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May


In May get a weed-hook, a crotch [fork], and a glove,
And weed out such weeds as the corn do not love.

*

A hot May makes a fat Churchyard.

*

If you would the doctor pay
leave your flannels off in May.

*

May is named for Maia Majestas, the Roman goddess of spring who encourages crops to grow. She is the chief goddess of the Seven Sisters or Pleiades and mother of Hermes. She can be equated with the Irish Queen Medb or Celtic Meave. Hawthorm, her sacred plant, blossoms during this month. Artemis, Diana, Faunus, Flora, and Pan also have dominion over this month.

The Anglo-Saxons called this month Thrimilcmonath, "thrice-milk month." In England, May was also called Sproutkale. Winnemanoth, "joy month," was the Frankish name, and the Asatru name is Merrymoon. The Irish call May Bealtaine or an Ceitean, the first weather of summer. The two weeks before Bealtaine is ceitean earrach, spring May-time, and the two weeks after Bealtaine is ceitean samhradh, summer May-time. Bealtaine, also associated the God Bel, means 'the fires of Bel'.

The first Full Moon of May is called the Flower Moon. It shares the names (Corn) Planting Moon, Hare Moon, Pink Moon, and Green Grass Moon with April. The May moon is also the Bright Moon, Dryad Moon, Milk Moon, the Moon When the Pony Sheds, the Frogs Return Moon, and Sproutkale.

The sun passes from Taurus to Gemini around May 21st. Those born in May have the lilly of the valley for their birth flower. The stone for the month of May, and for Taurus, is the emerald, though agate, chalcedony, and carnelian are sometimes mentioned for May instead, while Gemini lays claim to agate, particularly moss agate, and pearl. Aquamarine, lapis lazuli, kunzite, rose quartz, and sapphire are associated with Taurus, and chrysoprase, sapphire, and topaz are connected to Gemini.


Lunar Holy Days

In the Buddhist tradition, the first Full Moon is celebrated in honor of the enlightenment of Buddha.

The Thursday before the New Moon is the festival of Mjollnir, celebrated in honor of Thor's hammer. During the Middle Ages, this was a good time for ritual contests and trial by combat.

On the third Monday or Tuesday after Easter, the English holiday of Hocktide was celebrated. Ropes were used to "hock" or catch members of the opposite sex.

The seventh Thursday after Easter is the Russian spring festival called Semik.


The first Tuesday of May is the Ffair Ffyliaid, Fools' Fair, in Llanerfyl Wales.


1ST

On the fourth day of Floralia, Roman children made little images of Flora and decorated them with flowers in ancient times.

Litha begins at Beltane and ends at Lammas.

May Day, Beltane, La Bealtain, Cedsoman or Ceadamh (Irish for the "first of Summer"), May Day, Rood Day, Rudemas, Galan Haf, Walpurgisnacht is celebrated with bonfires atop hills, sometimes near sacred trees in honor of the coming summer and the rebirth of the sun. In Irish villages, need-fires, tein-eigin, were lit only after the one in holy Tara. Beltaine could be translated as the fire of Balor, Bel, Beli, Belinus, Belenos, or Balder. One of the traditional name for the fires of May Eve is Balder's Balefires. People dance around the fire clockwise, singing. Sometimes two fires are set, and cattle are driven between the fires to purify them. Dew gathered from the grass at dawn can be used in potions for luck. On Beltaine, drink from a well before sunrise. Wash in the morning dew, and adorn yourself with greenery. Watch the sun come up, dance round the Maypole, and otherwise abandon yourself to the season.
A girl was chosen to be queen of the games on Mayday, brightly dressed and crowned with flowers. (id.) She was refered to as the May-lady, the Queen of the May, May Queen, and the Lady of May. On the Isle of Man, a Queen of the May was chosen with her twenty maids of honor and a troop of young men for escort. In Alsace, a girl called the Little May Rose, was dressed in white, and carried a small May-tree which is bright with garlands and ribbons. Her companions collect gifts from door to door, singing a song. The produce of the year is supposed to depend on the gifts offered to these May singers. In Russia, there is the May-Day Tree, a tree dressed up in women's clothes.

