Germanic Pagan Holidays - Winter/Spring | Charming the Plow – The Devil & The Dame

Germanic Pagan Holidays - Winter/Spring | Charming the Plow

This is likely not a pagan holiday you know much about, but its the one I, personally, celebrate this time of year alongside Oimelc/Disting. (We'll discuss that one next week.)

Charming the Plow is basically just what it sounds like: thanking the Gods and Goddess for last years' harvest and praying for this coming harvest. Now, the time when this is celebrated varies not only from year to year, but also from country to country. Over here in America, I won't celebrate it with those over in Germany or Sweden and that's because the ground may not be ready to plow at the same time. When you celebrate this particular holiday, it's when you first break ground to plant your crops.

I, practicing also kitchen witchery, will be planting my early spring herbs around this time. However, since I also live in a desert, I'll be doing this a little differently than what I write.

The normal way to celebrate is to bake a cake or bread using last years' grain. Before planting anything, you dig a hole using a shovel or plow that you cleansed and blessed and break off some of the bread and place it in the ground. According to the Old English Christian text, Aecerbot, you also dig a hole in all four corners Though from doing some research, it's where you're going to plow the rows. So you can either dig a hole if you're not planting rows, like myself, or you can use your blessed plow, make the rows, and then continue with the bread. I also read that some return the actual grains. Raise your horn filled with water and toast the Gods then pour the remaining water onto the bread symbolizing coming rains. Bury it and pray.

While many celebrate both Gods and Goddesses, I choose to celebrate just the Goddesses of  harvest and fertility. This is the way I incorporate Oimelc, which I perceive as an older Mother's Day. When I pray, cleanse, and even bake I make small declarations to my patron Goddess, Freyja. However, she is not the normal Goddess for this holiday even though she is the All-Mother. Most people and scholars will say that the cake offerings are mainly given to Nerthus and Gefjon.

As you can see, the knowledge on this holy day is pretty sparse, so the best thing to do would be to research into Nerthus and Gefjon to see how people normally honored them and also to read, read, read. In the end, this can be as simple or extravagant as you like going into even blessing the cattle or farm animals, if you have any. Since we are planning to have chickens soon, I'll likely kill one and add its blood to the hole, then cook it and have it for dinner to complete our ritual. That is definitely a bit of my own take since this is usually the time where you'll start to see chicks and more eggs and I also have it tie into my Freyja worship (eggs). This is also a very easy holiday to bring your kids into. What child doesn't want to dig in the dirt and make mud? Or eat cake?! We usually keep the kids away from any animals we offer and they only know that we're cooking, but my kids are very young, the oldest being five. So I'll let that part be up to the parents because some kids are very sensitive up into adulthood.

Here is some wonderful information on Plow Songs and Plow Plays, though they only date as far back as the 1500's. I'll likely put up a blog with some rewritten for more of a Pagan tune if I find the time.

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