Tuesday, February 1, 2011

From Imbolc to Groundhog Day

The good news is (yes I said good news),that there seems to be "bad weather" over most of the US, that means that the hag will not be out gathering wood today, and our winter will end shortly! Happy Imbolc~!

However, we have another, more well known prognosticator about to make his predictions for this winter. His name is Punxsutawney Phil. Phil lives a rather pampered life in Pennsylvania, and only has to work one day a year.He and his wife live at the town library with a select group to see to their every need. He can be cranky, and has been known to nip at his assistants when pulled from his warm den....wouldn't you!

Phil's legacy goes back to Europe, most notably Germany where badgers (called sacred bears), were used to predict the weather. (If you think Phil is cranky, can you imagine pulling a badger out of a den?).

Phil will look around and see if he sees his shadow. When he does, he returns to the hole and winter continues.Let's hope Phil doesn't see his shadow.

The Delaware Indians gave the area its' name when they settled there in 1723, having no idea what a circus it would be one day a year in the future. The Delaware did revere the groundhogs and consider them ancestral animals. The name they bestowed on the town however, is not so glamorous it means "town of the sand flies". The history of Phil and company goes back to 1841, yet Phil was just the New World prognosticator.

This Pennsylvania Dutch (German) tradition has its roots in Imbolc (hag with firewood, and groundhog with shadow) and Candlemas. Candlemas was a celebration of the day Jesus was presented to the temple. Depending on the tradition of specific churches, this is a major or minor feast day. This was the day of the redemption of the first born, the day Joseph took the baby Jesus to the temple. Remember, Jesus was a Jewish child and went to the temple, there were no churches yet.

Candlemas in the Middle Ages became a time of spring celebration and having the priests bless the candles so they would last long enough to make it through the remainder of the "darkness". The sun was starting to grace the skies more and more, but the candle supply was running low.

So whether you celebrate Imbolc, or Candlemas. whether you depend on Phil or his Canadian counterpart Wiarton Willie. Whether you celebrate Pagan holidays or just like to watch the fun of Phil on TV, today and tomorrow are the days.

Celebrate tradition, life, and the changing of the seasons. What is your rebirth going to be this year? This spring my life will take on a whole new aspect, I will be married with a new name, and hopefully with a PhD after it. Spring is a time for renewal and growth. Always strive to grow, that is part of why our ancestors had these celebrations.All of these ancient celebrations were about thanking the powers that be for life, and at this time of year, renewal. Celebrate the day, even if it just means going outside and looking for your shadow!

Peshaui Wequashimese

(C)2011 Triple Moon Goddess Gina, May not be used, copied or reproduced without prior written permission.

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