Saturday, 20 April 2013

Be a Willow
Не я б'ю, верба б'є,
Віднині за тиждень
Буде Великдень.
Будь великий, як верба,
А здоровий, як вода,
А багатий, як земля!

The Ukrainian folk calendar is opulently layered with sophisticated, elegant expressions of insight. Encountering the coded messages over the course of a long life gives one ample opportunity to plumb their depths, to meditate upon their ancient meaning.  What were the ancients trying to tell us?  And why? 

Ukrainian prehistory is a deep well of experience, but the wise ones say that "in the fulfillment of time", Ukrainians encountered Christ. Prepared by the ancients to see the cycle of life through nature, logic linked the season of spring to the Christian Easter message. It is a time of renewal, on so many levels.

Signs of hope are everywhere, the snow is melting, the days are longer, the smell of sap begins to run in the trees - these are nature's messages. Palm Sunday, or Pussy Willow Sunday before Christian Easter is an expression of the joyous Entrance of Christ in Jerusalem, festivity ensues! Happy times, cheering, waving of palm leaves (willow branches) - it is good news!

The traditional Ukrainian folk greeting on this day is cheerful, hopeful and happy! The classy simplicity of the words are simply a veil of mystical poetry over a momentous message. Really, prepare for the Day is coming!

Ritual petitions, incantations richly layered with symbolism, carry messages of hope, faith, wisdom and often wry humour in the face of the human condition. All of nature can act like a mirror to the human condition, the cycle of life is everywhere. 

Grow tall like a willow, as healthy as the water, and as rich as the earth!

Grow tall like a willow - doesn't that say something about being tall in character? Isn't the pussy willow the first flower of spring? Isn't the pussy willow the most hopeful blossom in nature? Doesn't the willow extend its reach further, and bend the most willingly? Isn't it the first food for eager bees seeking their first nectar? What does the first nectar of spring taste like to the bees?

Be as healthy as the water - doesn't that sound like a gushing wellspring from which thirsty travellers could benefit? Are we not made mostly of water? Is the gushing wellspring of health nurturing our healthy journey? Clean, pure, healthy water?

Be as rich as the earth - fed by the sun and the rain, bear a plentiful crop, harvest it in the course of a good life, be fruitful and multiply, lead a bountiful existance, prepare for the Day!

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