Friday, May 1, 2009

May Day

It's May Day and the wheel of the year has turned halfway from where we started. May Day is the cross quarter opposite Halloween and the beginning of summer! Woo hoo! Like Halloween, May Day is a time when the veil between the worlds is thin but at this time it is not the veil to the shadow world of the dead but the veil to the bright world of the fairy that is thin. Instead of marking death with the Beloved Ancestors we celebrate life with the eternally young Fairy People.

Each of the cross quarter days, the days inbetween the solstices and equinoxes, have a door ritual associated with them. Today we still practice the Halloween ritual of soliciting treats door to door while the February and August rites are more obscure. One author suggests collecting rowan or other budding tree branches on the evening of February First, creating a bower or bouquet and hanging it over the door - all in silence. Smashing oat cakes agains the door frame as a house blessing is a common August First ritual. We all have a cultural memory of baskets or bouquets of flowers being left on doorsteps on May first. Cross quarters are the doorways to the seasons so it is all together natural to focus our celebrations on actual doorways on these days.

On the morning of May Day this year I woke up early and went for a walk around my neighborhood looking for flowers. The flowering of spring is reaching a crescendo and I had lots of variety to choose from. I collected a big bunch of lilacs, cherry blossoms, woodland hyacinth, basket of gold, candy tuft and a few other flowers from yards and lots around my house. They smelled so, so good! I wrapped them into little bundles tied with yarn and hung them on my coworkers' doorknobs in the morning. Everyone loved them. Happy May Day!

I've also been out collecting herbs, greens and flowers for my table as these evening stretch longer and longer after work. I collected nettles earlier in the spring but have found lots of mint, sorrel, melissa and comfrey this last week. Many people have heard that comfrey has liver toxins so should not be eaten, but I believe Susun Weed who has been consuming comfrey infusions and leaves for years. I also found a whole patch of wild mustard and have been enjoying the flowers in my salads. Who doesn't like flowers in their salads?

How are you celebrating the beginning of summer? What flowers are blooming around you? Do you feel a connection to the fairy people or other little people? How do you celebrate that connection?

Happy summer! Happy May Day!

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