Who weds in May
throws all away.

(mainly due to the beginning of farming season it seems
and time away from doing farm work that a May wedding would cause)

Last May-day I search'd to find a Snail
That might my secret Lover's name reveal;
Upon a Goosberry Bush a Snail I found,
For always Snails near Sweetest Fruit abound.
I seiz'd the Vermine, home I quickly sped,
And on the Herth the milk-white Embers spread.
Slow crawl'd the Snail, and if I right can spell,
In the soft Ashes mark'd a curious L:
Oh, may this wondrous Omen lucky prove!
For L is found in Lubberkin and Love.
-John Gay (1685-1732), The Shepherd's Week
This has become the traditional time for handfasting ceremonies, pagan wedding ceremonies, in honor of the union of the goddess and god. In Ireland however, this was the traditional time for divorces! And marriages were made in November instead.

The Landing of the Tuatha De Danann in Ireland is recalled today and their patron Mother-goddess Dana or Danann is honored. According to folklore, they were the fourth prehistoric colony to arrive in Ireland many centuries before the Christian era. They were magicians, highly skilled in science and metalworking. They inhabited Ireland for about two hundred years, until the fifth and last colony, the Milesians (Gaels), conquered them. When they had been finally defeated, they withdrew to the hills (sidhe [shee]), residing within them where they could live free from observation or attack.

Bona Dea, the good goddess, is an Italian earth-goddess. The anniversary of the foundation of her temple was held today, and prayers are offered to her for the averting of earthquakes. She was regarded as identical with Maia, Fauna, Ops, and Fatua. Her identification with the old Roman Goddess Maia, who gave her name to the month of May, may have arisen from the accident that both were worshipped on May Day. Maia or Maia Majestas was one of the Pleiads. She was held to be the wife of Vulcan, and to whom the flamen (priest) of that god made offering today. The Good Goddess was also called Damia, and her priestess bore the title Damiatrix. This points to an identification or confusion of the Good Goddess with the Greek goddess Damia (possibly the same as Demeter).
The Arvales, 'priests of the field,' held their chief festival on three days in May, the 1st and 3rd in Rome and the 2nd in the grove. This was a college of priests consisting of twelve life-members chosen from the most distinguished senatorial families by co-optation who worshipped of Dea Dia, the supposed founder of their fraternity. The reigning Emperor was always a member. Their symbol was a white fillet and a wreath of ears of corn.

Tanat or Tanith, a Phoenician moon goddess, is honored today.

Braggi and Iduna are honored today.

In 1776, the Order of the Illuminati was founded in Bavaria by Adom Weishaupt.

2ND

This is the fifth day of the Floralia.

The goddess Elena or Helen is goddess of the holy road (the four royal roads of Britain). The old straight tracks and causeways of Wales are her holy roads called Sarn Helen.

In England, an annual fertility festival is held featuring a man on a hobbyhorse, a fiendish mask, and pointed hat.

Tane Matsuri is Rice Planting today and tomorrow in Japan.

Princess Ysahodhara, the wife of Buddha is honored in India with an annual festival.

Bona Dea, the good goddess of Roman tradition, was honored with fires tonight and tomorrow as the goddess of women's mysteries. The Arvales honored Bona Dea in her grove with a highly complicated ceremony. This included a dance in the temple of the goddess to which they sang a hymn so antiquated that few understood its meaning. Secret offerings were made to her, and sows were sacrificed to promote fertility.

Osiris Goes Forth from His mountain on the 18th day of Payni according to the Egyptian calendar.

3RD

Matrons and the Vestal Virgins held a secret festival for Bona Dea on behalf of the public welfare in the house of the officiating consul or praetor of the city on the night of May third to the fourth. The mistress of the house presided, and the women performed a dance accompanied by wind and stringed instruments. All the statues of the men were carefully covered with a veil where the ceremonies were observed, and the room was decorated with vine-branches and other plants and flowers. Wine was brought in, but called milk, and the covered jar containing it a honey-pot.

