“As it fell upon a day
In the merry month of May,
Sitting in a pleasant shade
Which a grove of myrtles made.”
– Richard Barnfield
“Now the bright morning star, day’s harbinger,
Comes dancing from the east, and leads with her
The flowery May, who from her green lap throws
The yellow cowslip, and the pale primrose.
Hail, bounteous May, that doth inspire
Mirth, and youth, and warm desire;
Woods and groves are of thy dressing,
Hill and dale doth boast thy blessing,
Thus we salute thee with our early song,
And welcome thee, and wish thee long.”
– John Milton, Song on a May Morning
My Darling Friends,
I would light the Baal Fires with you, and drive the cattle through. We would dance and carouse to the early morn, and drink of the crimson loving cup, and mark this moment in the ancient way…
Here is to Lighting The Baal Fires, here is to the May Dance. A high Holy Night and Day, of laughter, drink, and romance!
Join us, for the apex of Spring has come!
Gaia Consort – Beltane Fires
“The May-pole is up,
Now give me the cup;
I’ll drink to the garlands around it;
But first unto those
Whose hands did compose
The glory of flowers that crown’d it.”
– Robert Herrick, The Maypole, 1660
“On the first day of May the people of the crofter townland are up betimes and busy as bees about to swarm. This is the day of migrating, bho baile gu beinn (from townland to moorland), from the winter homestead to the summer sheiling. The summer of their joy is come, the summer of the sheiling, the song, the pipe and the dance, when the people ascend the hill to the clustered bothies, overlooking the distant sea from among the fronded ferns and fragrant heather, where neighbour meets neighbour, and lover meets lover.”
– Alexander Carmichael, 1845
“Flora, , Goddess of Spring, Flowers, and youthful pleasures The Queen of Spring is a beautiful and serene Goddess. She was married to Zephyrus, the west wind. Flora is the twin sister to Faunus, the god of wild creatures, originally was called Sabine was also known as Chloris to the Greeks. It was a celebration of Nature in full blossom, a carnival of sexual fun and liberty and marked by the consumption of oceans of grog. Beans and other seeds were planted, representing fecundity. Originally a movable feast controlled by the condition of the crops and flowers, it’s believed to have been instituted in 238 BCE under the command of an oracle in the Sibylline books, with the purpose of gaining from the goddess the protection of the blossoms. Games were instituted in honour of Flora at that time, but were soon discontinued before being restored in 173 BCE in the consulship of L Postumius Albinus and M Popilius Laenas as a six-day festival, after storms had destroyed crops and vines. Offerings of milk and honey were made on this day and the surrounding five days, which comprise the Florifertum. The city would have been decorated in flowers, and the people would wear floral wreaths or flowers in their hair. Day and night there were games, pantomimes, theatre and stripteases with people of all classes in their brightest clothes. Goats and hares were let loose as they represented fertility. Gift-giving for the season included small vegetables as tokens of sex and fertility.”
– May Day and the Roman Floralia
“Cherry-ripe, ripe, ripe, I cry,
Full and fair ones; come and buy.
If so be you ask me where
They do grow, I answer: There,
Where my Julia’s lips do smile;
There’s the land, or cherry-isle,
Whose plantations fully show
All the year where cherries grow.”
– Robert Herrick, Cherry Ripe, 1648
“I [Flora/Chloris] enjoy perpetual spring: the year always shines, trees are leafing, the solid always fodders. I have a fruitful garden in my dowered fields, fanned by breezes, fed by limpid fountains. My husband filled it with well-bred flowers, saying: ‘Have jurisdiction of the flower, goddess.’ I often wanted to number the colors displayed, but could not: their abundance defied measure. As soon as the dewy frost is cast from the leaves and sunbeams warm the dappled blossom, the Horae (Seasons) assemble, hitch up their colored dresses and collect these gifts of mine in light tubs. Suddenly the Charites (Graces) burst in, and weave chaplets and crowns to entwine the hair of gods. I first scattered new seed across countless nations; earth was formerly a single colour. I first made a flower from Therapnean blood [Hyakinthos the hyacinth], and its petal still inscribes the lament. You, too, narcissus, have a name in tended gardens, unhappy in your undivided self. Why mention Crocus, Attis or Cinyras’ son, from whose wounds I made a tribute soar?”
– Ovid, Fasti 5.193
Narsilion – Beltane
“May, queen of blossoms,
And fulfilling flowers,
With what pretty music
Shall we charm the hours?
Wilt thou have pipe and reed,
Blown in the open mead?
Or to the lute give heed
In the green bowers.”
– Lord Edward Thurlow, To May
“There is a garden in her face
Where roses and white lilies blow;
A heavenly paradise is that place,
Wherein all pleasant fruits do flow:
There cherries grow which none may buy
Till ‘Cherry-ripe’ themselves do cry.
Those cherries fairly do enclose
Of orient pearl a double row,
Which when her lovely laughter shows,
They look like rose-buds fill’d with snow;
Yet them nor peer nor prince can buy
Till ‘Cherry-ripe’ themselves do cry.
Her eyes like angels watch them still;
Her brows like bended bows do stand,
Threat’ning with piercing frowns to kill
All that attempt with eye or hand
Those sacred cherries to come nigh,
Till ‘Cherry-ripe’ themselves do cry.”
– Thomas Champion, Cherry Ripe, 1610
“Maia is the Oscan Earth-Goddess, and an ancient Roman Goddess of springtime, warmth, and increase. She causes the plants to grow through Her gentle heat, and the month of May is probably named for Her. Her name means “She Who is Great”, and is related to Oscan mais and Latin majus, both of which mean “more”. She is also called Maia Maiestas, “Maia the Majestic”, which is essentially a doubling of Her name to indicate Her power, as both “Maia” and “Maiestas” have their roots in latin magnus, “great or powerful”. She was honored by the Romans on the 1st and 15th of May, and at the Volcanalia of August 23rd, the holiday of Her sometimes husband, the Fire-God Vulcan. She seems to have been paired with Vulcan because they were both considered Deities of heat: through the increasing warmth of Maia’s spring season flowers and plants sprouted and grew; while Vulcan’s stronger summer heat brought the fruits to ripeness. In a later period, Maia was confused with a Greek Goddess of the same name. This Maia (whose name in Greek can take such various meanings as “midwife”, “female doctor”, “good mother”, “foster mother”, or “aunty”) was a nymph and the mother of Hermes, the trickster God of merchants, travellers, and liars; She was also said to have been the eldest and most beautiful of the seven sisters who formed the constellation of the Pleiades, whose heliacal rising (meaning when the constellation is just visible in the east before the sun rises) signalled the beginning of summer. Through this association the Roman Maia became the mother of Mercury, and Her festival on the Ides of May (the 15th) coincided with the festival commemorating the date of the dedication of His temple on the Aventine.”
– Maia Maiestas, Goddess of Spring
“For the May Day is the great day,
Sung along the old straight track.
And those who ancient lines did ley
Will heed this song that calls them back…
Pass the cup, and pass the Lady,
And pass the plate to all who hunger,
Pass the wit of ancient wisdom,
Pass the cup of crimson wonder.”
– Jethro Tull, Cup of Wonder
“For thee, sweet month; the groves green liveries wear.
If not the first, the fairest of the year;
For thee the Graces lead the dancing hours,
And Nature’s ready pencil paints the flowers.
When thy short reign is past, the feverish sun
The sultry tropic fears, and moves more slowly on.”
– John Dryden
Corvus Corax – Saltarello Ductia