A seed is a mystery. It is both beginning and end, life and death, nothing and everything. A seed sits easily in the palm of the hand, and yet grows into a living structure which can be twice the size of house. It is a single grain, yet it is the source of a thousand grains. It can be stored for many years, and then be stirred into life in days. A seed is the whole universe in a grain of sand.
And so a seed is a rich symbol of the process of living and dying. It is no surprise that the seed is often used in faith traditions to illustrate the spiritual journey, and the moving from one season to another. In the Christian tradition, Jesus often used the imagery of agriculture, the language of the land. He spoke about crops and weeds, good and bad soil, sowing and harvesting. Jesus wisely rooted his teaching in the things people could understand, and he used the symbol of the seed to illustrate a profound message about what it means to be human, and to live a life of the Spirit.
At the harvest, which is celebrated in the Christian festival of Lammas, the crop is gathered in and enjoyed, but the seed from which it came is nowhere to be seen. The seed does its work secretly, and through its death others are given a life-giving gift.
The Pagan season of Lughnasadh also centres around the mysterious and wonderful work of the seed. It is a time for the celebration of the grain harvest when thanks are given to the Harvest Mother - she who is the Seed, the Womb and the Soil. The harvested grain represents both food to sustain us through the coming winter months, and also the promise of hope contained in the seed to be sown in Spring.
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