August MacGregor

Celebrating Sensuality. Intended for mature audiences, 18 and over


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Love and Roses

Rose Garden painting

Happy Valentine’s Day! A rose garden for you, and wishes for a wonderful day.

“My hands will get dirty holding your rose-shaped heart, because love is like gardening—it’s earthy and takes work to keep it alive.”
― Jarod Kintz, This Book is Not FOR SALE

** Painting is “The Rose Garden” (1877) by Carl Frederic Aagaard. Quote from Goodreads.com.

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Fireworks

Today, I’m taking a break from the virtual tour of World Cup cities to celebrate the Fourth of July with some beautiful fireworks!

fireworks, by DanDeChiaro (Flickr, Creative Commons)

Long Beach, California, DanDeChiaro (Flickr, Creative Commons)

Fireworks, by Gregorio Cózar (Flickr, Creative Commons)

Gregorio Cózar (Flickr, Creative Commons)

fireworks, by Walter Corno Photography (Flickr, Creative Commons)

Walter Corno Photography (Flickr, Creative Commons)

fireworks, by Joy VanBuhler (Flickr, Creative Commons)

Joy VanBuhler (Flickr, Creative Commons)


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May Day and Robin Hood

My erotic short story, Maid Marian’s Missons, takes place during Beltane and May Day. I wrote this story a few years ago and recently spent some time polishing it up for publishing as an ebook. When I was writing the story, I did some research on Robin Hood to see what the legends were around him. When I read about his connection to May Day and those festivities, it seemed like a great time of the year to place my story.

Wikipedia has an interesting passage about the connection between Robin Hood and May Day:

By the early 15th century at the latest, Robin Hood had become associated with May Day celebrations, with revellers dressing as Robin or as members of his band for the festivities. This was not common throughout England, but in some regions the custom lasted until Elizabethan times, and during the reign of Henry VIII, was briefly popular at court. Robin was often allocated the role of a May King, presiding over games and processions, but plays were also performed with the characters in the roles, sometimes performed at church ales, a means by which churches raised funds.

A complaint of 1492, brought to the Star Chamber, accuses men of acting riotously by coming to a fair as Robin Hood and his men; the accused defended themselves on the grounds that the practice was a long-standing custom to raise money for churches, and they had not acted riotously but peaceably.

It is from the association with the May Games that Robin’s romantic attachment to Maid Marian (or Marion) apparently stems. The naming of Marian may have come from the French pastoral play of c. 1280, the Jeu de Robin et Marion, although this play is distinct from the English legends. Both Robin and Marian were certainly associated with May Day festivities in England (as was Friar Tuck), but these may have been originally two distinct types of performance—Alexander Barclay in his Ship of Fools, writing in c. 1500, refers to “some merry fytte of Maid Marian or else of Robin Hood”—but the characters were brought together. Marian did not immediately gain the unquestioned role; in Robin Hood’s Birth, Breeding, Valor, and Marriage, his sweetheart is ‘Clorinda the Queen of the Shepherdesses’. Clorinda survives in some later stories as an alias of Marian.

Quote from Wikipedia article.


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May Day

In pagan Europe, today—May Day!—was considered the first day of summer, so what better time to rejoice in the warmer weather and celebrate agriculture and fertility for crops, livestock, and all the good folks? Descriptions about the celebrations:

May Day has been a traditional day of festivities throughout the centuries. It is most associated with towns and villages celebrating springtime fertility and revelry with village fetes and community gatherings. Traditional English May Day rites and celebrations include Morris dancing, crowning a May Queen, and celebrations involving a Maypole, around which traditional dancers circle with ribbons. (From New World Encyclopedia.)

Wikipedia tells us that, while the origins of the Maypole are unknown, “it has been speculated that it originally had some importance in the Germanic paganism of Iron Age and early Medieval cultures, and that the tradition survived Christianisation, albeit losing any original meaning that it had.” (From Wikipedia.) Dancing ’round the Maypole hasn’t been just in Germany, but in Austria, Scandinavia, Britain and Ireland, the United States, and Piceno in Italy.

As to the Maypole’s symbolism:

The symbolism of the maypole has been continuously debated by folklorists for centuries, although no set conclusion has ever been arrived at. Some scholars classify maypoles as symbols of the world axis (axis mundi). The fact that they were found primarily in areas of Germanic Europe, where, prior to Christianisation, Germanic paganism was followed in various forms, has led to speculation that the maypoles were in some way a continuation of a Germanic pagan tradition. One theory holds that they were a remnant of the Germanic reverence for sacred trees, as there is evidence for various sacred trees and wooden pillars that were venerated by the pagans across much of Germanic Europe, including Thor’s Oak and the Irminsul. It is also known that, in Norse paganism, cosmological views held that the universe was a world tree, known as Yggdrasil. There is therefore speculation that the maypole was in some way a continuance of this tradition.

Non-Germanic people have viewed them as having phallic symbolism, an idea which was purported by Thomas Hobbes, who erroneously believed that the poles dated back to the Roman worship of the god Priapus. This notion has been supported by various figures since, including the psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud. (From Wikipedia.)

Here are some pics from Flickr with revelers “winding the pole” with ribbons … click on the pics to jump to the photographers’ Flickr pages:

Maypole by aprillynn77

by aprillynn77

Maypole by micdsphotos

by micdsphotos

Maypole by celebdu

by celebdu