Monday, February 01, 2010

Imbolc and Groundhog Day and Candlemas

Tomorrow is a big day. Not only is it Groundhog Day here in the U.S. but it carries the weight of many belief structures around the world. First of all it is the day halfway between the Winter's Solstice and the Spring Equinox so beginning tomorrow we are on the downhill slide to spring. It is an important day for Pagans who consider it Imbolc or day of Brigid. Brigid is the Celtic goddess of healing, poetry and smith-craft and the Christians later co-opted the day to St. Brigid. The festival is also known as Là Fhèill Brìghde, in Scotland and as Lá Fhéile Bríde in Ireland.

Christians also consider it Candlemas or the day of the Purification of the Virgin. It is 40 days past Christmas and the Torah declares that a woman in unclean for 7 days after giving birth to a man child and must remain "in the blood of her purification" for thirty and three days thereafter. So the 40 days is when Mary could complete her purification and the baby Jesus could be presented to the temple.

All in all a big day for a lot of people and especially groundhogs. Here's hoping that no shadows are seen and that spring comes early.

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