Welcome to May in Oregon, where the rains have lasted so long that our old apple tree has only just now gotten filled with blooms. And Beltane blessings for those who celebrate! But I’m going to take a linguist’s turn on this lovely month. May. Small word with two origins and a wealth of power and subtlety. Let’s take a short trip via dictionary and mythological archetypes into the origins of May/may. “may,” the verb Beltane and May Day are closely related celebrations of the fullness of spring and the beginning of summer. Lowercase “may” as possibility. As in spring! On this May Day, we also see the wild abandon of dancing around the May pole, or in some Wiccan circles, the symbolic celebration of the sexual union of God and Goddess. This is “may” as permission. And “may” is finally about intention. “May she rest in peace.” “May you be blessed…” “May” as manifestation. Well, lots of possibilities for sure. [Digs further into the dictionary. . .] It seems such a mild word, but originally in Old English, the verb meant to have power (which is where “might” comes from as well). I think that feeds into the manifestation aspect that the word still carries. When we wish well for some one (or even wish them evil), we are using the ancient sense of the literal power of words to manifest situations in the real world. “May” as magical spell. That takes care of our lowercase may, the verb we use every day. May, the goddess But wait! “May” as the last fullness of spring in the calendar is actually a whole other word (English is so cool!). The month’s name, like many calendar names, leads back to gods and goddesses, in this case, Greek. This “May” is for Maia. Maia, a Greco-Roman goddess/nymph is the daughter of Atlas (dude who holds up the world—talk about power!) and Pleione the Oceanid, and is the eldest of the seven Pleiades (get your N. Hemisphere sky charts out and look to the west just below the constellation Orion’s belt in fall and winter—that fuzzy “scabbard” is the Pleiades). Maia is also the mother of the Greek messenger/trickster god, Hermes, better known by his Roman name of Mercury. In the Tarot, he’s associated with the Magician. More magic spells. So many late spring gifts of growth, warmth, and general manifestation in May. How are you looking to manifest new growth in this blooming month?
Posted by Joanne Sprott at 2023-05-02 00:57:38 UTC