The Days of May
May, the fifth month of the current Gregorian calendar and the third month of Spring’s rule, derives its name from the Roman Springtime goddess Maia, whose divine powers encouraged the growth of crops.
The traditional birthstone amulets of May are the emerald and the agate; and the hawthorn and lily are the month’s traditional flowers.
May is shared by the astrological signs of Taurus the Bull and Gemini the Twins, and is sacred to the following Pagan deities: Artemis, Diana, Faunus, Flora, Pan, and all gods and goddesses who preside over fertility.
During the month of May, the Great Solar Wheel of the Year is turned to Beltane, one of the four Grand Sabbats celebrated each year by Wiccans and modern Witches throughout the world.
The Beltane Sabbat is celebrated by Wiccans and Witches throughout the world annually on this date. Beltane (which is also known as May Day, Rood Day, Rudemas, and Walpurgisnacht) is derived from an ancient Druid fire festival celebrating the union of the Goddess and the Horned God. It also celebrates the rebirth of the Sun, marking the “death” of Winter and the “birth” of Spring. At dawn, morning dew is gathered from grass and wildflowers to be used in mystical potions for good luck. Throughout the day, Nature is celebrated by feasts, games, poetry readings, and clockwise dancing around a brightly decorated Maypole.
In ancient Rome, the deity worshiped on this day was the Spring goddess Maia, whose divine powers encouraged the crops to grow. The month of May is named after her.
On this date in the year 1776, the Order of the Illuminati (an occult sect and secret order dedicated to the study of forbidden books, Tantric mysticism, and ceremonial magick) was founded in Bavaria by Adam Weishaupt.
On this date, an annual fertility festival featuring a man wearing the costume of a hobbyhorse, a devilish mask, and a pointed hat is held in England and throughout rural regions across Europe.
Ysahodhara, the consort of the great god Buddha, is honored in India with a sacred festival that takes place on this day each year.
In ancient Rome, an annual women’s festival in honor of the earth goddess Bona Dea took place on this date. Sacrifices of sows were made to her in order to promote fertility in women, and the unveiling of sacred objects for only women’s eyes to see was included in the celebration of her rites.
Fairy Day. According to Irish folklore, it is on this day that the mischievous fairy folk emerge from their hiding places. To prevent human children from being stolen by the fairies and replaced by grotesque changelings, an offering of tea and bread must be left on the doorstep for the little people. For protection against fairies while traveling (especially through heavily wooded areas or open fields), wear your coat inside out. This is said to cause them such great confusion that they are unable to cause any trouble.
On this date in the year 2000, according to a group called the Lemurian Fellowship, the legendary lost continent of Mu will rise up from the Pacific Ocean.
In various parts of Mexico and Central America, centuries-old rain ceremonies are performed every year on this day by shamanic priests and priestesses of the Old Faith. The ancient goddesses who preside over rain and fertility are honored and invoked with prayers and offerings.
On this day in the year 1938, the Long Island Church of Aphrodite was established in West Hempsted, New York, by the Reverend Gleb Botkin, a Russian author and son the court physician to the last Czar of Russia.
On this date (approximately), a festival called the Thargelia was celebrated by the ancient Greeks and Ionians in honor of Apollo, the god of the sun, prophecy, music, medicine, and poetry. The festival was held once a year on the sacred island of Delos, the traditional birthplace of Apollo as well as the goddess Artemis.
In Cornwall, England, the annual Furry Dance is performed in the streets of Helston on this day in honor of the old Celtic Horned God in the guise of Robin Hood. The festival, which features street dancing and a day-long procession throughout the town for good fortune, is one of the oldest surviving Springtime ceremonies in the world.
Theosophists commemorate the death of Madame Helena Petrovna Blavatsky on this day, which they call White Lotus Day.
An annual rite called the Lemuria was performed on this date in ancient Roman times to appease the restless spirits of the dead (Lemures), who materialized on this day to haunt the homes where they had once lived. The Lemuria was also held on the eleventh and thirteenth of May. As part of the rite, black beans (symbolic of the Underworld) were tossed as offerings to the ghosts and a powerful prayer was recited nine times.
The sacred marriage of the god Shiva to the goddess Meenakshi is celebrated annually on this date by faithful followers in Madurai, India. Sacred hymns are sung and offerings of incense and white flower petals are made at all temples dedicated to Shiva.
Tin Hau, the Chinese goddess of the North Star, is honored annually on this day with a festival in Hong Kong.
On this date in the year 1659, the Puritans of the Massachusetts Bay Colony banned all celebrations of Christmas in the New World after declaring the event to be a Pagan festival of superstition and “a great dishonnor [sic] of God.”
In England, Christmas festivities had been banned by the Puritans seven years earlier. It wasn’t until the year 1660 when Charles II was restored to the throne that the law banning the celebration of Christmas was repealed.
On this date, the annual Cat Parade is celebrated in Belgium in honor of the furry feline, an animal sacred to the ancient Egyptians and often used as a familiar of Witches.
Aranya Sashti, a god of the woodlands, is honored in India on this day with an annual festival. He is identified with the Pagan honored deities Pan and Cernunnos.
