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Next Holiday: Beltane May 1, 2018

May Day ushers in the fifth month of the modern calendar year, the month of May. This month is named in honor of the Goddess Maia, originally a Greek mountain nymph, later identified as the most beautiful of the Seven Sisters, the Pleiades. By Zeus, she is also the mother of Hermes, God of magic. Maia’s parents were Atlas and Pleione, a sea nymph. 

The old Celtic name for May Day is Beltane (in its most popular Anglicized form), which is derived from the Irish Gaelic Bealtaine or the Scottish Gaelic Bealtuinn, meaning “Bel-fire”, the fire of the Celtic God of Light (Bel, Beli, or Belinus). He, in turn, may be traced to the Middle Eastern God Baal. 

Other names for May Day include: Cetsamhain (opposite Samhain), Walpurgisnacht (inGermany), and Roodmas (the medieval
church’s name). This last came from church fathers who were hoping to shift the common people’s allegiance from the Maypole (Pagan lingam—symbol of life) to the Holy Rood (the cross—Roman instrument of death). 

Incidentally, there is no historical justification for calling May 1 ‘Lady Day’. For hundreds of years, that title has been proper to the vernal equinox (approximately March 21), another holiday sacred to the Great Goddess. The nontraditional use of ‘Lady Day’ for May 1 is quite recent (since the early 1970s), and seems to be confined toAmerica, where it has gained widespread acceptance among certain segments of the Craft population. This rather startling departure from tradition would seem to indicate an unfamiliarity with European calendar customs, as well as a lax attitude toward scholarship among too many Pagans. A simple glance at a dictionary (Webster’s 3rd or O.E.D.), encyclopedia (Benet’s), or standard mythology reference (Jobe’s Dictionary of Mythology, Folklore & Symbols) would confirm the correct date for Lady Day as the vernal equinox. 

For the rest of Mike Nichols' article on Beltane click here.

Next Holiday Southern Hemisphere: Samhain
May 1, 2018

For an article on Samhain by Mike Nichols click here.

2018 Wiccan/Pagan Calendar


Link's Lesson Book

Your Own Celebrations of Spring

Three months.  Three glorious months.  After a long cold winter, it comes just when you need it most:  Spring.

We may not realize it, but we spend 25% of our lifetime experiencing Spring.  While many people mark the first day of Spring with ritual, Spring itself is a ritual; it is a celebration that lasts for three months.  You already may be celebrating the season in more ways than you think.

The Ghost of Springtimes Past

Keep a journal?  (Of course you do, even if it’s in your head!)  Page back through your memoirs of last Spring.  What was going on in your life?  What troubled you?  What filled you with joy or kept you busy during those months?  What was life like for you just a wheel’s turn ago?  Now page back even further, back into the memories of Springs long ago sprung.  How many Springtimes back does your journal go?  Two, three, a dozen?  Frolic through you own recollections of things that took place in late March, April, May and early June.  Do you see a pattern?  Do similar challenges keep springing into your life around this time of year?  Look at how your situation has changed since then, and see the progress you’ve made over the seasons.  Note both what has changed and what has stayed constant.  Now, after looking back at your own life through your journal, look ahead at what you might expect for this coming Spring?

 Read the rest of this article by clicking here     

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