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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in spring traditions

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
The Flower Carol

The famous anthology Piae Cantiones (“Pious Songs”) was published in 1582, but the songs and tunes that it contains are thoroughly medieval. Among the collection's Latin hymns are to be found a number of songs that are, shall we say, differently pious. Probably the best-known of these “secular” anthems is the famous Tempus Adest Floridum, (“It is the time of flowering”), which was to provide the tune for that most vapid of English carols, Good King Wenceslaus.

I've seen several singable English translations from the original Latin text, nearly all of them unbearably clunky. (“Herb and plant that, winter-long, slumbered at their leisure/Now reviving, green and strong, find in growth their pleasure.” Groan.) Here's mine, which is not so much a translation as, let us say, a fantasia on the original text. If I may say so myself, it captures the expansive spirit of the original much better than any of the more literal renderings.

The little Latin hymn to the Goddess of Love which concludes the song is not part of the original; it comes from that other famous anthology of medieval Latin verse Carmina Burana, on which “20th” century composer Carl Orff based his famous pagan oratorio of the same name. Joel Cohen attached it to the version of Tempus Adest Floridum in the Boston Camerata's recording of songs from the Carmina Burana (by the way, that's CAR-min-ah, not car-MEEN-ah) to their original tunes. I liked the addition so much that I've included it here. I've also chosen to leave it untranslated; it would be impossible (for me, anyway) to create an English text as profound in its beautiful simplicity as the original. I have, however, included a literal translation so that you can know what you're singing.

This one would be appropriate for either Ostara or Beltane, or any time in between!

 

The Flower Carol

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Recent comment in this post - Show all comments
  • Chris Sherbak
    Chris Sherbak says #
    I cherish my copy of your Solstice songs - and I'll just add this along. Thank you!!
April and May 2019 Heathen and Asatru Holidays

April 1: Loki Day. Loki's Day is celebrated on April 1st by American Asatru groups and individuals influenced by the old Ostara festival held by the old Ring of Troth, which was a multi day campout that included April 1st when that date fell on a weekend. Loki Day was a day for pranks and jokes in honor of Loki, and toward the end of the RoT women who were awake in the early morning threw their hair-combings into the fire for Loki. When the Ring of Troth broke into two groups, the American Vinland Association kept the Loki celebrations intact, while over the years the Ring of Troth abandoned them due to the influence of new members who were Nokeans (see my post on Nokeans for a definition and discussion.) The Troth recently re-embraced Loki, so the old custom may or may not come back. Also on April 1st: Narrentag (Germany, Austria, Switzerland) and the season of the possible date of Alp Aufzug begins (Switzerland.)

9 Day of Haakon Sigurdson (American Asatru, American Odinist)

14 Flyttedag, Faredag (Norway)

15 Sechseläuten (Zurich, Switzerland)

21 Sigrblot (Asatru)

22 Yggdrasil Day (American Asatru)

30

Valpurgisnacht (American Asatru),
May Eve (American Asatru, England),
Walpurgisnacht / Wonnenacht (Urglaawe), Wonnezeit begins (Urglaawe),
Walpurgisnacht (Germany, Austria, Switzerland),
Valborgsmässoafton (Sweden)
Valborgsnatten (Norway),
Maitag Vorabend (Switzerland),
Valborgsaften (Jutland, Denmark) 

May

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Spring Transformation Magic

 

We are living in a time of transformation. Here we are with winter quickly turning into spring, and while a lot of the human world right now may seem less than positive there is always the opportunity to empower ourselves and use the magic of nature, if She’s willing, to help us and help others find ways to make it through, and even make it better.

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs

The spring equinox this year falls on the 20th of March. This is a time of youthful exuberance in nature, when all of the green world seems to be springing back into life. March wind and rain may still keep many of us indoors on some days, but if we venture out into the wild we will be surprised by what we encounter. Blossom will be erupted from every tree and hedgerow,  and the forest floor begins to be carpeted with primroses and anemones, celandine and of course daffodils, which spring up everywhere along verges and gardens as well as the wild with equal ease and sunny glory.

Mad march hares can be seen sprinting across the brown fields, and boxing off unwanted lovers as the mating season gets underway in earnest. One of my favourite places to see the hares is at Uffington White Horse in Oxfordshire, though they can be found all over the UK.  Sighting the hares is a regular part of my spring pilgrimage to this exposed but beautiful ancient site.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Hunting for Spring

Our evenday (equinox) eve always begins with a hunt.

In the late winter darkness, we light our candles and go through the house with our baskets, looking for spring. We gather eggs—chocolate ones, mostly—but in the end we still have to descend into the underworld to find Spring, and bring her back ourselves. Here in the north, it's what you have to do.

As a ritual planner, I kicked against this part of the ritual for years. I feared it would trivialize what came after. But in fact gathering our baskets of candy is a delight, and the resonances of the act are ancient, deep, and meaningful.

Since the ritual takes place at my house, in after-days I keep finding spring. It happened this morning. Well into summer, I keep finding spring. This is why we use chocolate eggs for the egg-hunt and keep the real ones for the ritual.

Last year I found the last egg during the Yule cleaning. By then, the chocolate was a little dry and oxidized, but it still tasted sweet. Spring is always sweet, whenever you find it.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Spring - a renewal

Spring!  A relief from the winter cold, snow, and the introspective time of assessing where I am and what I need to do next.  It’s about new beginnings and a fresh start.  I’m sitting here laughing about this because here in Wisconsin we have four inches (more in some places) of snow on the ground.  It is still snowing and they said it was supposed to stop by 8 this morning.  We’re two hours past that. 

Spring equinox is all about renewal, rebirth, coming alive again after the winter.  The Persephone / Demeter story is one of the myths which is prominent for this time of year.  Persephone returns to her mother and Demeter comes back to life with the return of her daughter. 

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Which Came First, the Marshmallow or the Peep?

I can remember my first theological debate. I was 7.

It was spring. My friend Mary Chris contended that Lent is called Lent because that's when you eat lentils. The Stepanoviches were Serbian Orthodox, and ate lots of lentils during Lent.

Clearly, there was a larger principle at stake here. To me, it seemed ridiculous that the larger thing should be named for the smaller. My automatic contrarian position was that lentils are named for Lent because that's when you eat them. (Not that anyone in my family ate lentils during—or even observed—Lent, mind you. But growing up in Pittsburgh, everyone knows what Lent is.)

Lent derives from the Old English word for “spring,” when the days lengthen. Had Harold won at Hastings, our four seasons today might be Winter, Lent, Summer, and Harvest.

Lentil is the diminutive of Latin lens, which meant “lentil.” (A lens, of course, is named for its lentil-like shape.) As we've been eating lentils for the last 12,000 years or so—since the end of the last Ice Age—it's not surprising that they should have their own name.

The words are unrelated. As in so many theological debates, it turns out that we were both wrong.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Aline "Macha" O'Brien
    Aline "Macha" O'Brien says #
    My parents were Great Depression survivors as well, and they never let us forget it. My dad was a farmer, specializing in tomatoe
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    My parents were both children of the Great Depression, so I never discovered the Joy of Legumes until I became vegetarian at 18. N
  • Aline "Macha" O'Brien
    Aline "Macha" O'Brien says #
    Growing up in a Xtian household, albeit both Roman Catholic and Methodist, we did observe Lent for my Catholic dad, and I never ev

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