To determine whom their future husbands will be, many young women throughout Europe have used the seeds of the hemp plant in a divinatory ritual that is centuries old. Traditionally performed at the witching hour on either Midsummer Eve or Christmas Eve, hemp divinations (if worked correctly) are said to make the image of one's future husband manifest.
One such method calls for an unmarried girl to walk alone through a garden, field, or churchyard while tossing hemp seeds over her right shoulder and nine times reciting the following magickal rhyme:
"Hemp seed I sow, And hemp seed I hoe, And he to be my one true love, Come follow me, I trow. " A similar version of the hemp seed rhyme is as follows: "I sow hemp seed, Hemp seed I sow, He that is to be my husband, Come after me and mow, Not in his best or Sunday array, But in the clothes he wears every day. " After repeating the rhyme for the ninth time, the girl is then supposed to see a materialization of her husband-to-be standing behind her with a scythe, looking "as substantial as a brass image of Saturn on an old time-piece," according to William Hone's The Year Book (1831). However, she must look at him over her left shoulder, otherwise his image will not be visible to her.
Should the girl be destined for a life of spinsterhood (or at least for the next 12 months, according to some traditions), she will not see the image of a man behind her. Instead, she is likely to hear the sound of a bell either chiming softly or ringing loudly.
In the rare event that she should gaze over her left shoulder and see a coffin, this is said to be an omen of an early death for the girl.
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