Scarborough fair - Part 2

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To part 1

The girl has listened to the requests of the young man and replies that he has to find an acre of land between the sea and the strand, to begin with. This indeterminate area can be interpreted as a symbol for the notion of having seen and done everything, with

Is that all there is?

as the only question left, an expression of the yearning for outcome.  

This piece of land must be ploughed with a rams’ horn and subsequently sown with one pepper corn. The status of fullness of experience is not a phase of despair; on the contrary, it is a phase of transition. The person who is experience full can come to the inner realization that this cannot be the final destination of life, because deep in the heart a powerful cry is heard: the imperishable germ of the enduring power of Love. This force always appears to have been the incentive to search, as a result of which the person has finally arrived in the harbour.

The fact that there is a well in Scarborough can be seen as a confirmation of the certainty that the power of the primordial well will never abandon us; it accompanies us continuously.

But activity is expected from us: the rams’ horn represents power, courage, and perseverance. We must plow into the bottom of our own being, into our own heart; the soil has to be loosened for a new seed: just one grain of pepper. A peppercorn causes a burning sensation, and we can see it as a symbol that we are entering into a process; that it is not a matter of ‘turning the switch – ready’; on the contrary, the confrontation with our behaviour causes a fiery purification.

This process sometimes produces painful insights, which we gain when we perceive ourselves from the heart in all sobriety and honesty.

Only with the heart you can see well, says the Little Prince.

Then we see not only aspects of ourselves to be proud of, but also aspects that do not particularly adorn us: greed, mendacity, desire to manipulate, jealousy, aggression, fear, in everyone to varying degrees. Nothing human is alien to us.

This yield of observations must be harvested with a leather sickle and tied up with a bunch of heather: by hand – the leather sickle – that is in a totally new life of action, we must forge a path through our characteristics. These form a barrier between our deepest inner Self – the germ in our hearts – and our outward-facing attention. The bunch of heather stands for the characteristic of the person to dwell in his/her own problems for too long, and sometimes talk too much about them .

Where the heart is full, the mouth is overflowing.

Clinging to what we know, often gives a false sense of security, which obstructs the possibility for a new step. Every person sooner or later encounters this phase within himself, to a greater or lesser extent, and this we may, like everything else, perceive in all sobriety and without judgment.

The harvest of all our insights must be threshed against a wall and not one grain must be lost. This provides a very cryptic but clear indication: if we can muster the sobriety and honesty to see ourselves in all our false certainties and limitations, the walls between our innermost Self and our current personality are systematically broken down, allowing the person to become real again. Thus the person can really become what is in the deepest sense the intention: the person is acting more and more as an instrument, as a sound vessel that lets through what as a fundamental, powerful sound vibrates in the cosmos (which is the original meaning of ‘personare’).

After all this work, ‘he’ gets from ‘her’ his desired cambric shirt, also called ‘the robe without a seam’. And the most beautiful promise to each other is that after all these works they will be each other's true love again: the masculine and the feminine aspects within us once again work together as was intended in the original human being. The suggestion that two aspects of our personality are addressed here is further confirmed by the fact that the boy always speaks of ‘a true love of mine', while the girl speaks of ‘lover’, a word that we associate less with an abstraction or strength (love), but more with one aspect thereof:  the active capacity of the person to act out of the Universal Love Force.

And as a striking thread that links the ideas in these lyrics, the same second line is repeated in each verse:

parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme [1],

four strengthening herbs on the path of liberation away from the temporally bound matter. Parsley is very rich in vitamin C and therefore a ‘survival herb’; the first part of the name contains a reference to petros, the Greek word for rock. Sage, Latin name Salvia, means ‘saviour’, and it should be noted that the English name ‘sage’ corresponds to the French 'sage', meaning wise. Rosemary, Latin name Rosmarinus, is a plant with tonic properties and the name can be traced back etymologically to dew (ros) of the sea (marinus), or to rose of the sea. Thyme is also a tonic herb, especially for the lungs, and through its Latin name Thymus, refers to the thymus gland in our own body, which plays an important role in the inner alchemy that will take place in the pupil on the Path. The last three herbs are all sun herbs, capable of converting large amounts of sunlight into powerful plant juices and oils. Together with the ‘rock-strength’ of parsley, they give strength and courage to go in a new direction, and to persevere in that direction.[2]

The founders of the Spiritual School of the Golden Rosycross, Jan van Rijckenborgh and Catharose de Petri [3], also possessed this knowledge. When a herb garden was set up at the Renova conference centre in Bilthoven (the Netherlands), twelve sections with healing herbs were included where sage, rosemary and thyme, among others, were planted.

The power of a song text such as this lies in the interpretive possibilities that are hidden in it, which grow with the increasing awareness of the reader or listener. We are not left alone with our own personal destiny. Numerous texts on this subject can be found in all languages in the form of tales, sagas and lyrics, which have accompanied humanity in its passage through time, space and matter for centuries. They tell us of love, hope and liberation. When we choose to turn inward to what lies deep within our hearts, we find a tremendous source of power waiting to guide us: Re-member me, make me a member again, a partner in the real meaning of the word,

to one who lives there, for she once was a true love of mine.

When we do so, we are entrusted with tasks that are seemingly impracticable, but are beginning to be accomplished within us in the power of that other one, the Other One within us, on an abstract but essential level, nourished by the one impersonal source of power, which is Love in its essence. When that journey begins, an opening will be created for the true feast to which we all are called sooner or later: the feast of the reunion with the Other One within us, waiting for us like a tiny grain of seed in the depths of our own hearts.

[1]  Why does the song Scarborough Fair say 'Parsley, Sage, Rosemary, and Thyme'?

[2] Infotainment website: When combined, the herbs also have a spiritual symbolism to give lovers strength to endure being separated from each other.

[3] Catharose de Petri, The Living Word, chapter 37 Transfiguration in the time of the end, about the legacy of English culture and chapter 38 The Fire of the Holy Spirit.


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