The Mystery of the Priest Dressed Like a Woman

In many cultures and traditions, such as the Celtic Beltaine procession, the High Priest or priests are often depicted as wearing women’s clothing. In modern days, the meaning and symbolism has become blurred in the fact of social stigmatisms and every shifting definitions of masculinity within cultures and societies. However, to truly understand the mysteries of the Priest dressed in women’s clothing in the Celtic traditions, we need to understand a few basics.

In the functioning of the Celtic duality and in the subsequent myths, the female empowers the male. One such example is reflected in the Arthurian myth of the Lady of the Lake giving Excalibur to King Arthur. The Celtic mother raises her son and then when he is of age to enter the company of men, she then empowers him by arming him and delivering him to the company of men.

This concept, however, is difficult for the current socio-perception of some men and women that ardently cling to the conception that a man stands completely alone. Then as the man stands alone, he then chooses his mate and his lands to rule over and rules them completely. The Celtic mentality, however, is not of such a linear design, but rather that of a circular labyrinth or spiral. The two aspects dance together from beginning to end. There is never truly a “competition” of power, but rather the exaltation of one’s respective gender that should complement the exaltation of the other gender. Power acquired by one gender from or over the other gender is not truly empowerment, but rather a temporary thievery of power that rapidly dissipates. Even Arthur’s Camelot fell after he was parted from the feminine aspect.

This does not mean in any respect that the female aspect overpowers the male aspect either. While the female aspect empowers the male aspect, he must then take forth his empowerment and utilize it in such a manner that he chooses which should mutually empower the female with protection and foster an environment of suitable growth for the female to exalt as well. Then, they both reunite and reflect the creative forces of the universe and the Great Spirit from which all things come.

In other words, the female chooses carefully the right male to empower and then the right male takes up the “sword” and uses the power that has been given to him hopefully, in a productive and prosperous manner. If not used in for the highest good; however, the female aspect often will abandon him and in time, the empowerment that was given to the male will dissipate. He cannot procreate on his own. He may create a flower princess such as Bloudewedd or Gwenhwyfar (“Guineviere”) as a controllable perception of what he wants to see in the female aspect, but they are man-made and do not procreate as not having the full essence of the female aspect, but only the aspects that the male wished to keep without other feminine reflections that fully empower the female and make a productive union.

Therefore, Beltaine is a critical festival for the Celtics. It is during Beltaine that the female aspect overshadows and empowers the male aspect with her creative essence so that he may go forth and then manifest. The essences of the Goddess covers the God and empowers him so that he can carry forth the creativeness She has imparted to him and cause the vegetation to grow. Where He falls in the Autumn, she is the keeper of the regenerative forces of natures until She reimparts them to him after his rebirth at Yule in the following Beltaine.

Therefore, the priests during Beltaine will often dress in women’s clothing symbolizing and encouraging this cross-pollination of creative forces from the female to the male. In the Celtic traditions, the man dressed as a woman is often honored as presenting himself as being representative for the other males. He is willing to be shadowed by the feminine aspect and, thus, it is imparted into the male aspect of the Tribe, Clan, and Land.

After the procession where he has “courted” the female aspect to empower him, he then resumes the masculine aspect to fertilize/empower her as he himself has been fertilized/empowered.

Brightest of Blessings

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Patchwork Merchant Mercenaries had its humble beginnings as an idea of a few artisans and craftsmen who enjoy performing with live steel fighting. As well as a patchwork quilt tent canvas. Most had prior military experience hence the name.


Patchwork Merchant Mercenaries.


Vendertainers that brought many things to a show and are know for helping out where ever they can.

As well as being a place where the older hand made items could be found made by them and enjoyed by all.

We expanded over the years to become well known at what we do. Now we represent over 100 artisans and craftsman that are well known in their venues and some just starting out. Some of their works have been premiered in TV, stage and movies on a regular basis.

Specializing in Medieval, Goth , Stage Film, BDFSM and Practitioner.

Patchwork Merchant Mercenaries a Dept of, Ask For IT was started by artists and former military veterans, and sword fighters, representing over 100 artisans, one who made his living traveling from fair to festival vending medieval wares. The majority of his customers are re-enactors, SCAdians and the like, looking to build their kit with period clothing, feast gear, adornments, etc.

Likewise, it is typical for these history-lovers to peruse the tent (aka mobile store front) and, upon finding something that pleases the eye, ask "Is this period?"

A deceitful query!! This is not a yes or no question. One must have a damn good understanding of European history (at least) from the fall of Rome to the mid-1600's to properly answer. Taking into account, also, the culture in which the querent is dressed is vitally important. You see, though it may be well within medieval period, it would be strange to see a Viking wearing a Caftan...or is it?

After a festival's time of answering weighty questions such as these, I'd sleep like a log! Only a mad man could possibly remember the place and time for each piece of kitchen ware, weaponry, cloth, and chain within a span of 1,000 years!! Surely there must be an easier way, a place where he could post all this knowledge...

Traveling Within The World is meant to be such a place. A place for all of these artists to keep in touch and directly interact with their fellow geeks and re-enactment hobbyists, their clientele.

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