In Like a Lion: the month of March in Appalachian Folklore

Growing up, we all looked dreaded the month of March, mostly for how it could come in. Mama always said that March “came in like a lion, it’ll leave like a lamb,” or vice versa, meaning if it comes in with bad weather roaring “like a lion” then it would end with sunny, good weather, peaceful “like a lamb.”

March’s unpredictability didn’t stop with the weather however. Historically, it has been called a month of bad luck for many things such as cutting your hair (it’s said it’ll all fall out if you do or you’ll have headaches the rest of the year), getting married, making business plans or signing contracts and so on.

March in Appalachian Folklore seems to leave a trail of healing and havoc in its wake. It’s attitude all depends on your own! There’s many remedies for things that are prescribed to be done in the month of March. An old “remedy” to get rid of cockroaches was to catch one and put it in an envelope. With this envelope swat/kill as many as you can and then take that envelope to a crossroads. Drench it with moonshine, bury and leave it there. It’s said the others will follow suit.

On the other hand, March is excellent for working against enemies or those folks who just can’t let go of the thought of you. To bring your enemies bad luck or ruin, take up one cup of salt and mix it with rain water from a March storm. Place this on to boil while yelling their name nine times. Take a photo of them and pierce it with three new sewing needles, pin them so they encircle the face, points inward. Boil half the water off. Take the photo and place it in a hole in the dirt, pour the boiling water on the photo while saying your curse. Leave without looking back.

Aside from the bad, March has its good sides as well. Snow that had fallen in the month of March is a good wash for sore eyes. Keep the water in an earthen croc and apply the water with a feather. Best if the feather comes from a hen that hasn’t laid eggs before. Another remedy was using stump water in March to wash your hair to make it grow good that year or to wash away freckles. So go wash your hair or bath your eyes in it if you have these issues!

Because of its “weather stirring” tendencies, the weather of March effects the rest of the year as you can see by the following old sayings:

“As it rains it March, it’ll rain in June.”

“March winds and April showers, both bring May flowers.”

“A dry March and a wet May fills the barn with heaps of hay.”

For those who haven’t heard, the preview of my book Backwoods Witchcraft: Conjure & Folk Magic from Appalachia is up now! Go check it out here.

My “earthen pot” ceramics bottle I found in the woods; I store my “lamb” water in it.

Other photo found on Pinterest.

Author: Jake Richards

Jake (Dr. Henny) follows family practice as a Yarb Doctor and Conjure man in the Appalachian Folk Magic tradition. He follows the legacy of his mother (a seventh daughter), that left behind by his grandfather, a baptist preacher who was a blood stopper, wort doctor, and thrush doctor; his grandmother, who was a knowledgeable woman in these works before Alzheimer’s set in; his great, great grandfather who witched for water in Washington County and his great grandmother who taught and worked from her roost at the foot of Devil’s Nest Mountain. Jake is the author of Backwoods Witchcraft: Conjure & Folk Magic from Appalachia, available for preorder on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Indiebound. When he's not writing, blogging, reading the bones or trying for clients: he is either traveling, gardening, sewing, book binding, reading, or sculpting. For questions, readings, recommendations for future posts, interviews and the like, you are welcome to email him below:

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