The Eta Aquarids meteor shower peaks on or around this date. It began on the nineteenth of April and will end on the twenty-eighth of May. It is associated with Halley�s Comet, and is best viewed in tropical regions and in the southern hemisphere.

4TH

This is the sixth and last day of the Floralia.

The Irish limited any travel they might have planned for the day to foil mischievous fairies. Wearing the coat inside out was a good fairy deterrent, and a bribe of tea and bread left on the doorstep was also effective.

The hawthorn is honored today at the festival of the Veneration of the Thorn. This is a festival of modern origin that may have been adapted from the Night of Lunantisidhe on May 16th which honors the fairy spirits of hawthorns. Holy bushes and trees marking sacred places and wells are acknowledged and new scraps of clothe were tied to their branches.

5TH

In parts of Mexico and Central America, priests offer prayers to the rain god or goddess today.

Tango no Sekko is the Japanese Boys' Festival. Carp kites fly from bamboo poles at each house for each boy in the household.

The 21st day of Payni is the Day of the Living children of Nut.

6TH

The Norwegian pagan martyr, Eyvind Kelve, was murdered on the orders of King Olaf Trygvason when he would not give up his faith.

In 1938, the Long Island Church of Aphrodite was established in West Hempstead, New York, by the Rev. Gleb Botkin, a Russian author and son of the court physician to the last czar of Russia.

7TH

Thargelia was a celebration held by the ancient Greeks and Ionians in honor of Apollo on the isle of Delos, his birth place.

8TH

The Furry Dance in the Cornish Town of Helston is one of the world's oldest surviving spring festivals. Though it is now dedicated to St. Michael the Archangel, the name may come from Flora, the Roman goddess of spring flowers, or from a Celtic word for fair. The Furry Dance is always held on May 8th, unless this day falls on a Sunday or Monday. A daylong series of processions, first of the young men and women, then the prominent citizens, is held. Assembled in long lines led by a band, people weaving in and out of houses and gardens, good luck following in their footsteps. Dancing in towns through out the country was once common on this day.

Theosophists commemorate the death of Madame Helena Petrovna Blavatsky on this day, which they call White Lotus Day.

9TH

During Lemuria, Romans thought the gates between this world and the next opened on the ninth, eleventh, and thirteenth, allowing restless lemures to pour through into our world. At midnight, when all things are sleeping and silent, worshippers brought gifts to the dead and made the la fica or mano fica (fig) sign against the evil eye (made by closing all the fingers into a fist, and thrusting the thumb between the first and second fingers). The male head of every household performed a midnight ritual on each of the three nights of the festival. After washing his hands three times, he would walk through the house, spitting or tossing black beans behind for the ghosts. Washing his hands again, he would strike a brass vessel and call out nine times, �Shades of my father, depart� or �These I cast; with these beans I redeem me and mine�. The ghost is thought to gather the beans, following unseen behind.

On the 25th day of Payni, The Akhet Eye pleases Ra.

10TH

The sacred marriage of the God Shiva to the goddess Meenakshi is celebrated by faithful followers in Madurai, India. Sacred hymns are sung and offerings of incense and white flower petals are made at all the temples dedicated to Shiva.

Tin Hau, the Chinese goddess of the North Star and the sea, is honored with a festival in Hong Kong. Chinese legend says Tin Hau, the daughter of a fisherman in China's Fujian Province, had visions that enabled her to predict storms. On one occasion she saved her father's boat from a terrible storm and in other stories she saved people from drowning. Chinese fishermen regard her as their protector and Tin Hau temples dot China's coastline wherever there are fishing communities. Her birthday is celebrated to bring safety, security, fine weather and full nets during the coming year. Seafarers adorn with their boats with colorful ribbons praising the goddess for past protection and praying for future luck. The boats are loaded with symbols of devotion and with offerings to the goddess.

