Each May at the Festival of Bliss & Blessings, CAYA bids farewell to our Winter Court and welcomes our new May Court. This year, as we crowned Rúndaingne Ash, Quetzal and Melissa Ra Karit to our 8th annual May Court, we asked High Priestess Lady Yeshe Rabbit to talk a little about the tradition of the May Court within CAYA and the role that the Court plays in our Coven.
Can you talk a little about the history of the May Court in CAYA, and share any memorable moments or stories?
The idea of a May King and Queen is not unique to CAYA, and different Pagan communities handle this sort of thing in their own ways, but in CAYA I originally envisioned the May and Winter Courts as being emblematic of our community’s well-being...that if we, as a Coven, honored and uplifted these individuals, it would be a blessing for us all. Our first May Court was named in 2008, I believe, with Greywolf and Ladybug presiding, and we have had many courts since then, obviously. One magical thing to note is that in the years we have been doing this, several of our May Queens conceived much-desired children during their tenure.
What roles do the May King and Queen fulfill within CAYA?
They symbolize our collective hopes and efforts toward growth and abundance in health, wealth, and love, and represent the spirit of Spring and possibility. On a more practical level, they prepare and deliver messages from their own personal stores of wisdom at each CAYA Sabbat ritual for the community to contemplate.
This year, we have added a new May Court role, the May Nymph. Can you tell us a little about that role and why it is important at this time?
As our community shifts with the changing tides of society, it has become increasingly important in CAYA that we hold spaces for those who destabilize the gender binary. King and Queen in CAYA have never been tethered to gender, and we have had female Kings, though no male Queens in the Court yet. I suspect that is simply because there are probably 3 women to every man in CAYA! But, regardless, the King and Queen roles are not limited to men and women respectively...anyone of any gender identity can be a May King or Queen. However, the titles of King and Queen are still rooted in a binary construct. Therefore, the new designation of Nymph represents our commitment to specifically creating space to honor those who transcend binary gender identities, who inhabit the magical spaces of being betwixt and between, who are committed to sharing their own beauty with the world, and who have liberated themselves to express their unique gender and sexuality, not confined by traditional or stereotypical roles. Though mythologically the word “nymph” is frequently associated with the feminine, in this context it suggests the transcendent, magical, ethereal, ephemeral quality that those who like to play with gender expression often bring to our circles in terms of beauty, art, adornment, and creativity.
What special qualities, attributes, knowledge, skills, etc., do we look for when choosing a May King, Queen, and Nymph?
Creativity, abundance, celebration of life, ability to rejoice and find/manifest goodness, lightness of heart, willingness to bring forth new ideas, and delight are key to these roles, but sometimes we might even crown someone who struggles with one of these things as a way to help support them in finding that joy or that lightness of heart or whatever it is that seems hard at the time.
Do you have any particular advice or words of wisdom for this year's May Court as they don their crowns?
“Let the beauty you love be what you do.” - Rumi
To celebrate the Festival of Biss & Blessings and the crowning of our May Court, CAYA Choir performs the song "Hail the May King & Queen!*, written by CAYA High Priestess Lady Yeshe Rabbit and members of the 2008 CAYA Beltane Committee for the crowning of our first May Court.
* Note: This song was written before the addition of the May Nymph, perhaps next year CAYA Choir will have another song to sing!