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Hurray, hurray, the First of May:
outdoor f**king begins today.
To “May” or “go Maying” means to go out into the woods to gather the flowers and greenery that will adorn the May celebrations.
And Midsummer's Eve is the only night of the year when the magical fern flower blooms, conferring upon the finder health, riches, and the ability to understand the speech of birds and animals. In the North it's longstanding custom for the young to go out together to seek this wonder.
Or so they say.
Through much of human history, winter was the time when you were shut into the house cheek-by-jowl with much of your extended family and (depending on when and where), maybe the cow and the horse, too. Private it wasn't.
We all know that time, that heady thrill when you start to become competent at Witchcraft and you know which names to flaunt, who to be friends with if you want to be in with the in crowd, what paths will get you recognition, what is considered brave, daring and bold.
We also know who we are supposed to look down on....
See that hedge of roses, now?
(Beautiful, isn't it: Rose Moon nearly upon us, and the flowers at their opening.)
They say that there's a goddess in there, sleeping.
Centuries she's slept, now. Maybe longer.
Why, you ask? Well, now.
Some say it was a curse. Perhaps.
Or maybe some inner call, deep within? The inner life of goddesses, who can know?
But sleeping her hundred-years' sleep she is, and waiting for one to wake her.
And maybe it's you that she waits for.
Now they stand knee-deep in the good, tilled earth of our gardens and fields, bestowing their gift of fruitfulness, as they have since the end of the last Great Ice.
Call them the Clay Ladies.
But come winter, what then?
To ask is to know.
Of course the Mothers do not stand in the fields all winter long, buried in snow.
For many of us who were not raised in Pagan traditions, but who came into our Pagan identity later, there is often a catalyzing moment that births us onto our path. Perhaps it's a ritual we attended, or something we read, or maybe it grows out of environmental activism. For me it began in an ice storm.
I moved to North Carolina, to that central part known as the Piedmont, to attend graduate school. I rented an old Sears prefab house (“It was a shotgun shack and you know it, “ my mother's ghost chides me), tucked into the pine woods bordering dairy pastures. The house itself was so far below code the landlord couldn't advertise it. One side of the foundation was shored up with flooring tiles and a mallet; half the electric outlets did not work; there was not a right angle to be found in any corner. Wolf spiders the size of puppies would creep out of the shadows at night and even get in the bed. The well would freeze in the Winter and pump out weak ice tea colored water that reeked of iron in Summer. And I loved it....