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Lost in Lindsey

The Thoughts and Adventures of a Lincolnshire Polytheist

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May day

May Day weekend

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This image comes from the Fyrnsidu Facebook page, and the painting is by Bottocelli.

 

In Fyrnsidu belief this weekend ends the Eostre season with Blostmfreols, the flower festival. It’s a new holy day and for a discussion of the theory and history behind it, I direct you to the Larhus Fyrnsidu page linked to above.

For other pagans this weekend is the fire festival of Beltane, and also a time of May pole dancing. The May Day celebrations are separate in origin and history to Beltane festivals. Beltane is assumed to be ‘Celtic’ in origin, whereas May Day and May pole dancing in supposed to be more Germanic. It all got mixed up by Victorian antiquarians who were desperate for anything they could claim as prehistoric leftovers. The ribbon dances around May poles are Victorian in origin.

The festivals celebrate the burst of life that usually accompanies the beginning of May, even if it’s a bit chilly at the moment, and I’m pretty sure we’re going to get another downpour later.

May Day, the public holiday, has a different origin, in workers strikes and demands for shorter working days, paid holidays and safer working conditions.

All these are valid reasons to celebrate this weekend.

I’m going to Spirit of the Marsh Festival tomorrow with a friend. It’s a weekend festival in Lincolnshire of talks, workshops and music, from Friday until Monday morning. Day and evening tickets are available. I particularly want to go to a talk by Pete Jennings about medieval elves. I intend to sample the wares of Veganic Kitchen too.

On Thursday my fruit and veg delivery came with some plants I’d ordered. Green Futures Grimsby is a local social enterprise, growing and supplying fruit and veg to local people, selling plants at a reasonable price and providing work experience to the socially disadvantaged. They’re good people who extend me credit. I ordered a few different plants but only the broad and french beans, two sweet peppers and a pack of pansies arrived. They were out of runner beans and something happened to my tomatoes but they will be delivered with my next order.

I planted them all out this afternoon, hopefully they should bed in and I’ll have a selection of veg later in the year, and some pretty flowers for now. The tree seeds the Woodland Trust sent me are coming on nicely in their tray, I’ll have to pot them on soon. The sunflower seeds I was given at the Abus Coritani Ostara ritual in March are starting to come through in their pot, only two of the five at the minute.

In other gardening activities, I turned my compost bins. I have three garden bins, cheap ones from Poundstretchers, that are collapsible. When I got them I put some holes in the bottom for drainage and fill them with garden and kitchen waste. Every six months or so, when the waste has composted down to about half, I tip one of the bins into another and start refilling the empty bin. I have two bins three-quarters full and one with a layer of stuff I pulled out of the front garden this afternoon so I could plant my pansies. There are potatoes growing in one of the full bins, probably from an old potato that got thrown out last year.

I’m not the greatest gardener but I get by.

Have a good weekend.

 

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What lovely weather.

The summer seems to have decided to put in a brief appearance. My marigolds have started to flower, the garlic is doing well, all the leeks are in, and I’ve finally been able to buy and set my pea seeds, some indoors and some outside. That’s about all I’ve managed this week actually. I was feeling ill Sunday (May Day) and put it down to hay fever – oil seed rape is a major cash crop around here – so on Monday when I went shopping I didn’t think much of the prickly throat I’d developed. When I got home I planted my peas and planned a small May Day celebration.

That got cancelled quickly when I started having trouble breathing. By Tuesday I was coughing constantly, couldn’t get out of bed for more than half an hour or stay awake for more than an hour at a time. My closest friends described me as sounding like I have the plague and looking like death.

It’s only a cold (with a side order of hay fever and asthma) and today has seen some improvements, but I’m still making funny noises as I breathe and stairs continue to be a struggle. I’m not coughing as much and I’ve been able to stay awake a few hours to read but that’s it. I even made it out in to sit in the garden for twenty minutes

It’s funny, for a given value of funny, considering that May is a time for celebrating the start of summer, and more life, that I feel like dying.

In Old English, May is Theimlchi – three milkings – and the increase in milk available from cows and sheep would have provided a nice supplement to the diet, still quite restricted before summer vegetables become available. There’s no definitive evidence that any religious rites took place in May and much of the trappings of modern May Day celebrations are Victorian in origin – such as the ribbon dance – but the warming weather, and with it the promise of food from my garden to supplement my rather meager rations (I’m more than a bit broke this week – my rent, gas and electricity, and contents insurance go out before my next ESA payment so I have £2 to live on for ten days unless someone lends me some cash. It’s like this every month, carefully budgeting doesn’t change the fact that if you’re sick and can’t work then life is hard) is a reason to celebrate. If I had the energy I would. I even missed my Friday devotions yesterday and had to say my thanks prayer in bed between naps.

Random news, when I’m better I’m going to start on an embroidery to honour the Goddess Nehelenia, based on the votive alters found in the Netherlands and in Cologne. Several years ago I made a similar one for the Mothers based on votive alters.

My embroidery for the Mothers
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Image I’m going to work from for Nehelenia embroidery
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I’m worn out now, so I’m off back to bed for a lie down. I hope you are well and enjoying the good weather.

Rose

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