On this date in the year 1917, the Goddess in the guise of the Virgin Mary appeared to three peasant children in Fatima, Portugal. The event, which was the first of six divine appearances from May 11 to October 13, drew worldwide attention.
The Festival of the Midnight Sun is celebrated annually on this date by Pagans in far northern Norway. The festival, which pays homage to the ancient Norse goddess of the sun, begins at sunrise and marks the beginning of ten consecutive weeks without the darkness of night.
On this date in ancient times, the Romans performed an annual purification rite consisting of the “sacrifices” of twenty-seven straw puppets to the river god of the Tiber.
On this date in the year 1918, famous Italian spiritualist-medium Eusapia Palladino passed away. She was best remembered for her ability to enter a state of trance and levitate during seances.
In the Philippines, a Neo-Pagan fertility ritual is celebrated every year on this date by married couples who wish to have children. The rites (dedicated to Santa Clara) continue until the nineteenth of May.
The Feast of Twins. On this day, festivals honoring twins are held annually in the African republic of Nigeria. It is widely believed among the Yoruba people that all twins are born with abundant magickal and supernatural powers.
On this day in the year 1780, a strange and unexplained darkness draped most of New England, turning daytime into night. Many folks believed that a Salem Witch’s curse was responsible for the day of darkness, since no other explanation for the phenomenon has ever been found.
On this date, a sacred festival called the Plynteria was celebrated annually in ancient Greece. The festival was held in honor of Athena, the goddess of wisdom and battle, and the patroness of the city of Athens (which was named after her), and included the ritual sea cleansing of her statue, followed by prayers in the Parthenon and feasting.
On this date in the year 1911, Peter Hurkos was born in the Netherlands. He developed astonishing psychic powers after recovering from a coma, and became world-famous for solving crimes through the divinatory art of psychometry. He passed away in Los Angeles on May 25, 1988.
On this date in the year 1946, Gwydion Pendderwen was born in Berkeley, California. He was a Celtic bard, a cofounder of the Faery Tradition of Witchcraft, and the founder of a Neo-Pagan networking organization called Nemeton. He died in the Autumn of 1982 as a result of a tragic automobile accident.
On this date (approximately), the Sun enters the astrological sign of Gemini. Persons born under the sign of the Twins are said to be communicative, curious, charming, and often nervous and fickle. Gemini is an air sign and is ruled by the planet Mercury.
The Rosalia, a sacred rose festival dedicated to the springtime flower-goddess Flora and the love-goddess Venus, was celebrated annually on this date in ancient Rome.
On this day, an annual harvest ritual called Sacred Furrow Day was held in Cambodia. As part of the rite, the farmland would be plowed by members of the royal family in order to appease the ancient gods of the harvest and to ensure the fertility of the land.
The birth of the Greek moon-goddess Artemis (who also presides over hunting and wild beasts) has been celebrated each year on this day since ancient times. As a lunar goddess, she has been an influential archetype for many Witches and worshipers of the contemporary Goddess religion. Artemis is equivalent to the Roman moon-goddess Diana and is identified with Luna, Hecate, and Selene.
In Europe (especially France), this day is sacred to Saint Sarah of the Gypsies and also to an ancient Triple Goddess who rose from the waters of the ocean.
In ancient Greece, the birthday of Apollo, the twin brother of the goddess Artemis, was celebrated annually on this date.
On this date in the year 1581, famed occultists and alchemist John Dee first realized his natural gift for looking into the future through the art of crystal-gazing. He served for years as the royal astrologer of Queen Elizabeth and had a reputation as a powerful wizard.
Sacred Well Day. On this day, it is traditional for Pagans and Witches (especially in Ireland and Great Britain) to decorate sacred wells with wreaths and to toss offerings of flowers into the water in honor of the deities and spirits of the well. This custom dates back to the ancient Romans, who celebrated an annual well festival called the Fortinalia, which took place on this day.
On this day, the Secular Centennial Games were observed in ancient Rome. The goddesses Diana, Prosperina, and the Three Fates were honored in nighttime healing ceremonies.
On this date in the year 1948, Morning Glory Zell was born in Long Beach, California. She is a priestess and vice-president of the Church of All Worlds, and is a practitioner of Celtic Pagan Shamanism.
A sacred rite called the Pythian Games was enacted every four years on this date in ancient Greece. The rite honored the slain serpent-goddess Python, and was celebrated in Delphi, the most venerated shrine in all of Greece.
On this day in ancient times, the god Mars was honored by the farmers of Rome with feasts, prayers, animal sacrifices, and annual rites of purification. The Ambarvalia festival was also celebrated on this day in honor of Ceres, Juno, the Lares, and the Family Goddesses.
On this date in the year 1431, French heroine and military leader Joan of Arc was burned alive at the stake as punishment for committing the crimes of Witchcraft, heresy, and “being given to the forbidden arts of magick and divination.”
On this day, the annual Triple Blessing of the God Buddha is observed by Theravada Buddhists. To celebrate the god’s birth, enlightenment, and passage into nirvana, shrines and houses are decorated with flowers and special prayer flags. Offerings of flowers, incense, and rice are also made. The Triple Blessing often lasts for three consecutive days.