Western Europe, this was the time for preparing the fields for
the first planting. Even in Seattle, you can begin turning
over and enriching the soil in anticipation of the first
sowing in March. Pamela Berger has written a book, The
Goodess Obscured: Transformation of the Grain Protectress from
Goddess to Saint, about the rituals celebrated at this
time of year, when the ground is first awakened and the seed
placed in the belly of the earth. This is a significant moment
in a community which depends on the earth for sustenance. The
fields were purified and offerings were made to the goddess.
medieval Anglo-Saxon plowing charm, recorded by Berger, was
said by the farmer while cutting the first furrow.
be thou Earth
Mother of men.
In the lap of God,
Be thous as-growing.
Be filled with fodder
For fare-need of men.
farmer then took a loaf of bread, kneaded it with milk and
holy water and laid it under the first furrow, saying:
Bring forth fodder for men!
And the God who wrought the ground,
Grant us the gifts of growing,
That the corn, all the corn,
may come unto our need.
promises of the return of the light and the renewal of life
which were made at the winter solstice are now becoming
manifest. It's the dawn of the year. It's the time when a
woman who is pregnant begins showing. It's time to creep out
of the hibernation of winter, cautiously, like the Ground Hog
who supposedly emerges on this day to check his shadow. It's
the time of germination. This is a traditional time for new
beginnings. Covens of witches usually initiate new members at