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“Hare brings wild inspiration which rushes through the body like rising sap, demanding expression in any way possible.”  Copyright: ‘Beasts of Albion’ by Miranda Gray.

At this time of year there is a bursting forth of frenetic energy as we approach the Equinox. Most people will think of this as a time of balance, a time when light and dark are equal, where we are tipping into the light half of the year. However scratching the surface reveals the danger and instability underlying this period. This is reflected by the way the term “Beware the Ides of March” has slipped into common usage. The Ides occurred in every month, either on the 13th or 15th day and were determined by the full moon. It is only ‘The Ides of March’ that most of us are aware of. Ides ceremonies saw the ‘Ides Sheep’ (Ovis Idulius) being sacrificed to Jupiter. Perhaps the sayer in Shakespeare’s classic work was suggesting that Julius Caesar was to take the role of the Ides sheep.
Yet another sacrificial king?

Other ways in which this danger/instability manifests is in what can be termed ‘Spring Fever’. The behaviour of people and animals is often unpredictable and overly excitable, this is best summed up in the phrase ‘Mad as a March hare’. Although this behaviour is not exclusively male, for the most part it the males of the species that display the most overtly agitated symptoms, of a naturally occurring rise in hormonal levels. Initial periods of weariness lead to increased levels of testosterone, oestrogen and endorphins, this readjustment leads to a subsequent increase in vitality and sexual appetite, in line with the strengthening sun and longer daylight hours.
The boxing displayed by Hares in March can be seen as analogous to the games and competitions, often held in various parts of the world at this time of year, e.g. tug of war, Hurling, egg rolling etc. In terms of the mating season it is a case of to the victor the spoils. As the old adage goes, “In the spring a young mans fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love.” (Tennyson Locksley Hall)

Where does this lead us? For us at SRTB it culminates in sexual union and conception. The festival of Eostre/Ostara is predominately a celebration of female fertility, where the Goddess is impregnated by the God. This first sexual encounter marks a rite of passage, in which both are matured or changed/transformed; it is not the wedding celebration of Beltane, but the union of god and goddess is realised. One has only to contemplate the familiar symbolism of this time e.g  the moon, hares, rabbits, eggs, etc. to see this is a fertility festival. The idea of conception taking place at this time is not restricted to the pagan mythos. Take a moment to consider the parallel between the ‘Feast of the Annunciation’ (FOA) and the conception of the God. In both the light bearer is ‘virgin’, she is made ready to bear the divine child of light and give birth at Midwinter. This is accomplished by purification at Imbolc, for conception to occur at Ostara.

With regards to the land cycle, it is now that we see all around us the evidence of rebirth. The Christian festival of Easter with its theme of rebirth/resurrection, has Jesus (the sacrificial priest king), entering the cave (womb/tomb) and on the third day following his crucifixion he is resurrected. It is interesting from an esoteric point of view that although christian teaching leans towards the resurrection of the physical Jesus, Paul states it is not a resurrection of the physical body. It is instead, a reappearance/transformation into a finer body; he is unrecognisable to many who know him well and has to prove himself.
We invite you to reflect upon the following: This years grain is from the previous years sheaf, however the sheaf that will be harvested from this grain will not be the same sheaf as was harvested the year before.      http://bci.org/prophecy-fulfilled/res.htm

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