More information regarding Blōstmfrēols can be found here.
Associated Deities: Ēastre (Bēomōder, Hunigflōwende and Blōstmbǣrende), potentially Folde
Date: April 28 – May 3 to coincide with Roman Floralia, though this might change depending on geographic location.
Mythic Paradigm: Three Goddesses (either daughters or epithets of Ēastre) – each representing a certain aspect of Blōstmfrēols – go to Middangeard and bring with them the first flowers and they organize bees and teach them the craft of making honey. They then teach mankind how to harvest and use honey to make food and mead and how to offer said food as a sacrifice.
Rites and observances:
- Veiling the Wīh :
This particular observance is based on the English folk custom of the “May Doll,” wherein children place dolls within wreaths, drape a white cloth over them and take them on a procession from house to house. With each visit, the veil is lifted and good fortune is said to come from gazing upon the doll’s countenance. This immediately calls to mind Nerthuz and her wagon processions among the Suebi.
For home practice, this might take the form of veiling one’s wīh (idol(s)) at the beginning of Blōstmfrēols and removing the covering at the end of the festival to receive their blessings. This might also involve taking the veiled wīh to different parts of the house to bless it for the coming season.
In her work, A Dictionary of British Folk Customs, Christian Hole says this of the May Doll custom:
“The May Doll still appears on May morning in some districts, seated in the centre of the garland or, though less frequently nowadays than formerly, carried about separately in a little flower-filled box or cradle. It is usually a quite ordinary girl-doll, dressed according to individual fancy, and with nothing particular in its appearance to suggest its festival importance. It has been variously explained as a representation of the Blessed Virgin, to whom the month of May is dedicated, or of Flora, or the May Queen. A few years ago an enquirer at Bampton in Oxfordshire was told by one group of young people that the doll in their garland was ‘a goddess’, and by another, more precisely but rather surprisingly, that it was Minerva. There can be little doubt that it was originally an image of the visible Summer, newly come back to the world, and a magical means of bestowing upon those who saw it all the blessings of fertility and plenty that belong to that season.”
The unveiling bēd:
Remove your veil O blōstmmōdru
And may all behold you
Corner to corner
Room to room
Sweet and nectarous
Flowing with abundance
And shadows recede
And malignant things sent flying
Broken before you
O Sisters Three
O glorious daughters of Ēastre
- Making Hunighlāf :
As bees play such a large part in our Blōstmfrēols celebrations, making foods out of honey seems an appropriate choice. Honey cakes, honey loaf (hunighlāf), biscuits or mead might be made during this auspicious time – a portion of which should be given in offering to the Gods associated with this tide.
- The Making of Bēagas
During Blōstmfrēols, garlands (bēagas), wreaths and bouquets might be fashioned and affixed to the home or wīgbed (shrine). These wreaths and garlands can then be given to the Gods as a sacrifice at the end of Blōstmfrēols.
“May Garlands have always been made in several different ways. Some are no more than simple posies tied to the tops of long wands, or flower-chains twisted round light staves. At Horncastle in Lincolnshire, until about the end of the eighteenth century, peeled willow wands were wreathed with cowslips. They were known as May Gads, and were carried by young boys in procession on May-morning from a place called the May Bank to a hill on the west side of the town where the Maypole stood on the site of a Roman temple. They were struck together and their flowers scattered in honour of the First Day of Summer; and that night, as Dr.Stuckley records, there was a bonfire ‘and other merriment’.”
Offrung and bēd are made to Ēastre and her epithets/daughters during this tide in the form of honey, honey-cakes, garlands, honey-loaves, biscuits, floral incense or mead. Wildflowers and foods made with them would also make a suitable offering during this time.
O Daughters of Ēastre
Bringers of Blossom
And honey and bees and mead
Seed spreading Summer’s wealth
And Folde’s bounty
So beloved and long-awaited
Raiments bright and bold
Blōstm-mōdru arrive resplendently
Oh honey-sweet maidens
Dripping with life
Rich and abundant
Deliver to us spēd and health and things fragrant
See our cups filled and our kinsmen well
Oh veiled and unseen
Save for those who have sung your praises
And have bestowed goodly gifts unto you
Look well upon us
And for six nights
We shall herry
I. In Neorxnawang fair, three sisters clad in vibrant raiment dwelt. One was named Blōstmbǣrende (Blossom-Bearing), another Bēomōder (Bee-Mother) and the third was Hunigflōwende (Flowing with Honey). Born were they of Dawn’s body and at her breast they did milk-suckle for six nights unceasing. And on the sixth night the sisters were grown, their skins milk-white and bodies lithesome.
II. Favoured by all wights were they, the daughters of Ēastre. And the bright Goddess taught them all that she knew and so they became learned. With steady hand they mended bone and smeared salve and all wights heard tell of their craft and called them leechwives.
III. With wort and root they worked until weariness overtook them. And they slept neath Niht’s silent shroud, linen-robed and elf-like. Wary should they have been, for the Eastern Wind beheld them and thought them fair. So upon his back he stole them, from Folde’s fertile womb wailing.
IV. Blōstmbǣrende startled did wake and wept upon the Earth and blossoms grew upon her mantle. So her sisters stirred and sent curses upon him and he dropped them thither.
V. Upon Middangeard they fell and roamed and came upon bees, busy. Bēomōder was hailed as Queen and was gifted gold and garnet. So glad was she at this, she ordered their kin in the manner of men.
VI. Hunigflōwende, so learned, bestowed her knowledge unto them. So honey-craft was given and beasts and men made meals of it. She instructed men in the making of mead and sweet cakes with her cunning. Grateful were they and to Ēastre’s daughters, they gave garlands, cakes and godly drink.