Maypole Joe Memorial Scholarship (MJMS)

"Maypole Joe" and “Jackie Beltane” were NYC PPP’s original advisors and biggest supporters when we began this adventure in 2000. Our goal was to bring the first Pagan Pride Day event to New York City in September of 2001.

Jackie and Joe were there to share their knowledge, experience and encouragement. They lent their people, equipment and hands to help! We will be hosting our 11th event this September and know that without them, we would have never gotten off the ground.

Two weeks before our first event, our beloved City and the world were changed forever. September 2001 is a time no one will forget.  In spite of the traumatic events which included a venue change (Battery Park was being used as barracks at the time) the first NYC Pagan Pride Day came together in Washington Square Park, highlighted by a beautiful healing ritual created by Joe and Jackie.

Maypole Joe was an amazing person who was always there to lend a helping hand. He was generous with his support and knowledge. Joe passed in 2002, but we want to remember and honor him each year by awarding a scholarship in his name. MJMS is one of the very few Pagan specific scholarships. While it is a modest amount ($300), we hope to build on it each year.

Congratulations to Rosa Castro,

2011 recipient of the MJM Scholarship!

We had many wonderful applicants this year and it was truly a difficult decision. The work that our fellow Pagans are doing for the NY community is inspiring! This year we are pleased to announce Rosa Castro as the recipient of the Maypole Joe Memorial Scholarship for 2011.  Below is a letter to the community from Rosa.

I hold a BA degree in Psychology, with certification in Addiction and Psychotherapy. I have been working in the mental health field since 1985, and in alternative healing since 1989. I have been an Intuitive therapist and Teacher, and training students in metaphysics and healing since 1994. I am also an Interfaith Minister, which has allowed me to learn about various spiritual paths and how to work with them. I am entering a Graduate Program in order to obtain a Master's degree in Mental Health Counseling. This degree will enable me to get a license in NY State which will allow me to enter private practice.

Mental health is essential for all communities regardless of spiritual background, but being able to provide services to the Pagan community is especially important. Typical mental health treatment does not understand the cultural diversity of Pagans or our belief systems. Many people are misdiagnosed or medicated for working with the spirit world or for having visions, which is an integral component of our spirituality.

As a mental health professional I will be able to help Pagans dealing with mental health issues without having to hide their spirituality. Having a mental health license will also allow me to not only offer private therapy, but also accept insurance and Medicaid, relieving away the burden of individuals having to pay out of pocket.

Thank you!

Rosa Castro

MJMS is one of the few Pagan-specific scholarships offered. If you would like to be part of our scholarship committee to help with raising funds or publicity, please contact us at