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A Blue Mayday

Mayday, also known as Beltane, is a time for gathering flowers and greenery, lighting and even leaping over Bel fires, bathing in the early morning dew and dancing around maypoles. However if this kind of shenanigans is not to your taste you could do no better than taking a stroll in a woodland and noticing what may be considered the true colour of May - blue.

This springtime icon of a British woodland, the bluebell, brings a swathe of lilac-blue colour and a gentle sweet scent that holds on the breeze particularly after a light shower of rain. It has many old folk names, Bell Bottle in Bucks, Blue Bonnets in Somerset and Wiltshire, Blue Rocket in parts of Ireland, Cuckoo flower in Cornwall, Gowk’s Hose in parts of Scotland (a Gowk is a cuckoo) and Pride of the Wood in Somerset being just a few examples.

Its roots were used as a glue or starch and helped ‘against the brings of a gelded spider’.

Associated with Fey folk the bluebell is said to chime at midnight to call fairies to their revels. They are said to symbolise love, gratitude, and communication and are associated with the Element Air.

Another lovely little blue flower of the month contender is the forget-me -not, with old folk names of Mammy-Flooer from Shetland , Bird’s Eye from Somerset, Robin’s Eye from Hant and Remember Me. It was believed if you wore forget-me-not you would not be forgotten by your lover. It was also believed that wearing it would protect against witches. This little flower is said to symbolise fidelity and true love and was said to be a remedy against a dog or snake bite, although this little flower is quite toxic and not recommended to be used in remedies. It is associated with the Element Water.

Bugle, has a dark blue to sky blue flower, and is a plant that often carpets damp and shady or sunny areas in woodlands. Known as Carpenter’s herb due to its supposed ability to stem bleeding, it has also been used to assist respiratory tract ailments.

Other folk names include Dead-Men’s Bellow’s (Bellows in this case mean male member!), Horse Peppermint, Thunderbirds and Lightening and Nelson’s Bugle in Somerset.

Keeping with the theme of blue, lovely little fairy like blue flutterings can be seen dancing on Maytime flowers and are most likely to be either a holly blue or common blue butterfly.

We can’t however keep only a blue theme going for the merry month of May as

Maytime also see’s the flowering of the Horse Chestnut Tree, whose long off white flowers with pink centre’s were known as Mary’s Candle’s. May is known as the month of Mary in Catholicism. These magnificent flowers become Autumn conkers. It was believed that Horse Chestnut brought into the home helped bring balance and some believe wealth.

The name Horse Chestnut may derive from the horseshoe shape of the base of the leaf when plucked or its use as a medicine for horses.

Finally the May flower itself, the name given to the flower of the Hawthorn. Often not in flower at the start of May it has long been associated as the plant of choice for gathering in Maytime garlands, acting as protectorate’s against all manner of mischievous spirits and witches. The ‘bringing in the May’ began on May Day Eve.

Mark the fair blooming of the Hawthorn Tree,

Who, finely clothed in a robe of white,

Fills the wanton eye with May’s delight.”

Chaucer.

Known as a symbol of fertility, youth and sexuality. Its healing properties have been associated with the heart and circulatory system, as an aid to balancing blood pressure and restful sleep.

At this time of springtime celebration led by Mother Nature’s abundance of fresh green leaves, carpeted woodland floors of wildflowers

and birds on the wing singing in the May, take a moment and let May’s blues bring joy.

Wishing you the happiest of Mayday’s and asking that you keep alive some of our old ways and celebrate the seasons of our year.

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3 commentaires


Lovely pictures and narrative.

J'aime

Beautiful and interesting article . I just love reading about the different months and what they offer . Thankyou for sharing this wisdom with others . This is an uplifting time of year .

Amanda x

J'aime

Wonderful informative article about May.

Your photography is amazing.

Claire

J'aime
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