Beltane, the first of May, is celebrated by modern pagans as the festival of vitality, sexuality and creativity. People get together to light fires, dance, and share food and drink, enjoying the warmer weather as the earth flowers with new life. This is the time when lovers jump over fires and slip into the woods together. In this gallery, the lovers celebrate the turning of the year not with sex, but with a ceremonial, outdoor birching.
After their courteous, formal meeting, the lovers remove their masks to drink from the ritual cup. The May Queen raises her skirts and places her hands on the trunk of the tree to receive the birch. This is a sacred rite, in which man and woman embody the polarised forces of God and Goddess, but it's also the playful union of human partners, exploring their passions in consensual celebration of the gifts of nature.
I've always been fascinated by the idea of sacred kink. At a personal level, spanking and BDSM can lead to a state of personal exaltation that can feel very spiritual, if you're that way inclined. And the idea of a spankee becoming the object of a ritual, offering up their body to the needs of a ceremony in the name of a higher power, is a form of noble objectification that I find very hot.
This photoset explores the more personal end of that spectrum, telling the story of a couple who choose to consummate their Beltane rite with spanking rather than sex. Alex Reynolds and Thomas Cameron looked magnificent in their Mayday costumes, and both played their roles with potency and grace. It's always a pleasure to work with likeminded people who share my enthusiasm for my more unusual scene ideas, and bring my visions to life so handsomely. Thankyou, both!
Photography: Nimue Allen