We postponed our Spring Equinox celebration at the Long Man today as the snow seemed set to disrupt travel, and, well, it just didn’t feel very spring-like to be honest. Hopefully next week will be a bit more springy.
As usual it got me pondering just how difficult it would have been in the not so distant past when lives depended on getting seeds in the ground and the growing season underway as quickly as possible. With modern farming methods and the importing of much of our foods these days we don’t have too much to worry about, but still for farmers it is a big issue.
Today I have more practical sympathy with our ancestors as I can see my allotment from my bedroom window all white cloaked and frozen. I am desperate to get over there, get seeds sown, onions sets planted and the like, but the Goddess is still sleepy and she will not be hurried.
We are lucky to have the luxury of shops these days, this also allows us a sense of humour about the whole business of getting through a difficult winter…cue more daft memes (I can’t help it that little girl makes me laugh so much).
All joking aside, one of the main reasons I follow a largely earth-centred spiritual path is my need to invest my life with a holistic connection to the land I live upon, hence the decision to upgrade my gardening actions again, this time to a full size allotment. This small but significant action is already infusing my life with a renewed, more serious attitude as to how I interact with the weather gods and the Mother herself.
I’m determined to make my plot the main source of our food and in the process curb our reliance on shops and industrial food production. I did this once before many moons ago when my family was young and I had a large garden. I felt enormously self-satisfied at being able to feed my family from my own garden, I really want to feel that satisfaction again in knowing where my sustenance has come from, more over what has been done to it.
If you are what you eat then the intention is to be mostly homegrown veg and herbs from now on, which goes hand in hand with a reduced intake of meat and dairy that we instigated a while ago.
Back in the day I would not have called myself a Druid or a Pagan, but everything that drove me then still drives me now, only it was less cohesive, not fully conscious. In renewing the search for a truly holistic life based in a practical harmony with the land and seasons, I now come at the process with a stronger spiritual basis. I am feeling a deeper connection to my own gardening and farm working forebears too. Life is finally starting to make sense root to tip and I am starting to enjoy a particularly rich feast for the soul; the belly will be filled later with any luck.
Intellectually I have always found the harvest of folklore and stories of our forbears, their poems, rituals, thoughts and feelings about the land and their interactions with it’s capricious nature, a powerful legacy that feeds me deeply. No matter in what era words or language are originally written, when translated they allow us reach across time, letting the trappings of a seemingly soulless modern world drop away so we feel our roots deep in the earth. Their inspirations across time enliven the seasonal rituals I write for the Anderida Gorsedd and for me are my foundations, the earth in which I plant my spiritual seeds. But in the practical application of the rituals of weather watching, readying the earth to receive the seed and all that goes with tending the ground with the intention of eating what I produce, I am even more invested on all levels of my being.
Not everyone has the chance to grow their own food or even wishes too, but I am happy to have that option again. I will make my prayers to the weather gods, I will wait for the most auspicious phase of the moon to plant my seeds, I will tend my little piece of the earth with love and hope my efforts and my belly will be rewarded.
In the meantime I will employ William Blake’s words to entice spring back to the land.
O thou with dewy locks, who lookest down
Through the clear windows of the morning, turn
Thine angel eyes upon our western isle,
Which in full choir hails thy approach, O Spring!
The hills tell one another, and the listening
Valleys hear; all our longing eyes are turn’d
Up to thy bright pavilions: issue forth
And let thy holy feet visit our clime!
Come o’er the eastern hills, and let our winds
Kiss thy perfumèd garments; let us taste
Thy morn and evening breath; scatter thy pearls
Upon our lovesick land that mourns for thee.
O deck her forth with thy fair fingers; pour
Thy soft kisses on her bosom; and put
Thy golden crown upon her languish’d head,
Whose modest tresses are bound up for thee