Neith goes forth along the river on the 26th day of Payni.

11TH

This is the second night of Lemuria.

In 1659, the Puritans of the Massachusetts Bay Colony banned all celebrations of Christmas in the New World after declaring the event to be a Pagan festival of superstition and "a great dishonor [sic] of God." In England, Christmas festivities had been banned by the Puritans seven years earlier. It was one year later, when Charles II was restored to the throne, that the law banning the celebration of Christmas was repealed.

The Eisheilige, or "Ice Saints," are noted from May 11th through the 15th in southern Germany. These "Strong Lords" bring unseasonably cold and/or wet weather. Their names, Mamertius, Pancratius (or Pancras), Servatius, Bonifatius, and Cold Sophie, are Christianized forms of the Swabian presiding spirits of the days. "Saint" Mamertius is honored today.

On the Isle of Man, Witches and Fairies are considered especially active. In Ireland, the Lunantishees are the fairy tribes that guard the blackthorn trees or sloes. No stick may be cut on the eleventh of November or May.

Today is the Guatemalan Rain Ceremony.

12TH

"Saint" Pancras is honored.

The annual Belgium Cat Parade is celebrated in honor of the furry feline, an animal sacred to the ancient Egyptians and often used as a familiar of Witches.

Aranya Shashti, a god of the woodlands, is honored in India with an annual festival. He is identified with the Pagan horned deities Pan and Cernunnos.

13TH

This is the third day of Lemuria.

"Saint" Servatius is honored.

On this day in the year 1917, the Goddess in the guise of the Virgin Mary appeared to three peasant children in Fatima, Portugal. The event, which was one of six divine appearances from May 13 to October 13, drew worldwide attention.

14TH

"Saint" Bonifatius is honored.

The Festival of the Midnight Sun is celebrated annually by pagans in Norway. The festival, which pays homage to the ancient Norse goddess of the sun, begins at sunrise, marking the beginning of ten consecutive weeks without the darkness of night.

Widow Robinson of Kidderminster, England, and her two daughters arrested for using magic to try to prevent the return of Charles II from exile, 1660.

This is the 30th day of Payni in the Egyptian calendar. Thoth appears with Shu to bring back Tefnut. This is also the Panegyric of Isis. Osiris was found and Isis rejoiced.

15TH

"Saint" Cold Sophie is honored today and extra cold weather was expected.

The Argei Rites of the Vestal virgins were held in the argeorum sacraria, twenty-seven shrines located through out the city. These shrines were consecrated by the early Roman king Numa. The procession to each shrine was led by the Vestal virgins, the Pontifex Maximus, and a few magistrates. At each Argei, paraders paused to pick up a straw puppet made to resemble an old man. All twenty-seven puppets were carried to the Pons Sublicus, Rome's oldest bridge, and thrown into the Tiber River. It is thought this rite regulated the water supply for the coming year.

Maiae inuict is a festival in honor of Maia and Mercury. Maia is a daughter of Atlas and Pleione and one of the seven Pleiades. She is a goddess of the Full Moon. She is honored on the inauguration of his temple.

The ancient Egyptian month of Epipi begins. The Netjer (Egyptian 'deity') of the month is Wadjet. There were festivals of Hathor and Bast and the great feast of the Southern heavens.

16TH

On this night it is customary to pay homage to the fairy guardians of blackthorn trees. They are wizened little stick figures with long arms and fingers for climbing between the thorns. According to one legend, they only leave their trees during full moons.

The famous Italian spiritualist-medium, Eusapia Palladino passed away in 1918. She is most famous for her ability to enter a state of trance and levitate during seances.

According to the ancient Egyptian Calendar, the Netjerts (Goddesses) feast in their temples.

The Savitu-Vrata is an Indian festival.

17TH

Dea Dia was honored today in her aspect as the cosmos, mother of everything.

Childless couples in Obando town in the Philippines dance at a special fertility festival today.

