This exquisite month gains its name from the Roman/Greek fertility goddess ‘MAIA’, mother of the god Mercury. She was equated with FAUNA, CYBELE and OPS; goddesses who were greatly loved and respected by the masses.
Fauna’s feast day was held on the first night of May. It was a sacred occasion exclusive to women, as the men honoured Fauna’s masculine consort FAUNUS instead. During Fauna’s celebration wine and music blended with magickal ritual. This formed a strange yet joyous medley of reverberation and adoration for the deity.
From the 28th April to the 3rd of May a festival called the Floralia occurred in honour of the Sabine FLORA, patron goddess of flowering gardens. Virgil claimed that young folk would venture out at Floralia to pick summer flowers from field, wood and meadow. Much singing and dancing took place and this natural Pagan love of life has come down to us today in the form of contemporary Maypole/day celebrations. May Queen and King Parades can easily be traced back to ancient Rome and beyond.
Roman children happily adorned minuscule clay statues of the goddess with beautiful wild blossoms as a token of love and respect. The early Church, ever eager to crush Pagan religion, shrewdly usurped Flora and swapped her image for one of the Virgin Mary thereby gaining spiritual monopoly over the gullible and suppressed populace.
Flora was regularly depicted as a young maiden dressed in a floral crown. She held two major temples at Rome so it is clear that her devotion from the Pagan masses was regarded as a threat to the insular Church Fathers, hence their scheming attention, ultimately resulting in Christian subversion of Flora’s sacred feast day. Flora’s worship is however not to be crushed so easily, as her beauty will forever remain in the hearts of lovers whilst there are still wild May flowers in the field.