Happy May Day (plus one)! Our theme this month is Blossom, a word that sounds just as lovely as the images of flowers it inspires. Yesterday was May 1, May Day, and also Beltane in the Northern Hemisphere. I have a particular love for the pagan holidays, as they’re both inspiring and real; no Hallmark holidays are these!
Beltane is considered by many pagans to be one of the two most important holidays of the year (along with Samhain in November). Often associated with revitalization and purification, Beltane celebrations typically include some element of fire, whether it be bonfires or something smaller. I’ve read that May Day specifically is considered the time where the new fires of the year are started, part of that belief in revitalization; some writings explain that these new fires were believed to give life to the spring and summer sun.
Cattle were driven through the new fires (or, more often, between two bonfires–which seems much safer) in order to purify and protect them from harm in the coming seasons. These fire celebrations were believed to bring fertility and good fortune to the community. And then there were Maypoles, and the fun tradition of leaving baskets of flowers and treats on the neighbors doors. I’m not organized enough to have ever managed to do these with my daughter, but I wish I had!
The combination of revitalization, re-birth in the form of the flora coming back into bloom, longer days for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, feels so good to me. After the gray days of late winter and early spring, when nothing seems alive–including my inspiration!–it’s just so lovely to see my garden live again, the plants blossoming, grass growing, and my story ideas begin to multiply. (Woot!)
So, this month, I’m hoping to “set a new fire” myself, one that allows fresh inspiration to blossom into fabulous new stories, reminds me to keep chasing new goals, and enjoying my ever-growing relationships with this amazing community of readers and writers.