Groundhog Day is here!
In ancient days it was known as Imbolc and the “reason for the season” was much more purposeful and spiritual.
Imbolc is a pagan holiday celebrated from February 1 through sundown February 2. Based on a Celtic tradition, Imbolc was meant to mark the halfway point between winter solstice and the spring equinox. (History.com)
Ancient holidays served a real purpose. They gave direction on how to live and survive; when to plant, when to harvest; when to work, when to rest.
They also held spiritual purpose. They created community ceremony by honoring their creators and showing gratitude for their blessings.
Author Patti Wigington says, “By February, most of us are tired of the cold, snowy season. Imbolc reminds us that spring is coming soon, and that we only have a few more weeks of winter to go. The sun gets a little brighter, the earth gets a little warmer, and we know that life is quickening within the soil… Imbolc is a time of magical energy related to the feminine aspect of the goddess, of new beginnings, and of fire.” ( All About Imbolc, LearnReligions.com )
I have a wonderful friend who has been teaching me about the ancient Celtic ceremonies and she shared something new (for me) about Imbolc:
What I learned was that Groundhog Day isn’t supposed to be about watching a cage-kept marmot being traumatized by men in top hats in front of the media who consider it newsworthy to watch him “see his shadow” or not. I know, the kids love it.
We’re supposed to be deciding if we need to gather more wood for the longer winter, or whether we should be gathering our seeds to start for spring planting. If it’s a sunny day (and therefore we create a shadow) then we need a lot more firewood!
You might think there are not so many folks left who rely on firewood to heat their homes. In West Virginia, where I live, I know that there are quite a lot of people who still burn firewood for survival.
Interesting to note, we also proudly claim one of the big Groundhog Day stars, French Creek Freddie. The people in my area understand what it means when Freddie sees his shadow. It means more of the freezing white stuff.
That probably isn’t true for those in cities and towns away from the country where people have no need to chop firewood or plant gardens. The old pagan rituals have been replaced by other religious ceremony and things like The Farmer’s Almanac may make Imbolc and other seasonal holidays seem no longer useful to the modern world.
I believe, though, that there is a real spiritual gift to be found in this ancient holiday turned groundhog love fest that can be useful for pagans and non pagans alike.
Imbolc spiritual wisdom includes reawakening (from winter hibernation), the stirring of inspiration and passion, and the awareness of change/transformation that is occurring under the surface. These are all terms we use in spiritual growth and healing.
The story my friend shared about the goddess gathering her wood struck me on a spiritual level. Gathering wood to prepare for the cold days ahead is hugely spiritual! Gathering our spiritual tools to prepare for the stress, struggle, and harsh “winter” days that may lie ahead for us. Winter is a symbol for negative thoughts, limiting beliefs, and feeling stuck.
And then I noticed a moment of synchronicity was happening. I shared the card below yesterday on all my social media. I drew it for the energy we need to focus on in February when I did my 12-month drawing last month.
This card is all about preparing your inner strength so you can be resilient and live with love and compassion even when struggle happens. It’s about making sure you have enough firewood for the winter!
Synchronicity happens and it means we need to hear this message from the universe/ the goddess/ the divine creator.
Gather your firewood so you are prepared for the snowstorm ahead!
Build your spiritual strength so you are prepared for the stress and struggle ahead!
This Imbolc spend some time thinking about the “winter” going on in your life. Do you have areas where you’ve been avoiding or things you’ve left to hibernate that are beginning to stir? Do you have the firewood and inner strength you need to allow you to be resilient?
I must note on this Imbolc, the year 2020 was, spiritually speaking, a really long winter and we are all wondering if things this year are leading us to the end of this covid hibernation. Are we ready to reawaken or do we need to chop a bit more firewood and be a little more patient? I think the goddess is telling us to settle in and keep warm for a little bit longer.
I wonder what the groundhog thinks?
Blessed Imbolc and Happy Groundhogs Day!
P.S. Thanks Hollie for sharing all your witchy wisdom with me!
Did you know you can send a letter to Dr. Genie for advice? Visit her Dear Genie Advice Blog to submit your letter!