18TH

The Yoruba tribe of Nigeria revere twins who are honored with special dinners today. If one of the twins has died, a special doll is made to take its place so that the living twin is not drawn into death as well.

This is Greek the Feast of Pan.

19TH

Apollon was the sacred day of Apollo, god of music, poetry, divination, and sunlight.

In the year 1780, a strange and unexplained darkness draped over most of New England, turning daytime into night. Many folks believed that a Salem Witch's curse was responsible for the day of darkness, since no other explanation for the phenomenon has ever been found.

On the 5th day of Epipi, Hathor returns to Punt, and the Netjers are saddened.

20TH

A sacred festival called the Plynteria was celebrated annually in ancient Greece in honor of Athena, the goddess of wisdom and battle, and the patroness of the city of Athens (which was named after her). It included the ritual cleansing of her statue, followed by prayers in the Parthenon and feasting.

21ST

Plato was born in 429BC.

The 7th day of Epipi commemorates the Sailing of the netjers after Hathor.

In 1911, Peter Hurkos was born in the Netherlands. Developing astonishing psychic powers after recovering from a coma, he became world-famous for solving crimes though the divinatory art of psychometry. He passed away in Los Angeles on May 25, 1988.

Gwydion Pendderwen was born in Berkeley, California in 1946. He was a Celtic Bard, a cofounder of the Faery Tradition of Witchcraft, and the founder of a Neo-Pagan networking organization called Nemeton. He died in the Autumn of 1982 as a result of a tragic automobile accident.

This is the Egyptian holy day of Tefnut.

22ND

Ragnar Lodbrok, a Viking leader, was honored with this day. After being captured in Northumbria, he was tortured and killed by being thrown into a pit of poisonous snakes.

In East Anglia, this day was chosen for collection of dandelions for dandelion wine.

The Earth Religion Anti-Abuse Act was adopted in 1988.

We, the undersigned, as adherents of Pagan and Neo-Pagan Earth Religions, including Wicca, or Neo-Pagan Witchcraft, practice a variety of positive, life-affirming faiths that are dedicated to healing, both of ourselves and of the Earth. As such, we do not advocate or condone any acts that victimize others, including those proscribed by law. As one of our most widely-accepted precepts is the Wiccan Rede's injunction to "harm none", we absolutely condemn the practices of child abuse, sexual abuse, and any other form of abuse that does harm to the bodies, minds or spirits of such abusees. We recognize and revere the divinity of Nature in our Mother the Earth, and we conduct our rites of worship in a manner that is ethical, compassionate and constitutionally protected. We neither acknowledge nor worship the Christian devil, "Satan", who is not in our Pagan pantheons. We will not tolerate slander or libel against our churches, clergy or congregations, and we are prepared to defend our civil rights with such legal action as we deem necessary and appropriate.

23RD

Rosalia, the rose festival, honored the goddesses Flora and Venus in ancient Rome.

Madb Dydd, the Day of the Dark Goddess, begins at sundown.

24TH

This day was sacred to the Mothers, three goddesses worshiped in Celtic countries as bringers of prosperity and good harvests.

The birth of the Greek moon-goddess Artemis (who also presides over hunting and wild beasts) is remembered. As a lunar goddess, she has been an influential archetype for many Witches and worshipers of the contemporary Goddess religion. Artemis is equivalent to the Roman moon-goddess Diana and is identified with Luna, Hecate, and Selene.

The feast day of Hermes Trismegistus, patron of alchemy, is celebrated today.

An annual harvest ritual called Bonn Chroat Preah Nongkoal, or Sacred Furrow Day, is held in Cambodia. As part of the rite, the farmland is plowed by members of the royal family in order to appease the ancient gods of the harvest, ensuring the fertility of the land. After circling the rice field three times, the procession stops at a chapel where Brahmins invoke the protection of the Gods. The sacred cows are released from their harnesses and guided to seven silver trays containing rice, corn, bean, and other edibles. Predictions are made for the coming year based on what they choose. If they choose the cereals, the harvest will be good, but if they eat herbs, cattle diseases are to be feared. Rain will be abundant and peace will reign if they prefer the water, while the alcohol, is an augury of trouble in the Kingdom.

