May Day, an ancient spring holiday falling between the spring equinox and the summer solstice, celebrates fertility in all its many forms. On May 1st, rituals for the blessing of fertile lands, fertile livestock, fertile bodies, and fertile minds will take place across Europe and in the new homelands of the European diaspora.
The quaint Medieval vision of children dancing with ribbons around a maypole may have its roots in the Roman festival Floralia, which celebrated Flora, goddess of flowers. Floralia, held in late April, was celebrated with theatrical performances, the release of hares and goats, and competitions. Every three years, the Floralia would occur during the Maiouma, a month-long festival of nocturnal revels honoring Dionysus and Aphrodite. The Maiouma was known for orgies of food and licentiousness and was banned during the reign of Emperor Constantine, the first Christian Roman emperor. Yet, blossoming from that ancient Roman festival, May Day celebrations of fertility have continued, observed with flowers, maypoles, dancing, and bonfires.
This May Day, my desires for fertility include a fertile garden, as well as a fertile mind and fertile spirit. I connect to fertile energy through all the things I want to create.
I also pray for our land to be fertile, for flowers to bloom in abundance and for food to grow to feed us all. I want my relationships to be fertile grounds for love, caring, fun, and kindness. I want my community to be fertile with unity and support. I want the many artists and creators that I know to have the blessing of fertility as they birth their restorative, meaningful art into the world. And I want our fertile hearts to grow in love, kindness, and mercy, and to seek out those aspects in the hearts of our neighbors.
May Day is a very potent time to define your fertile hopes, wishes, and dreams. Try some May Day inspired ritual activities to connect to the spirit of fertility and spring.