Sunday, March 1, 2015

In Like a Lion

Thinking of the "in like a lion, out like a lamb" phrase that often accompanies the coming of March, I find myself face-to-face with Sekhmet, the Lion Goddess of ancient Egypt. She holds that power of the gut, the instinctual, the intuitive. She is also unburdened by fear when it comes to protective and courageous action.

The phrase itself has an unknown origin, although there are three distinct and different sourcings. The first is clearly weather-related:  an observation of the seasonal pattern that March weather is often unpredictable.

The second is biblical: Jesus is both the sacrificial lamb and the Lion of Judah. Perhaps a bit of a stretch relating it only to the month of March. Particularly since March was not a month in biblical times.

The final is astronomical: At the start of March, the constellation Leo is on the horizon at sunset. By the end of March, the constellation Aries takes its turn on the horizon. This alignment would have nothing to do with any weather changes.

Myths of Sekhmet focus on her ferocity, her strength, to the point of blood-lust, in war. That strength is not long-lived. It comes on quickly, completes its goal, dissipates, and She settles into a dormant state. Much like any house cat sleeping stretched out in the patch of sunlight on a chair. Which is also how many of the roaring storms of March happen ~ a sudden, stunning flash and then it's gone and the sunshine returns.

How has March arrived for you? Lion? or Lamb? What do you believe about proverbs like this one? Which others do you know? Which source do you think started the proverb? Is there another god or goddess who fits the proverb for you?

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