flawless.
He was the one who opened my eyes and pointed me to YouTube to look for other male pole dancers, that is when I saw Jungle Cat and Bad Azz the first time. Then guys doing Chinese pole and all other kinds of gymnastics. After I left NC I never heard about him again. So when I got home to Virginia I knew I had to buy an X-Pole and keep practicing. I had no teachers, the studios in Virginia Beach would not allow me to take classes because I was a male. So I became a member of Studio Veena and kept practicing until I moved to Boston and was allowed to take classes. I am eternally grateful to Supershag for inviting me into their studio. There is a lot of new male talent out there in clubs. I have gone down to Springfield, Massachusetts to dance at a club called Xstatic that has all male nude pole dancers. And some of them are amazing. At North Shore Pole Fitness we have tons of guys who take classes and I have men in my class every week.
I wanted to share my journey in pole with you today because I know that there is still a lot of shame and guilt for women wanting to be stripper stylish but not allowing anybody to know about it. Having public groups go private over the shame. Regardless of “how” you pole you should be joyful! You should love your body and not allow any other person to make you feel uncomfortable or “slut shamed”. I am also a porn star and recently was drug through the mud about the kind of profession I choose to work in. Was I phased? Hell no. I am a pleasure activist, an ecstatic nature mystic. My work and pole dancing has no conflicts with my religion, actually they compliment each other. I am shameless.
You see I am posing another question to all of you. How does pole fit into your personal expression of gratitude to God? Pole dancing can be a dance of praise as well. I know there are some groups out there that pole for Jesus! And I think that’s awesome too. Tonight the NSPF Witches will be holding a ritual and pole dancing for May Day. Just know that Pole’s roots run deep, what we have today is a shadowy reflection of a joyful ancient dance that has been danced for thousands upon thousands of years. That’s nothing to be ashamed of. Love pole for fitness, pole to feel sexy, pole to praise, or pole in your room late at night under the moonlight to feel the magic of all the other Witches that danced the dance of the Goddess before you. Honor both the male and female aspects of pole fitness. Do not hide your stripper style if you love it. And never ever allow anyone to put you down or try to shame you for your choices or life path. On this May day, or Beltane, dance a little dance for the God and Goddess.