Imbolc, St Brigid’s Day, & Groundhog Day – A Cross Quarter Celebration by Any Name

Halfway between Winter Solstice and Spring Equinox and it’s time to party, right? In Thornesworld this means a cleaning of the altar, some Calendula and Swiss Chard that made it through winter as offerings, baking some herb and seed breads and poring over seed catalogues and working on my tree budget. This year shall bring Fruited Mulberry number two, a couple of Hardy Kiwi’s, Apricot, Plum, more Honey Locust and a Black Locust (gotta have more thorns)!

The Celtic Goddess, Brigid, is associated with this holiday (later St. Brigid of Christian lore), and charms and favors can be left at wells or tied to a bush or tree in her honor and to bring good health.

The season’s craft with the grandgirls will include some “wheat” weaving  (traditionally rushes, but we shall be using straw) and we’ll make offerings of milk to the earth and do some wild foraging for seeds to redistribute.

Traditional celebrations include hearth fires and bonfires, (weather permitting) celebrating the lengthening days and returning warmth of the sun.  Candles work if neither of the big fire options are available to you.  It’s also a special time to be aware of signs and omens of the coming season.  Pay attention to the movements of animals and plants in your environment and don’t forget to wish upon a shooting star!

If frost won’t kill it, it’s starting to grow.  Spring is on its way in, but how soon and how badly will the tail-end of winter be? If the Cailleach, (the divine hag of Celtic tradition) is out in the sunshine gathering her firewood, she’s sure to wish for a few more weeks of winter. However, if the weather is foul, she’ll stay snuggled in her warm bed and the cold days and nights shall soon pass.  If you see a bird carrying a stick, gather your own firewood because winter’s going to stay yet awhile. The hag, snakes, birds and badgers and other animals across many cultures have been known to predict weather, which brings us to Groundhog Day, suspiciously close to this cross quarter festival.  This one is really just an animal version of the divine hag.  If the groundhog sees his shadow  (clear, sunny day to gather firewood) we get six more weeks of winter.  If not, (overcast- foul but good sleeping weather) then spring comes soon.

Either way, I’m sowing my seeds in my tiny greenhouse shelf so they’ll be big and strong once the last frost is past and the beds are ready to receive them!  Happy spring dreams to all!

 

Blessed be,

93

In Light and Shadow,

~Thorne  

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One Response to Imbolc, St Brigid’s Day, & Groundhog Day – A Cross Quarter Celebration by Any Name

  1. Rowan (Q) says:

    This is without doubt, my favorite holiday. I love the take on foraging for seeds, and offering milk to the earth. We work with dairy and fires in our home. Talk about the seeds we want to plant for the year. <3 I hope next year you'll show us the grandgirls weavings! <3

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