Workers and Witches on May Day

April 29, 2019 Eliana Rubin 1 Comment

Workers and Witches on May Day

On May Day every year – as politicized healers, sick witches, and cultural organizers – we enter into a day with two distinct but connected celebrations: International Workers’ Day and Beltane.

For us, May Day is a day both for lifting up the historic struggle for workers rights as well as a pagan holiday celebrating springtime fertility. We find strength in our legacies of resistance and resilience. As we reflected on Passover about the narrow places from which we come, spring is a time for expanding beyond what we think is possible.

On May 4, 1886, hundreds of thousands of anarchists, socialists, and workers took a risk in believing a different way was possible when they went on strike in Chicago. They demanded an 8-hour work day along with other more radical challenges to the wage labor system. They were met with brutal repression by the police whose job it has always been to silence dissent and grease the wheels of racial capitalism.

As we continue to fight against the systems that keep us narrowly bound, we also stretch towards visions of liberation. May Day is the midpoint between Spring Equinox and Summer Solstice. It is a time for sex magic, pleasure, and collective joy. To celebrate this springtime ritual, we adorn each other in flowers, dance together, and sit with fire.

It may seem strange to talk about these two events side by side, but for us, these are the worlds we are constantly traversing. Politicizing magic, and bringing magic to our movements, is of deep importance to us at Narrow Bridge Candles. As a project dedicated to creating space for ritual with liberatory potential, we are in an ongoing practice of bringing the sacred into our politics and remembering to stay connected to ancestral rituals that ground us in a broader story of decolonization and collective liberation.


Towards Justice,

Eliana Rubin
Narrow Bridge Candles

1 Response


May 14, 2019

It’s not a coincidence that these two events coincide. Erica Lagalisse has written a fascinating history of early anarchists’ interest in, and interaction with, pagan and occult sources, as well as secret societies like the free masons and the illuminati. In her “Occult Features of Anarchism” she explains the link between the mayday and the Haymarket massacre:

“These of course commemorate the Haymarket massacre (1886), but it is no coincidence that there was much upheaval in Chicago that day, because revolutionaries had been honoring Mayday since before the time of the Illuminati, which was also founded on this symbolic day.”

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