hemp seed divination

hemp seed divination
   One of the most-often quoted * love-divination procedures, first described in Mother Bunch's Closet (1685):
   Carry the seed in your apron, and with your right hand throw it over your left shoulder, saying thus - 'Hemp-seed I sow, hemp-seed I sow, And he that must be my true love, Come after me and mow'. And at the ninth time expect to see the figure of him you are to wed, or else hear a bell.
   The process varies little from one account to another, although some say you will see a coffin rather than hear a bell, and it either means 'you won't marry' or 'you will die'. Some versions prescribe *Midsummer's Eve as the proper time to do it, while others say *Christ-mas, *St Mark's Eve, *Halloween, or any night at midnight.
   ■ Aubrey (1686: 95); Folk-Lore Record 1 (1878), 33; Henderson, 1879: 104-5; Denham Tracts, 1895: ii. 278; Folk-Lore 34 (1923), 324.

A Dictionary of English folklore. . 2014.

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