“One for the Rook
One for the Crow
One for the Earth
And one to grow”
I can’t remember when or where I heard the above seed sowing rhyme, it’s one I’ve used for as long as I can remember, one line spoken for each seed sown…I share it with you now because the Spring Equinox is well and truly upon us. The first heralds of spring, the Blackthorn blossom, slowly give way to the first flushes of fresh green growth, beneath the hedgerows Primroses bare crowns of voluptuous creamy yellow blooms, gardens across both town and country seem to burst with Daffodils and although still pretty nude, the trees have started to issue forth tight sticky buds of growth whilst birds rejoice upon the branches with their early morning chorus. The Sun makes its transition from the watery, purifying sign of Pisces and enters the fiery sign of Aries, the first sign, the leader and initiator…the great horned Ram. Light and Life have returned to Earth, and from here on things (generally speaking) can only get better…warmer….lighter.
Seed sowing has become a traditional part of my gardening year and hence my spring magic. Once again life influencing magic influencing life. For Witches the act of sowing one single seed can stretch far beyond the mundane. At Candlemas we prepared, we cleared and purified and readied the foundations, just as farmers and gardeners around the northern hemisphere cleared, dug, ploughed and mulched. Now, or at least very soon, the soil will be showing signs of life as the strengthening serpentine energies twist and snake their way across the land, stirring tree and shrub into life, pushing the sap up towards the waxing sun. Little shoots from self-seeded plants appear which is a sure sign that the soil is rich and warm, ready to receive our seed. A seed may be symbolic just as it is literal, representing that which we wish to germinate in our own lives, but this magic of course requires love, just as all plants need care and nurturing so to do our hopes and dreams, whether small and humble or bold and grandiose, every dream, every wish and aspiration needs loving and careful cultivation in order to grow and yield fruit, now is the time!
The egg has become THE symbol of spring for many, however the seed is more appropriate to my personal mythology, both represent new life, both represent the greatest potential to create and be all things. Both egg and seed (Ovum and Sperm) carry the potential of new life within them and spring is all about beginnings, initiations and setting things in motion.
The lore and customs associated with spring are not exclusive to the mysteries of the Craft however. In the Catholic faith ‘Lady Day’ is celebrated on the 25th March being exactly 9 months before Christmas and marks the day that the Angel Gabriel told Mary of her pregnancy, the so-called ‘Annunciation’. The Seed of Christ was sown on this day, within the waiting Womb of the Virgin Mary. This and many other close parallels may be seen between the old and the new faiths, a clear reminder of the perennial wisdom which permeates all. Lady Day was / is one of the agricultural cross quarter days along with St Johns, Michaelmas and Christmas and was the start of the new agricultural year when farm labour was negotiated, tenancies and rent agreed and of course crops sown for the coming year. Until the introduction of the modern western calendar Lady Day was always considered New Year’s Day, which in some ways I see as a much more fitting time to be welcoming in the new.
Following on from Lady Day is the moveable feast of Easter, celebrated the first Sunday after the first full moon following the Spring Equinox. Easter, as all good Christians will know, is the celebration of the Resurrection of their Master, Jesus Christ. In this myth we clearly see more of the old perennial wisdom …the Son / Sun resurrect from the dark womb / tomb of the Earth…the revelation of Light upon the land shared by many mystery traditions including the cult of Mithras (a God of light born from a dark cave).
The Zoroastrian New year ‘Noruz’ begins on the day of the astronomical Equinox and in the Baha’I faith the spring also marks their new year and the festival of ‘Naw Ruz’ which honours the Spring Gods following the end of a period of fasting not too dissimilar to the Christian Lent (albeit shorter).
The Equinoxes are what I like to call “The Changing of the Guard” and as such are liminal times of the year when, in the case of the spring equinox, Darkness has well and truly abdicated and Light is once again crowned upon the Throne of the Earth, The equinoxes can therefore be turbulent, the weather is often unsettled (“March Winds and April Showers”), after all change is never an easy process! The spring however remains a time of beginnings, a favourable time for making a start on all those projects you thought about during the winter months, a time to get outside and get stuck in, to welcome the light back to earth, to honour the strengthening serpentine energies in the land…farmers sow their crops, horticulturalists sow their prize winning Sweet Peas…Witches sow their desires. So…go forth, plant a seed…One for the Rook, one for the Crow, one for the Earth and one to grow. Spring Blessings to All!