May is named in honor of the Goddess Maia, originally a Greek mountain nymph identified as the most
beautiful of the Seven Sisters, which are known today to astronomers as the Pleiades. Maia, is also the
mother of Hermes / Mercury, God of magic.  This year May 2nd brings us the Scorpio Full Moon a time of
magic and celebration.  This is earth mother, Gaia’s, most fecund and sensual Moon, as Taurus is
associated with the lush aspects of the earth Goddess, while Scorpio is considered the most mysterious
and seductive. In the east this is the celebration of Buddha’s birth, known as
Wesak.  To the Wiccan
traditions this is the time of Beltane, the half waypoint between spring and summer when magic is in the air
and connection with fairy folk and nature spirits is easiest.  

Beltane is a celebration of life, love, beauty and abundance.  It is an earth-centered holiday that is
celebrated all over the world around May 1st—5th. The astrological date for Beltane is when the sun
reaches 15 degrees Taurus, a power point in astrology, symbolic of one of the four portal times. This is
the perfect occasion to practice unconditional love by honoring our bond with humans, nature spirits,
plants and animals.   We can do this by giving loving gifts, planting flowers, trees, vegetables, and herbs,
feeding wild animals and insects ( birds, squirrels, bees, etc.) or placing a birdbath in your yard where
animals can drink. Believe me, birds are not the only ones to use this convenient watering hole, we have
had deer, raccoon, bear, fox, cats and dogs lapping in ours. For this reason it is extremely important to
keep the water fresh.  Traditionally, this is a time of dancing, Maypoles, bonfires, gifts of flower garlands,
seeds, and woodland coitus.  May morning is a magical time for wild water (dew, flowing streams, and
springs), which is collected and used to bathe in for beauty, or to drink for health. Other May Day customs
include: walking the circuit of one’s property (“beating the bounds”), repairing fences and boundary
markers, processions of chimney sweeps and milkmaids, archery tournaments, morris dances, sword
dances, feasting, music, and drinking. The Roman Catholic tradition of crowning Mary with flowers on May
1st has pagan roots.

May Day Traditions

The gathering and exchange of flowers and greens on May Eve, pre-dawn May Day, Beltane is most
common.  Decorating homes, barns, and other buildings with green budding branches, including
Hawthorn.  Making and wearing of garland wreaths of flowers and/or greens.  May baskets were given or
placed secretly on doorsteps to friends, shut-ins, lovers, others. May Bowl was punch (wine or non-
alcoholic) made of Sweet Woodruff blossoms.  Thorns are considered protective trees. Whitethorn, Olive
and Hawthorn are all believed sacred to the Goddess.  There was a strong taboo on breaking hawthorn
branches or bringing them into the house except on May Day. This taboo is still strong for the Irish for they
loath to cut a lone hawthorn, a thought to be a fairy tree. Sycamore is a God tree and has a long magical
association, for its leaves are often those shown on foliated heads of the God of Nature, Jack in the
Green, found as a pub sign and in old churches. The wood is used green for carving and is often used for
Welsh 'love spoons" given as tokens of betrothal at around May Day. The phallic May Pole were put up on
many a village green as folk celebrated the marriage of the White Goddess (Marian) to the Green Man or
Robin Hood.

Beltane Fires

Traditionally, sacred woods were kindled by spark from flint or by friction. Jumping over the Beltane Fire,
moving through it, or dancing clockwise around it was believed to bring good fortune.  Livestock was
driven through it or between two fires for purification and fertility blessings.  In ancient times Druid priests
kindled it at sacred places; later times, Christian priests kindled it in fields near the church after performing
a Christian church service. Rowan twigs were carried around the fire three times, then hung over hearths
to bless homes.

May Waters

Rolling in May Eve dew or washing face in pre-dawn May Day dew for health, luck, beauty.  Getting head
and hair wet in Beltane rain to bless the head.  Blessing springs, ponds, other sacred waters with flowers,
garlands, ribbons, other offerings. Collecting sacred waters and scrying in sacred springs, wells, ponds,
other waters

The Art of Scrying

There are specific times of the year when it is believed to be easier to gain information from the spirit
realm.  Adept and novice alike frequently performed scrying, sometimes called ‘crystal gazing’ at these
times.   Scrying is a technique by which a person “gazes” into anything reflective. Most common is the use
of a crystal ball or a scrying mirror. Scrying mirrors are concave opaque pieces of glass. They are very
beautiful. However, you can gaze on just about any reflective surface; a bowl or pond of water, a piece of
metal, a mirror, etc. You can also scry into smoke, flames, clouds, etc.

The purpose of scrying is to gain information. Some people believe this information is given clairvoyantly
or psychically. Others believe the scrying technique simply clears the mind so information from the
Universe or the Source can flow more freely. The information given can be used to answer a whole host of
questions and concerns. Sometimes the information given is very literal; the scryer will see visions of real
people, places and events. Other times the information is symbolic, like dreams, and must be interpreted.

Celebration Ideas for May Day

Prepare a May basket by filling it with flowers and goodwill and then give it to someone in need of healing
and caring, such as a shut-in or elderly friend. Form a wreath of freshly picked flowers, wear it in your hair,
and feel yourself radiating joy and beauty. Dress in bright colors. Create a Maypole and dance, feel
yourself balancing the Divine Female and Male within. On May Eve, bless your garden in the old way by
making love with your lover in it. During the Full Moon time of May 1-4 try your hand at scrying.  Make a
wish as you jump a bonfire or candle flame for good luck. Welcome in the May at dawn with singing and