Why We All Need to Celebrate May Day (Now More Than Ever!) and How to Do It

Written by on April 30, 2017 in Astrology & Numerology, Reality's Edge with 0 Comments

By Heather Eland

May Day is a Joyous Celebration of Mystical Union and our Connection to Mother Earth

We have reached a point in human history where we have become shockingly detached and disconnected from one another and this beautiful planet we call home. Many of us see ourselves through the lens of separation— we view ourselves as separate from other people, separate from Mother Earth, separate from our environment, and separate from the plants and animals we share our environment with. Although we may fall into a state of forgetfulness from time-to-time, deep down we know the truth that we are all connected. Part of our forgetfulness stems from the fact that we’ve simply fallen out of rhythm with our connection to the earth and cosmos— a connection that is so intrinsic to the human experience that one might argue that its what makes us human in the first place. Throughout these chaotic and divisive times, our innate connection to Mother Earth is the one thing that unites us all. This is why our recognition and understanding of our intimate relationship with the cycles of nature is more important now than ever.

In my last article, I wrote about the Spring Equinox— an important seasonal marker of increased fertility and renewal. On May 1st we celebrate May Day, or Beltane, an ancient celebration of purity, growth and fecundity marking a time when the days become much longer and warmer as the Sun continues to move closer to it’s highest position in the heavens.

The Sun moves through an energetic cycle throughout the seasons, similar to the waxing and waning cycles of the Moon. This cycle is often referred to as the “Witches Wheel,” or the “Eight Directions of Time.” The eight points in the solar wheel consist of the solstices and equinoxes (corresponding to the “cardinal cross” in astrology) as well as four cross-quarter days at the midpoints of each seasonal marker. Beltane is one of the cross-quarter days marking the halfway point between the Spring Equinox and Summer Solstice.

May Day is among the most controversial of the solar holidays due to its association with sexual promiscuity and animal sacrifice. That being said, it also remains among the most widely celebrated. While there certainly is a more risqué side to the history surrounding this time of year, in modern times, May Day is regarded as a celebration of beauty, vitality, fertility, connection and community. It’s a time when the earth becomes more colorful and vibrant. People venture outdoors to celebrate and connect, marriages are officiated, animals mate and give birth to new life, and the birds and the bees re-appear once more. It’s a beautiful, optimistic and magical time of mystical union when plants are in full growth and animals move in harmony with the natural rhythms of the Earth and Sun.

Astrological Significance of May Day

May Day occurs each year on May 1st, a time when the Sun is roughly one-third of the way through it’s transit through the earthy, sensual sign of Taurus. Taurus is a fixed earth sign, easily making it the most grounded and stable of all 12-zodiac signs. Taurus is all about slowing down in order enjoy the simple pleasures in life. The Sun in Taurus prompts us to take stock of what we truly value in our lives. Taurus places the greatest significance on that which holds true value in a way that feels deeply personal to the individual. As the second zodiac sign, Taurus is beautiful in its simplicity and straightforward approach to dealing with the material realm. If something in our lives truly brings us joy and adds value to our existence, Taurus asks to hold on to it and cultivate a deep appreciation for the way our lives are enhanced through our connection to that which we hold dear.

The Sun’s transit through Taurus is a time when we can forge a deeper understanding and connection with Mother Earth. This is very fitting as May Day is the solar holiday honoring the Mother Goddess in all her forms. In the Christian tradition, May is the month that honors Mother Mary. It is also the month of Mother Maia, Goddess of Spring, who was honored by her son, Hermes, by giving her month it’s name.  In the East, May is the time of Queen Maya of Sakya, the mother of the Buddha who died just seven days after giving birth, and Maya Shakti, the world-protecting Mother. In modern times, May is also the month when we honor our own mothers through the celebration of Mother’s Day.

If we were to compare the solar and lunar cycles, the time of Beltane would be similar in significance to the waxing gibbous phase of the moon. This is a time when excitement is mounting and projects and ideas are moving forward toward completion with relative ease. The eight phases of the lunar cycle all have associations with various goddesses, with the waxing gibbous phase of the moon associated with the Greek Hestia, maiden Goddess of the Hearth, also known as Vesta in Rome. Equated to the “waxing gibbous” phase of the solar cycle, Beltane carries similar associations with Hestia, whose fire made both the home and the temple sacred. The seasonal celebration of this solar holiday was centered around the Beltane Fire, from which the hearths of each home in the village were relit after being extinguished on this day. This practice of gathering around the Beltane fire connected both the family and community to one another while honoring Hestia’s sacred flame, which represents divine fire at the center of all things.

Festivals of Purity, Growth, and Mystical Union

In Celtic tradition, Beltane is the festival honoring the solar fire deities. The Beltane fire was carefully constructed from the wood of nine different sacred trees and placed at the center of the celebration. It was tradition for individuals to leap through the flames, often times completely naked, to purify oneself in preparation for the summer season. The color associated with this solar holiday is the color white, another reflection on the theme of purification.

May Day is also a celebration of the various goddesses and deities of motherhood, growth and prolific fertility. It was at this time that the ancient Romans held the festival of Floralia, a celebration of the Roman goddess Flora— a fertility goddess associated with the blooming of flowers at springtime. May marks a lively and colorful time of year when flowers are in full bloom and because of this, flowers have been utilized in May Day celebrations throughout history. The rose bush and the hawthorn tree are both important symbols associated with celebrations in the month of May. The rose is the flower associated with Mother Mary and is symbolic of the awakened heart. The hawthorn tree, also known as the “maybush,” is connected with sacred union and its flowers were used in marriage celebrations in times past. In Europe, the creation of floral wreaths and crowns has been an integral part of May Day festivities.

Another traditional May Day ritual is the construction of the maypole, a custom that still flourishes today in German-speaking countries. The maypole is made from the wood of birch, the tree of purification, which is cut and brought in on May Eve. The pink and blue ribbons of the maypole are held by the youths and the maidens of the village and are utilized as part of a cheerful, spiral dance. The two colored ribbons of the maypole dance mimic the birds and the bees weaving through the flowers and trees, and are reminiscent of the strands of our own DNA. The maypole represents the sacred union and the balance between the masculine and feminine energies.

Much like our modern day prom or homecoming court, May Day celebrations included a ritual king and queen. The May King and Queen represented the Divine Mother and Father and were symbolically “married” for only one day as a way of stimulating the earth’s fertility. May Day was also one of two celebrations when the oaths of fidelity in marriage were given a brief holiday, and men and women were free to be with anyone in the village. This was another ritual designed to promote Mother Earth’s fertility, and any children conceived on this day were considered very special as their destinies were thought to be significant. As a result of this tradition, many marriages occurred shortly thereafter in the month of June, named for Juno, the Goddess of Marriage, also known as Hera by the Greeks.

A Celestial Celebration

Across cultures and time, the beginning of May has been honored as a joyous period of celebration, connection and community. May Day is a time when the lavish beauty and fertility of the earth becomes abundantly clear, and as such it is a time when we can become more grounded and appreciative of Mother Earth and all her bountiful gifts. May Day is one of the most colorful and optimistic solar holidays and represents a powerful time when we can recognize and honor our relationships with the people we love most. By harnessing the energy of this joyous time of growth and fertility, we take part in an important process that reconnects us with the divinity of nature and helps us to forge a deeper understanding and connection with the world around us.

About the Author

Heather Eland is an astrologer and multidisciplinary healer living and thriving in Sedona, Arizona. You can contact Heather through her website at www.persephonereturns.com




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