Friday, March 20, 2009

Happy Spring

If you're a regular person, Happy Spring. If you're a starwatcher, Happy
Vernal Equinox. If you’re a pagan type, happy Ostara. And if you’re
going through a little Celtic phase like me, then it’s Latha na
, the day when Brighid finally defeats the Cailleach (the
"Crone" or "Hag", bringer of Winter) and begins her reign over the
warm half of the year. Give credit where it’s due, the Hag held on
till the bitter end this year. I’m still not 100% convinced she’s done
toying with us.

It’s a good time of year to smile and take comfort from the fate of
John Barleycorn, a very old symbol of the eternal recurrence of life.
Way back in November at Samhain they:

“... took a plough and plough'd him down,
Put clods upon his head,
And they have sworn a solemn oath
John Barleycorn was dead!”

Ah, but was old John really dead? Of course not. Everything always
comes back, nothing dies forever:

”But the cheerful Spring came kindly on,
And showers began to fall;
John Barleycorn sprang up again,
And sure surpris'd them all!”

Happy Spring, y’all. Give a wave and a howdy to Mister Barleycorn when
he comes striding through your fields. He has important work to do,
but he’s always willing to stop in for a cup or a pint of any
fermented barley-based beverages you might happen to have lying about.

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