It's Imbolc. Time of reflection and time for hearth and home. We celebrate many things this time of year. For those of us who live in the cold and frozen North, this is the time when we dream of SPRING.
This is when seed catalogs come and folks start dreaming of better weather. It's cold. We want and NEED the sun!
It is the time of cleansing too.Time to cleanse our hearts, our lives, our bodies, our relationships, our homes...
Pagans of the past celebrated Imbolc with a blessing from the Goddess Bridgid. She is a Fire Goddess of Hearth and Home.
She was a women of poetry and poets, a healer and the Goddess of all things related to high and lofty. High rising flames, high towers, highland hills and high and lofty ideas (high intelligence, wisdom, eloquence, poetic eloquence) but mostly she reigns supreme over house and home.
This is the season of Life and Death in an Agrarian culture. This is when herds are culled, when the weakest are eliminated, when the farm communities used to be 1/2 done with winter and 1/2 their hay was gone for their livestock. Farmers (as we who also live in the land of ice and snow) look forward to spring.
How is she related to Pauxatawney Phil you ask?
The groundhog gets all tangled with this because of Celtic traditions celebrating St. Brigid's Day (Feb. 1) and Candlemas, the Catholic St. Brigit (Feb. 2)
Here's an old poem from Celtic tradition:
"As the light grows longer
The cold grows stronger
If Candlemas be fair and bright
Winter will have another flight
If Candlemas be cloud and rain
Winter will be gone and not come again
A farmer should on Candlemas day
Have half his corn and half his hay
On Candlemas day if thorns hang a drop
You can be sure of a good pea crop."
They share almost the same day for a rememberance day."
They used to use Hedgehogs as the prognosticators, to say when spring was on it's way, but when the Pilgrims and travelers came over here to the Americas, they could find no hedgehogs! Only the lowly, fat groundhogs. And so if he sees his shadow (likely) there will be 6 weeks more of winter. If he doesn't (hopeful) we will have an early spring.
We WANT a sleepy groundhog!
We now clean out our houses, hearths and home and dedicate our hearts and minds to doing better, getting to where we need to be, adjusting who we are, who we associate with, what takes up our time and how we will get to where we want to be.
Maybe we will sleep in like the groundhog and let spring come to us.
Maybe we will sweep out our houses and purify our lives and makes some changes and get up early.
Maybe we should all just have a feast and celebrate Brigid and Phil and offer up our prayers to the Gods on the winds of a bonfire, burning slips of paper with what we want to release, and what we want to add.
Hey, it can't hurt....and after all...