As we gear up to talk about what has become Groundhog Day, it might be kind of fun to remember where the holiday comes from. In old northern Europe, this was the holiday known as Imbolc, Brigid’s Day, or Candlemas and it was a celebration of the returning of the light.
The day marks the mid-point between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox. These mid-point holidays are known as cross-quarter days, and Imbolc occurs when the Sun reaches 15 degrees of (tropical) Aquarius, halfway between 0 degrees Capricorn and 0 degrees Aries. This year, 2018, it falls on February 3rd.
About now is when most of us in the north are getting a bit tired of shoveling snow, going to bed early, and trying to cram our returning bursts of energy into short days. What the holiday reminds us is that the seeds of spring are planted under the cover of snow; the land is waking up whether we see it or not.
Our bodies know what is happening, and are doing their own versions of waking up. Now is the time to begin to ‘lighten up’ our diets, start getting up a little earlier, drink more water as we begin to shed the heaviness of winter.
We can celebrate the season by lighting candles or taking a walk on the land to look for signs of spring. If nothing else, perhaps the snow is melting or the ice on the ponds thinning.