25TH

In Europe (especially France), this day is sacred to Saint Sarah of the Gypsies and also to an ancient triple Goddess who rose from the waters of the ocean.

In ancient Greece, the birthday of Apollo, the twin brother of the goddess Artemis, was celebrated annually on this date.

In the year 1581, famed occultist and alchemist John Dee first realized his natural gift for looking into the future through the art of crystal-gazing. He served for years as the royal astrologer of Queen Elizabeth and had a reputation as a powerful wizard.

This is a Japanese holy day in Celebration of the Tao.

26TH

The annual festival of Fontinalia was celebrated by the Romans. It is traditional for Pagans and Witches (especially in Ireland and Great Britain) to throw flowers into springs and wells decorated with wreaths.

The Ludi Saeculares, the Secular (Centennial) Games, were held in honor of Proserpine and Pluto/Dis, Diana, and the Moerae (Parcae). The games take their name from the word saeculum which originally meant a period stretching roughly a century. Devotees of the festival attributed the healing of epidemics, gangrenes and illnesses to its practice.

The 12th day of Epipi is the Holiday of the receiving of Ra.

27TH

The Ludi Saeculares continues.

In the year 1948, Morning Glory Zell was born in Long Beach, California. She is a priestess and vice-president of the Church of All Worlds, and is a practitioner of Celtic Pagan Shamanism.

The 13th day of Epipi is the Ceremony of Horus the Beloved.

28TH

The Ludi Saeculares continues. The Pythian Games were enacted every four years in ancient Greece. It honored the slain serpent-goddess Python, and was celebrated in Delphi, the most venerated shrine in all of Greece.

29TH

The Ludi Saeculares continues. Mars was honored as an agricultural god with feasting, prayer, and purification rites. A pig, a sheep, and an ox were sacrificed to him after they had been driven around the limits of the farm or village.

Ambarvalia was the Roman festival of purification in honor of Ceres and Dea Dia. People would ritually walk ploughed fields three times to gain divine favor for their growing crops. The word is derived from ab ambiendis arvis, 'going round the fields.' Celebrants were crowned with oak leaves, singing hymns to Ceres, and entreating her to preserve their corn. A prayer was formerly addressed to Mars, and afterwards to Ceres and other deities of agriculture. There were two festivals of that name celebrated by the Romans. The other occurs in July.

Oak Apple Day was held in honor of oak trees after Charles II escaped from Cromwells' army by hiding in an oak tree. Oak leaves were worn until midday.

On the 15th day of Epipi, Horus hears prayer in the presence of the Netjers.

30TH

The Ludi Saeculares continues.

This is a day holy to Frigg, Norse Queen of Heaven and wife of Odin.

In the year 1431, French heroine and military leader Joan of Arc was burned alive at the stake as punishment for the alleged crimes of Witchcraft, heresy, and 'being given to the forbidden arts of magic and divination.'

Ma'at is taken to Ra in Heliopolis on the 16th day of Epipi.

31ST

The Ludi Saeculares continues. In addition to Proserpine and Pluto/Dis, Diana, and the Moerae (Parcae), Latona, the Eilithyiae, and Terra Mater were honored. The games were performed by the Roman State to commemorate the end of one saeculum and the beginning of a new one in compliance with a sibylline mandate that so long as the games were kept, the empire should never fail. The saeculum was defined as the longest span of human life and was fixed in the Republic as an era of a hundred years. The ceremony took place in the Campus Martius near the Tiber at a spot known as Tarenturn or Terentum.

On this day, the annual Triple Blessings of the God Buddha is observed by Theravada Buddhists. To celebrate the god's birth, enlightenment, and passage into Nirvana, shrines and houses are decorated with flowers and special prayer flags. Offerings of flowers, incense, and rice are also made. The Triple Blessing often lasts for three consecutive days.