Earlier this month I was researching the meaning of May-talk about a magical month rife with folklore and folk magic traditions! I noticed and recollected that many of the themes of May deal with similar themes that we encounter during the opposite time of year-as the sun enters Scorpio and we head into the season of Samhain, All Saint’s Day, and Dia de los Muertos.
Fortunetelling and forecasting are performed at both points in the year, faeries and the Hidden Ones are believed to be more active as the veils between the world are especially thin, the changing (and changeable) seasons offer both blessings and risks for those intrepid enough to venture out into the green wood, stark desert, or city streets.
I have a picture of my dad from the 1940s, looking pretty cocky. He went into the Army when he was 19 and they sent him to North Africa, Sicily and then into Italy. Somehow he also got to France, where he drank champagne for the first time.
So, I'm thinking of him on Memorial Day. And of my Gaga, my step-grandfather, who was gassed in France during WWI and never really recovered. And of my maternal grandfather Bill Boyd who was a sailor during WWI. I have a photo of my grandmother wearing his sailor suit after the war.
There's a Westmoreland Ancestor who may or may not have fought for the CSA and a Boyd Ancestor who definitely did.
As I write this, it's early Friday afternoon and I'm just back from running errands and I'm about to start preparations for a House ritual tomorrow and my Memorial Day observances Monday. When I was out and about today, several people wished me 'happy holiday' and you know, we all work hard, and I understand the anticipation of a three day weekend, or an unexpected day off, so I returned the greeting but I couldn't help but think "this isn't a holiday. It's so much more than that." and I wonder if anyone gives any thought anymore to what Memorial Day is really about.
Memorial Day is a big deal in my devotional world. For those who may not know, it's a day in the US specifically set aside to honor all those who died while serving in the armed forces. It used to be called Decoration Day, and people would go to military cemeteries, or the section of cemeteries set aside for the military dead and decorate the tombstones with flags, wreaths, and flowers. Now, we have bar-b-qs and go shopping and maybe watch a parade. I find that sad.