The winds of March swirl through a spectrum of spiritual symbolism. From shamrocks and four-leaf clovers, to the spring solstice, Easter and the pagan celebration of the Goddess Ostara, March this year overflows with the opportunity to manifest luck and abundance. Celebrate the coming of spring and enjoy some of these fun facts and trivia.
The Shamrock: a 3-Leaf Clover, is Ireland's most recognized National Symbol. Here are some interesting facts about the Shamrock:
- Before the arrival of the Christians to Ireland the plant was sacred to the Irish Druids because the three leaves formed a triad. The triad was sacred as the triple goddess, as well as the belief in body mind and spirit.
- St. Patrick used the Shamrock leaf to illustrate the mystery of the Holy Trinity: How one God divided into three, The Father, The Son and the Holy Spirit, when preaching Christianity to the Irish people.
- The word shamrock comes from the Irish word seamróg or seamair óg, meaning "little clover".
- The tradition of wearing Shamrocks on Saint Patrick's Day can be traced back to the early 1700s.
- For good luck, it's usually included in the bouquet of an Irish bride, and also in the boutonniere of the groom.
THE MAGIC SHAMROCK
Three is Ireland's magic number. Hence the Shamrock.
Virgin, Mother and Crone.
Love, Valour and Wit.
Faith, Hope and Charity.
Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Numbers played an important role in Celtic symbolism. Three was the most sacred and magical number. It multiplies to nine, which is sacred to the goddess Brigid. Three may have signified totality: past, present and future/behind, before and here/sky, earth and underworld.
Everything good in Ireland comes in threes. The rhythm of story telling in the Irish tradition is based on threefold repetition. This achieves both intensification and exaggeration. Even today in quality pub talk, a raconteur can rarely resist a third adjective, especially if it means stretching a point.
"Three accomplishments well regarded in Ireland: a clever verse, music on the harp, the art of shaving faces."
Which is the True Shamrock? Do you know that there is no such thing as a "Shamrock Plant"? The word shamrock comes from the Irish word "seamrog" meaning "little clover". However, there are hundreds of varieties of clover. The question is...what is the "Original Irish Shamrock"? Here is what some respected authorities have to say:
"White Clover, Trifolium repens forma minus, family Leguminosae, was the original shamrock of Ireland..." Academic American Encyclopedia, Vol. 17, 1990.
"In Ireland, the plant most often referred to as shamrock is the white clover." The World Book Encyclopedia, Vol. 17, 1993.
"Those most commonly called shamrocks are: the white clover, Trifolium repens, a creeping white-flowered perennial..." Collier's Encyclopedia, Vol. 20, 1992.
"The clovers also occupied a position in the cultural life of early peoples. White clover (T. repens L.) in particular was held in high esteem by the early Celts of Wales as a charm against evil spirits. According to Evans (1957), this pagan tradition was continued by early Christian leaders and became the symbol of the Holy Trinity for the Irish people." Clover Science and Technology, N.L. Taylor, 1985.
4-Leaf Clover, Different from the Shamrock But Even Luckier:
- The four leaf clover is a universally accepted symbol of good luck with an age-old origin. According to legend, Eve carried a four leaf clover from the Garden of Eden.
- Druids held the 4 leaf clover in high esteem and considered them a sign of luck. In 1620, Sir John Melton wrote: "If a man walking in the fields finds any four-leaved grass, he shall in a small while after find some good thing.”
- According to Irish folklore, finding a stem of clover with 4 leaves will bring you good luck, but finding a clover stem with more than 4 leaves will not.
- The mystique of the four leaf clover continues today, since finding a real four leaf clover is still a rare occurrence and omen of good luck.
What do the 4 leaves symbolize?
One leaf is for HOPE... The second for FAITH...
The third for LOVE... And the fourth for LUCK!
Suggested reading from Creative Medicine's library:
Irish Witchcraft From An Irish Witch, by Lora O'Brien
Faeries, described and illustrated by Brian Froud and Alan Lee
The Illustrated Encylopedia Of Fairies, by Anna Franklin