Monday, January 24, 2011

Muse: Imbolc and Groundhogs

February 1st  is Imbolc, Candlemas, St. Brigid’s Day, and others.  It is a cross-quarter day, not assigned any special astrological event such as the equinoxes and solstices (that I know of).  It is one of those holy days that marks the in-between time.  Of course, depending on your tradition, this holiday could be anywhere in the time around
February 1st.  Maybe you celebrate it on the nearest full moon or when the snow drops first appear.  Lupercalia, a Roman festival associated with Imbolc, is somewhere towards the middle of the month.  And of course, Anthesteria is around the same time.

And, of course, we here in the US can’t forget that February 2nd is Groundhogs Day.  If the groundhog sees his shadow and hides when he comes out, it heralds six more weeks of winter.  If he doesn’t and just hangs out, then spring will come soon. 

Imbolc is a time of getting ready for what is to come.  Traditionally it would be the time for farmers to move their cows and ready their fields for the spring thaw.  For me, I consider it a time to finally wake up from the winter.  The earth has been sleeping, and we have been taking stock of what remains and preparing in darkness, now the candles are lit and the sun is awake longer and longer, we get ready to move and shake about the warming earth. 

Imbolc is my new year.  I get excited for what is to come when the snow finally disappears.  A lot of years, I over estimate what I will be doing, thinking I’ll go camping every weekend or do this or that.  This year I will keep in my word of Action and make plans that are feasible and include the things I want to do.

Do you have plans for Imbolc?  Do you watch the groundhog peeking out of his home?  If neither, what symbols do you associate with this time of year? 


  1. I will celebrate Imbolc with a local druid grove who honors the Gaulish aspect of Bridgit. To be honest, I have tried for years to have a connection to her and there is nothing. Its a nice rite and I'll enjoy the community.

    Personally, it is about the returning of the light and time for inner reflection to prepare to lay the seeds for spring, as my wheel of the year will shift in the Summer. I will celebrate Anthesteria later in the month.

  2. I used to honor Her, but it just didn't work out.

    I like your idea about laying the seeds for spring. That is a great way of saying what it means to me too.

  3. The laying seeds really helps me, as this is the second half of my wheel of the year. I follow the ancient Athenian lunar cycle and my year starts around Midsummer. Its a great time for reflection on what I want to accomplish in this part of the year.

    Last night I wrote out my 12 month libation schedule, and am researching the remaining correspondences to finish up this weekend. This seed being to be better about my devotions.


  4. That's fantastic! That is the same sort of thing I'm trying to do right now

    Good luck!

  5. Wow...I'm not the only one in this world who takes Imbolc as the new year!

    To me, Imbolc is the most personal and spiritually sacred of the festivals. On the night of February 1 I consecrate my New Year's resolutions and enter into deep prayer and meditation by candlelight. In particular, I focus on things about myself - my habits, attitudes, outlooks, whatever - that I wish to change for the better, and ask the Higher Powers to guide my spirit in that direction. Also, the night of February 1 I turn on the outdoor winter holiday lights one last time and leave them on the entire night!

    Then on February 2 - Groundhog Day - begins the spring cleaning, as well as putting my resolutions into action.