Tipping Cows, Yuri’s night, the 3-fold Law, pleasure, and more! Recent Episodes of THE WONDER podcast, by Mark Green
Where do you think I took this photo of bluebells – out in the countryside on a woodland ramble, or in a tiny urban park?
It was the latter. I saw the swathe of bluebells when I was taking a shortcut through my local recreation ground to drop off handcrafted things for a May Day Market stall in aid of Ukraine. I’ve often heard pagans say you have to get out of the city to enjoy the beauty of nature, but it isn’t true at all. You have to keep your eyes open a bit more to spot it in urban areas – but nature is everywhere.
My Pagan Eye posts show photos that I find interesting – seasonal images, pagan sites, events, or just pretty pictures. If you want to send me a photo for a Pagan Eye post, please email it to firstname.lastname@example.org Let me know what the photo shows and whether you want your name mentioned or not. For copyright reasons, the photo must be one you have taken yourself.
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I spotted this hawthorn tree just coming into blossom in a small courtyard near where I live. Hawthorn has white or pink blooms by early May in England, which is why it is also called the “May tree”. In the wild, most have flowers with five petals but some varieties – like this one – have double flowers. I’m sharing it here as part of my Floralia flower photo series of posts.
Beltane and May Day are this weekend! Here’s a list of talks, workshops, rituals and other events for pagans, witches and those with similar interests over that time and the week ahead. As well as online activities, I also in-person things taking place in or near London – and a few larger events further afield. If you know an event you want included, please email me at email@example.com
Now to 17 July; The World of Stonehenge. Exhibition at the British Museum, Great Russell Street, London WC1B 3DG. Tickets: £20/£10/free for members. https://www.britishmuseum.org/exhibitions-events
Wednesday 27 April; Learn Marseille Tarot – Course on Major Cards. Start of 4-session course with Adrien Mastrosimone via Treadwells Online. Time: 7pm start. Tickets: £100. https://www.treadwells-london.com/events
Thursday 28 April; Midweek Meditation with the College of Psychic Studies. Time: 3pm. Tickets: free for members/£7.50 for non members. https://www.collegeofpsychicstudies.co.uk/
Thursday 28 April; The Magic Mirror: The History and Practice of Skrying. Online lecture by me, Lucya Starza, via the Magickal Women Conference. Time: 7pm. Tickets: £10. https://www.magickalwomenconference.com/events
Friday 29 April; Ancient Goddesses of London – Evening Walking Tour with short rituals by Out of the Norm Tours. Meet at the Statue of Queen Anne, St Paul’s Churchyard, London. Time: 5.30pm. Donations welcome. https://www.facebook.com/events/503821648049044
Saturday 30 April – 1 May; Beltane Pilgrimage to Sacred Sites of Glastonbury organised by Aho Studio. Leaving from London. Tickets: £190. www.aho.community
Saturday 30 April; Woodland Witches Beltane Ceremony and Seasonal Gathering with Mani via London Woodland Witches, Wiccans and Pagans. Meet at the entrance to Queen’s Woods, Queenswood Rd, Highgate, London N6 5UU). Time: 2pm. Tickets: £7/£5. https://www.meetup.com/LondonWoodlandWitches/
Saturday 30 April: Walpurgisnacht: Stories of the witches’ night. Online event by storytellers Jason Buck and Rosalind Buck. Time: 7.30pm. Tickets: £2.50-£9.50. https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/walpurgisnacht-stories-of-the-witches-night-tickets-262774795487?
Sunday 1 May; Waffling Witches – Kitchen Witchcraft 10th Anniversary. Online event with Rachel Patterson. Time: 11am. Free. https://www.facebook.com/events/502541981355497/
Sunday 1 May (and other dates); Drury Lane – a guided walk by Minimum Labyrinth. Meet at Drury Lane, London, WC2B 5QD. Time: 2pm. Tickets: from £19.50. http://minimumlabyrinth.org/
Sunday 1 May; Beltane Celebration Cunning Folk. Free online event. Time: 7pm. https://www.eventbrite.com/o/cunning-folk-7829505560
Wednesday 4 May (tbc but usually first Wednesday of the month); Drumming and Meditation Online with Taz Thornton. Monthly event. Time: 7pm Price: free. https://www.facebook.com/TazThorntonOfficial#
Wednesday 4 and 18 May; Tarot Cards of Challenge with Kasia Gwilliam. Online event via She’s Lost Control. Time: 7pm. Tickets: £15. https://sheslostcontrol.co.uk/collections/all-events
Friday 6 May; The Witches Circle Monthly Class. Venue: Kallima Wellbeing Centre, 8A Adam Business Centre, Cranes Farm Road, Basildon, SS14 3JF. Time: 7.30pm. Tickets: £16.76. https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/o/kallima-wellbeing-centre-15972923230
Saturday 7 – Sunday 8 May; Beltane Fire and Feast Festival by The Wellderness CIC. Venue: Wild Heart Hill Camp, Long Furlong, Worthing, BN14 0RJ. Starts at noon. Tickets: £10. https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/beltane-fire-and-feast-festival-tickets-273499643797
Saturday 7 May; Beltane Celebration. Venue: Colet House, 151 Talgarth Rd, London. Time: 3pm. Tickets from £14. https://www.facebook.com/events/992452978316547/
Sunday 8 May; Woodspirits – Beltane. Meet at Cheshunt station before walking to Lee Valley Park. Time: 3pm. Free in-person event for members of Woodspirits group. https://www.facebook.com/groups/4032235040150960
In Ancient Rome, a five or six-day festival of Floralia, in honour of the goddess Flora, began on what is now the 27th or 28th of April. Her name means vegetation, and the goddess of flowers and fertility was one of most honoured deities in Rome. She had a huge temple and her festival was one of the most popular of the year. It was a time of dancing, gathering flowers and wearing bright, multi-coloured clothes (or sometimes no clothes at all).
Flowers, especially lupins, were scattered over the crowds enjoying the festivities to promote fertility – but it was also a celebration of sex for pleasure as well as procreation. There were games, theatrical performances and ceremonies in which sacrifices were made to the goddess. According to historian Ed Whalen: “Some scholars believe that the Floralia was the inspiration for the May Day Festival.”
Flora’s origin storyis told by Ovid: Zephyrus, the West Wind, kissed the nymph Chloris who as a result became deified as Flora. The goddess later helped Juno become pregnant with Mars by giving her a magical flower.
A bit of folklore in Every Day Magic – A Pagan Book of Day also links the end of April to May with weather and flower lore: “Sweet April showers/Do spring May flowers. (From a poem written in 1610)”
Over the last week or so I’ve beeng posting pictures of spring blooms on my blog, and this carries on the theme. If you have a photo of flowers you’d like to share, please leave a comment. In particular, it would be great to see some pictures of lupins if you spot any growing!
The picture at the top is a Jill in the Green I created from flowers and leaves from my garden a couple of years ago.
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I got some really exciting news from my publisher: Pagan Portals – Candle Magic has now sold 7,000 copies worldwide.