The Real May Day

Today we witness the ancient holiday of May Day. On this occasion, I think it is appropriate to recall what May Day is, what it means, and why we need to keep it.

May Day is traditionally the dead-center of Spring, and it is also the day we celebrate the impending arrival of Summer. It is a joyous time, and the festivities throughout Europe (for this is a celebration particular to the Northern Hemisphere) during the Middle Ages were famed for their gaiety, their special carols, and the general attitude of good will.

May Day is commonly known to have something to do with a Pole, the May Pole. People dance around it, and many believe it to be a phallic symbol. Which it is, but more than this, it is a symbol of the Center, like the lingam of Shiva. In Bulgaria, May Day is called Irminden. Irmin comes from the name of an ancient Germanic deity, whose shrine at the Exernsteine in Germany was destroyed by Charlemagne. His symbol was a great pole or Tree, bifurcating at the top, with branches curling toward the heavens. This symbol may still be seen in ancient and medieval art, and at the Exernsteine itself. This tree is Irminsul, and it represented the World Tree, the Norse Yggdrasil, which sat in the Polar North and revolved the Nine Worlds. Thus, this God is really a Titan, for it is Atlas who bore and revolved the World.

May Day was not well-digested by Christianity, and remained a kind of Pagan festival, with songs often being sung to honor various goddesses like "The Queen of May"—sometimes associated, as in the famous Huntingdonshire May Carol, with the Virgin Mary. Let's take a look at the language of that song.

God Bless Aunt Mary Moses,
in all her Power, and Might-o
And send us peace to England,
both now and ever more-o.

This is a very strange invocation in the midst of the pagan revelry that occupies the rest of the song, with its crown of horns ("have no scorn"), a reference to the ancient horned gods like Pan and various Celtic deities, and the obsession with death and resurrection, a theme the Medievals would have just celebrated at Easter. But the appetite of our ancestors for feasts, dances, and merriment knew no bounds—in fact we even took our parties to the heavens. Not only were the Gods of Olympus perpetually engaged in feasting and carnal pleasures, but the Norse concept of Valhalla featured a perpetual and highly symbolic feasting on a Boar that was resurrected every night—a fascinating myth. To quote the favorite song of the great Pagan Englishman, D.H. Lawrence "There's red wine, and feast for heros. And harping too."

But back to the subject of Aunt Mary Moses. "Aunt" is merely a Cornish honorific for a respected lady. Mary refers to the Virgin. It is now widely understood that the Virgin Mary, at least in the form we know her, is a survival from an era long before Christ. In her blue garments, her maternal and matrimonial relationship to God, even in those places where she is or was at one time patroness, she mimics the attributes of the Goddess Isis. The cult of Isis is known to have spread all throughout Europe during Roman times, and as a mystery religion, it was greatly in vogue with women. We see blatant marks of this today: Paris comes from Iseos, the grove of Isis, and, indeed, the Virgin was patroness of Paris during the Early Middle Ages. There are also in Europe numerous shrines to the "Black Virgin." I will pass over the disgraceful (not to say blasphemous) theories about a sub-Saharan origin for this, and point out that this also has its roots in the cult of Isis, who was depicted as Black, though with Aryan features; black, like the rich soil of Egypt (before the encroachment of the desert); black, like the seemingly endless night of the furthest Polar North. I should not neglect to point out that the parallels between Mary and Isis do not preclude her taking the aspects of many other local pagan goddesses. This is clearly the case in the Celtic countries, for instance.

"Moses" is stranger, harder to explain. Some speculate that this is included because it is common surname in Cornwall, or that it is code for the exiled King Charles, but this begs the question. Others claim that the name comes from a misunderstanding of the Bible dating to the attempts of early missionaries to depict Christianity as a warrior religion (which is what it became, regardless of the intentions of Christ, which were ambiguous at best). These missionaries might have spoken of a great Moses dynasty from which sprang a great line of Kings, Virgil's famous "lineage of gold," the last and greatest of which would be Jesus, the Kristos, the "Anointed One." This is a very interesting theory, and should not be discounted entirely.

I submit a new theory. One of the famous "translation errors" in the Vulgate is the description of Moses as having horns. This is the Moses we recognize in Medieval Art, right on down to the sculpture of Michelangelo. I think that this is not an error so much as the possession of St. Jerome by an archetype, a heritage of his Mediterranean blood. Moses is, for the medieval, the image of the Great God Pan. He is Cernunnos, perhaps he is the Shiva of Mohenjo Daro. It really does not matter that he bears little in common with these deities upon close examination. He was an image, a symbol of something greater, something that came before. Like the Green Men that populate the Cathedrals of Europe, the Horned Moses lent to the younger religion an air of authority, mystery, and hidden power. Mary Moses would thus be referent to that, and to those legends. And it is not amiss to note that Mary Moses connotes a conjugal relationship, of the Virgin possessed by the God, a perennial Archetype.

May Day is an inescapable part of our illustrious past, a glorious time. It should not surprise us then that it is fading away so rapidly. Who among us has danced around a May Pole? Who has left flowers and gifts in secret on a neighbor's doorstep? Fewer and fewer. May Day was first subvert by communists for their "International Worker's Day." Shamefully, in many countries, the celebration of atheistic, subversive Communism, which does nothing but uproot and destroy Tradition and put up barriers between men of common blood and destiny, is more prominent than traditional festivals. In other countries, the failure of the demon of Capital to adequately monetize and quantify the celebrations resolved them to merely ignore them and deemphasize their importance.

Today, May Day celebrations are not promoted publicly with a few very slight exceptions, most of which are tainted by the pathetic spirit of "historical reenactment," a wretched term, as we ought to "reenact" or better "re-live" our history every day of our lives, not only as part of ridiculous costume parties at prescribed times and places. It is up to us to keep up these traditions, and to further them, and to conquer again the psycho-spiritual space of our people, the first and foremost Lebensraum.