Magical Traditions: May Day

European mythological lore runs deep on May 1st. Northerners are at the height of Spring and on the verge of Summer - seeds have been planted and the world is lush with greenery and newborn critters. Maypoles, May Day, Beltane, Floralia: symbolism is oriented around joy, fire, youth and life.

For today's children, May 1st is a lovely day to craft a little magic. Since it doesn't overlap with any "commercial" holidays it is a blank slate to start a personal or family tradition. Here are a few ideas to get you started!


Collecting Dew

For the magical child who likes to keep their potion ingredients well stocked, May 1st is an auspicious day for collection of ingredients. The 1652 book ‘The Natural History of Ireland’ says this:

The English women, and gentlewomen of Ireland… did use in the beginning of summer to gather good store of dew, to keep it by them al the year after for several good uses both of physick and otherwise, wherein by experience they have learnt it to be very available.”

On the morning of May 1st collect a few drops of dew into a small vial using a pipette or dropper. Or, if it's too dry or you are collecting in the afternoon, gather a few drops of nectar from a flower by plucking the blossom and dabbing the back of it into a vial. Dew and nectar collected the day before and after a full moon are also quite potent. Use the drops as the final touch for potions related to happiness, celebration and fresh starts.


Flower Baskets for Neighbors
In our neighborhood the elementary school still does a May Day walk with delivery of flowers to houses near the school. Even a few bright dandelions collected into a posey and left on a doorstep is a joy filled experience for all. Is there someone in your neighborhood who could use their day brightened? 

 

Flower Crowns & Wreaths & Crafts
An ancient greek theatrical Spring/Summer ritual for Adonis is this: children sing a song over a lying youth and after he stands he is adorned with a flower wreath. Much of the meaning for this tradition has been lost, but wreath making and wearing continues. 

Flower crowns can be as simple or as complicated as you like. When working with kids, an afternoon craft might be to take a walk and collect flowers or greenery. With a little tape and wire the rest of the day feels super special while wearing a flower crown. Even a normal Tuesday dinner time becomes festive.

Whatever tradition you follow or start - May Day is most magical. Happy flower crafting to you and yours!


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