The esoteric meaning of the maypole

The maypole is often called a fertility symbol, and that’s why it’s a popular custom to dance around it at Beltane, the festival most associated with sex and fertility. But we may not know what the maypole’s dance with the red-and-white ribbons actually symbolises.

It is a depiction in dance about how the alchemical marriage takes place in the body.

The intertwining ribbons of the maypole represent the intertwining serpentine energies that course up the Central Pillar during shamanic sex practices, as I describe in my book The Sacred Sex Rites of Ishtar.

There are two of these energetic serpents – known in the Indian culture as Ida and Pingala. One is gold and the other is black. They both have their ‘nests’ just below the root chakra and are excited into rising by the nectars that are released throughout the whole body during true, magical love-making. The love creates a special musical frequency and so this is also the metaphor being enacted by the flute-playing Indian snake charmer.

After awaking, the black and gold serpents then travel up the Central Pillar, which is in the spine, and criss-cross several times at key major chakras, until they reach the chalice-shaped cup of the hypothalamus. Another name for the chalice was ‘grail’.

Beltane maypole dancing in Glastonbury, 2015

Then the two serpents’ heads hang over the edge of the grail as they excrete their red and white drops of heavenly dew which fall on to the pineal gland, in the base of the grail of the hypothalamus.

This sparks the pineal gland or third eye into life and thus the person receives the Holy Grail; he becomes enlightened to his true nature, and the nature of reality.

Shamanic sex rites confer such wisdom that it used to be that pharaohs and kings would lie with a ‘hierodule’ or sacred prostitute on the nights of their coronations. She would in fact have been a shaman whose energies were aligned with the spirits of the land, and thus she was able to initiate the country’s leader into the wisdom he would need to rule his domain.

That’s why they say that behind every great man, there’s always a woman!

There’s much more about sacred shamanic sex in my book Sacred Sex Rites of Ishtar, including a how-to bit at the end with step-by-step instructions for how we can practise it ourselves today.