May 15 is the Ides of May. On this day the Vestal Virgins of Ancient Rome performed a rite to ensure the supply of water for the coming year.
To me, Paganism is a nature religion, so caring for nature is a sacred task as well as protecting the world for the future. I also believe in acting locally when possible. You can’t get much more local than your own garden, so I've signed up for No Mow May - a campaign by conservation charity Plantlife.
From April into May, flowers are everywhere. In Ancient Rome a five to six-day festival celebrated them. It was in honour of Flora, goddess of flowers and fertility, and was called Floralia. As well as floral tributes there were games, theatrical performances and dancing. According to historian Ed Whalen: "Some scholars believe that the Floralia was the inspiration for the May Day Festival." Mind you, it’s also possible that everyone just wants to celebrate warmer weather, blossom and trees being green anew.
Many of us will be getting eggs of some kind this weekend, even if we’re pagan and don’t celebrate Easter as a religious festival. So, this post is about the folklore, symbolism and magic of eggs.
I know this is April 1st but I promise I’m not going to be playing any jokes. What I will be doing is looking at the origins of April Fool’s Day, the trickster and the wisdom of the fool.
It’s Lent. That’s usually thought of as a Christian prelude to Easter, but it wasn’t always just that. In fact, it might have originally meant the time of year when days lengthen – and could be celebrated by anyone, pagans included.
The sight of flowers helps lift my mood when everything else seems grim, and March is when my garden starts to bloom with colour after the drabness of winter. As I write this, I see yellow daffodils, pink primroses and the buds of red camellia flowers as I glance out of my window.
One thing I love about February is watching the twilight time creeping later and later. The sunsets, and the sky just afterwards, can be beautiful with bare trees silhouetted against pink and purple. It’s one of my favourite sights and makes me feel full of hope for spring to come.
Valentine’s Day on February 14th is, of course, massively commercialised with all the financial and social pressures that entails. Oh, and it isn’t exactly pagan as it gets its name from a Christian saint.
February’s a short month, but sees a lot of change in the natural world in southern England, where I live. At the start of the month a few early flowers are blooming in my garden, including snowdrops, which I look forward to seeing but I don’t bring indoors as that’s considered unlucky. By the end of it there’ll be spring flowers everywhere. The festival that starts the month is Imbolc in the Wheel of the Year.
For pagans who celebrate the cycle of the seasons, going out and seeing what’s happening in nature is invaluable. Observing things with our own eyes is better than just reading about the Wheel of the Year in books or blogs – including this one! In England, where I live, January is often colder and frostier than December. There can be ice and snow, trees are bare, but there can also be signs of life.
The first month of the year is usually cold and grey in Britain, where I live. It feels like the heart of winter, even though the daylight hours are increasing. It can be hard to do anything except stay indoors in the warm, but hopefully I can offer some ideas for making January more magical.