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In the Northern Hemisphere, the start of May is a time when each of us, nature included, breaks free from winter’s restrictions to indulge in the tentative unfurling of spring. We dance, we play, we sing, we gather, we celebrate, and we create. For many, the lengthening days with more sunlight are an invitation to enjoy the increase in energy. Like flowers that brim with new life, we blossom without and within.
For many in the Pagan community we venerate anything that deals with fertility and love. Our blossoming occurs with a series of May Day festivals and parades. Sabbat rituals honor the urge to embrace renewed freedom in our lives. We cherish and revere sex in its unbridled passionate forms. After spending so much time focused inward the start of May and the renewed energy of life is a reminder that taking a risk in order to move forward is necessary.
To honor the Gods in the later springtime is to break free of expectations. Be they daytime celebrations around a May Pole, nighttime exuberances around a bonfire, or blessed unions created, this is a time when identity is especially fluid. To enjoy the season is to leave behind barriers and definitions whether created by the self or imposed upon by society. The future may not be clear, but we savor the present in all its aspects.
Released in the spring of 1972 Billy Preston’s “Outa-Space” became an out-of-the-box hit by the summer of 1972 by breaking boundaries. In a field of soulful ballads, this instrumental uses the effect of multiple instruments to create a type of musical space effect. The exuberant “VioletPurpleRose” by Conspiracy (Chris Squire and Billy Sherwood) from “Conspiracy” (2000) mirrors a similar musical transition with a heavy emphasis on a myriad of instruments whirling in a cascade of bass, keyboards, and drums. Like flowers, some songs lead to laughter, smiles, or dancing. Some might call it psychedelic soul but I just call it a happiness that feeds the soul. To listen to it is to rejoice in the dance of life.Like flowers, summer blockbuster films begin to sprout and to burst into view during this season. Everyone races to see the latest film where fans can revel in the latest experience. Crowds surge forth to see the latest surreal experience in the movie theater. While the season may be expected, each film experience can be very different. A viewer enters, perhaps knowing something of the story. The viewer emerges with a changed outlook, sticky popcorn fingers, and a desire to share the experience with friends and family.
Change is a big part of the energy at this time of year. Breaking loose can take the form of raking the lawn, digging the soil, and planting a garden when you’ve never had a green thumb or when you normally leave the greenery to someone else. Success may or may not be at hand, but the energy put into this moment of change is creation. It is trying something different.
The beginning of May ripens with potential. Fertility is everywhere. In terms of reproduction, trying something new might just be finding a different way.Komodo dragons and aphids are two species that engage in parthenogenesis, a type of asexual reproduction. No one who has seen aphids in gardens or a Komodo dragon in a zoo would call either species just idle. Both are examples of a species functioning out of necessity to survive. While celebrated copulation for humans still remains primarily a joining of egg and sperm, what would it be like if individuals were able to clone, to reproduce in a state of parthenogenesis? This type of change would be a break from the expected pattern, a blossoming of the new.
Fertility in the self can mean bringing out what has been hidden in the shadows. Wrapping yourself around new projects, fueling new passions that have been unanswered, or ignored out of fear is a way to embrace the spirit of change that flows through air. We accept the challenge of reveling in life. We walk barefoot through the grass with the warmth of the sun playing on our skin— even with an allergy to everything green— just to enjoy life. We peel off layers of restrictive clothing to remind ourselves of our connection to the earth and to our spiritual selves. We come home to ourselves with each step we take into the new and the exciting. Is it a new lover? A new career? A new baby? A new work project?
May blossoming is a time to just enjoy being who we are as individuals. We begin to sprout what was planted at the start of spring, and perhaps even earlier in the colds of winter. Fears can be brought to light and dispersed in the antics of joy that mark the festival season. Fertility and love are the core elements of the season. To fully leap the bonfire or to wallow in the pleasure of a warm spring day means working with change.
Change can mean a sunny day filled with workers’ parades through the streets to the state capitol to protest injustice in labor practices, wages, and job opportunities.
Compare that to May Day parades that wander through the same streets with a spirit of joy and revelry. Both burst past boundaries of expectations as no one knows who will attend or what will happen. During this time of year, we give flowers and gifts to loved ones for May Day or Mother’s Day as a celebration of love, friendship, and gratitude.
Warmer weather brings out wedding season. Individuals release fears and inhibitions to join with others in crafting a new and unique path. Diving deep through faith into the experience of intimacy breaks through boundaries. Rising up from waters of intimacy both challenges and rewards those willing to take the risk. The beginning of May reminds us through the flowering of life all around us how important it is to make the leap as we enjoy the ride. We love fully as we embrace uncertainty and the unexpected. Our wealth expands as we choose to swallow life’s sweetness whole rather than sip by sip.
We seek the full flowering of spring, the dew on the bough, presence of fairies, and the grace to treasure the gifts before us. We may luxuriate in the union and the dance. We may find new strength in the unknown that lays before us. We open up when we stop to dance, to play, to revel in our bodies, and our natures. This is a time of the year where fun for its own sake reigns, and rules mean less. Our full natures are uncovered only when we leave restriction behind. We revel when we drink from the spring of life. We grow when we choose creativity over stasis. We thrive when we guzzle life’s uncertainty. As Pagans, the blossoming is one of the best parts of the journey.
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The views and opinions expressed by our diverse panel of columnists and guest writers represent the many diverging perspectives held within the global Pagan, Heathen and polytheist communities, but do not necessarily reflect the views of The Wild Hunt Inc. or its management.
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