Sunday, May 15, 2016

Fecund, Powerful Beyond Measure

"Ask of Her, the mighty Mother.
Her reply puts this other
Question: What is Spring?-
Growth in every thing -
Flesh and fleece, fur and feather,
Grass and green world all together,
Star-eyed strawberry breasted
Throstle above Her nested
Cluster of bugle blue eggs thin
Forms and warms the life within,
And bird and blossom swell
In sod or sheath or shell."
-  Gerard Manly Hopkins, The May Magnificant, 1888 

"The festival of Floralia began around the year 258 BCE. Pagan Romans celebrated for six days, from April 27th to May 3rd, honouring their Goddess of Spring and of Flowers, Flora. Flora, known as Chloris to the Greeks, was a beautiful and serene Goddess, the Queen of Spring. She was married to Zephyrus, the west wind, and her temple is in Aventine.  Floralia was a time a great merriment and rejoicing in ancient Rome. During the festival, Romans would cast off their habitual white robes for more colourful garments, especially green ones. They would also deck themselves and everything around them in flowers then engage in all sorts of activities. There would be feasting, singing, dancing, and gaming. Offerings of milk and honey were made to the goddess Flora. Goats and hares meant to symbolize fertility were let loose in gardens and fields as protectors in Flora's honour. Singing filled the air and dancers stomped the ground to awaken nature and bring it back to life.  Ancient roman prostitutes in particular enjoyed this festival as they considered Flora their patron goddess. So Floralia was especially important to them. They participated in many events, from performing naked in the theatre to gladiatorial feats.  With the occupation of Rome in many countries of the western world at the time, especially in Britain and continental Europe, the festival of Floralia spread, with each country adding its own special touches to the festivities. And finally, Floralia became May Day. Many countries choose a May Queen to preside over the day's activities and children dance around the Maypole. Some collect flowers on May Eve for the next day and some couples even make love in their garden to ensure fertility. One belief that has been passed on is that one should wash one's face with the dew from May Day morn to obtain lasting beauty."
-  Linda Cassleman, Floralia  

"The force of Spring -
forever moving,
powerful beyond measure."
-  Michael Garofalo, Cuttings

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