May Day

Happy May Day.

Given that the divine seems to show up in the paradox of the opposites, today is an auspicious day.  Standing opposite November 1st in the calendar, a pagan sort of day that in some ways says fall more than the equinox but which goes unremarked at any official Western level (just after Halloween which is more than pagan enough for the collective, and weeks before Thanksgiving with its macabre revisionist gloss on the Native American genocide) the first of May is really full of ripe, verdant and sensual promise.  And yet as any student of Dionysus knows, there is a dark aftermath to the bacchanal—just as there is a strange brightening of spirit in the bracing fall.

May Day is not generally a big deal in America (although there will be marches in LA today where celebrations of workers’ rights will cross-pollinate with immigration rights issues), but across much of the world it is a holiday ranging from May Poles and fertility rites to worker solidarity and on to bank holidays.  While Persephone has been back in town and country since the equinox, it’s now that she comes like the moon, “dropping her clothes in the street,” to quote Rumi… time to give the soul a glass of wine.

The Shadow of May Day also evokes, in my mind anyway, the distress call, “May Day, May Day, May Day.”  Hot on the heels of “earth day,” we hear the volcanic ash-spewing, earth-quaking, oil-gurgling onto beaches, sloshing garbage islands evoking sublingual moans of Gaia in distress.  “May Day” as a distress call derives from the French, “Venez m’aider,” meaning, “come help me.”  One says it three times to be sure that others get the message loud and clear, sort of the way one incants a magic spell.

If we dedicate ourselves to loving our world and all its collective children, perhaps this is a great day to both celebrate the abundant bounty of our lucid dream together, but also to put an ear to the ground and hear, at least in America, the ghost of the bison herds, still thundering over our vast planes in haunting spirit, pre-saging the dust bowls and the depressions that inevitably come of killing soul.  Further we might open our eyes to the dead who live amongst us, the Native Americans who have far from left—who, in their ghostly deadness are still more alive than we are.

So, let’s dedicate (dead-icate) today to love, and spring, and sensuality, offering a glass of wine to our souls yet all the while stumbling on our paths, shattering our bowls, uniting in world repair through solidarity in a parenting attitude, recognizing our connection to the bittersweet darkness of fall as we dance in the light of a bright May Day.

Namaste, Bruce

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