Imbolc was traditionally celebrated as the time of year where people started to think about spring but they were still focused on making it through the harsh winter season. Our ancestors were making offerings during this time in hopes that the remaining provisions from their harvest would last. In a figurative sense, there is still a modern lesson here. Brighid, the Goddess of Imbolc, teaches us to nurture the seeds of healing and new growth before their actual emergence from the dark days of winter. During the final period of Winter’s darkness, we too can celebrate and focus on healing, nurturing, and ways to best care for ourselves while we wait out Winter in hopes of Spring. This article provides eight ideas for how to celebrate Imbolc by John Beckett, a Druid who writes the Under the Ancient Oaks Blog at Patheos. The ideas listed here by John Beckett include making an offering to Brighid, several good book suggestions for reading about Brigid, doing some spring cleaning, and other excellent ideas. Or, how about taking a cleansing ritual bath? Imbolc is also known as a time of purification and cleansing. A great way to celebrate Imbolic is to take a ritual cleansing bath. Each of these ideas is a great way to appreciate this time of year and its ancient traditions. They are a great way to keep your vibrations and energy high during the final dark days of winter.
And yes, Before there was Groundhog Day, there was Imbolic. The tradition of Checking the weather at the beginning of February to determine how long the rest of winter will last — goes way back. It has been tied to Lupercalia, a pagan Roman purification ritual which took place on the 15th of February (in the old Roman calendar). Similar customs were associated with Imbolic. When Imbolic was morphed into Candlemas by the Christians, the predictions now associated with Groundhog Day were carried forth. Even today, traditions in the UK and western Europe are followed indicating that the weather on Candlemas Day can predict when winter will end. I also checked out Snopes.com — the ultimate internet fact checker when it comes to urban legends — to see if there was definitely a connection here. I just wanted to make sure this was not an urban legend. Snopes indicates that there is a link, citing to Don Yoder, a professor of Pennsylvania German folklore, and his book Groundhog Day. The tradition of Groundhog Day does stem from Candlemas and Imbolic. Snopes also quotes this old Scottish proverb:
If Candlemass Day be dry and fair,
The half o’winter’s
to come and mair [more];
If Candlemass Day be wet and foul,
The half of winter’s
[gone] at Yule.
It is even believed that hedgehogs may have been in charge of the weather divination during the British and European versions of this ancient ritual. When European settlers arrived in the eastern United States, Groundhogs were used because hedgehogs are not native to the USA. So there you have it, Bill Murray Did not invent Groundhog Day, after all. Who knew (hehe)?
More Info On Imbolic:
Here is also a link on how to perform an Imbolc ritual and more information on Brighid written by John Beckett. You can also find books on Brighid and these types of rituals in the Tuntrelife Shop. Purchasing one from Amazon is a great way to support Tuntrelife. I