Tuesday, February 1, 2011

On A Cold Winter's Day

As I write this, I am awaiting round two of a huge storm system that has its icy tendrils stretched across the greater part of the United States, encompassing the South, Midwest, Northeast and Atlantic coast.  Depending on where you are, you may be seeing rain, freezing rain, sleet or snow.  It is gray and cold outside my window.  The fine sheet of ice that coated everything around me this morning has just melted.  Tonight should bring us freezing rain that will leave us with a quarter to a half inch of ice on all surfaces and will be followed by an inch or so of rain.  I have spent the morning cleaning up my house, doing every bit of laundry, organizing my refrigerator, putting candles here and there, making sure flashlights are within reach, and generally preparing my home and family for whatever may come.  In doing all of this, one simple thought stayed at the forefront of my mind.  Spring is almost here.

Tomorrow is February 2nd, Groundhog Day, Candlemas, Imbolc, the midway point between Winter and Spring.  With the current weather, Mr. Groundhog will come out tomorrow and will not see his shadow because the sun will be hiding behind the rain, snow, ice and clouds.  No shadow means an early Spring.  According to an Old English saying:

“As the light grows longer
The cold grows stronger
If Candlemas be fair and bright
Winter will have another flight
If Candlemas be cloud and rain
Winter will be gone and not come again”

Therefore, it looks like tomorrow, which is Candlemas, will “be cloud and rain and Winter will be gone and not come again”.  Oh, if only that were so.  I hate to be the bearer of bad news but Spring arrives precisely when it means to, in six weeks on the Vernal Equinox.  On the bright side, it’s only six weeks away.

So, here we are, right between Winter and Spring, between rain and snow, between warm air and cold air, waiting.  What now?  I look to Brigid.  In the Catholic tradition, she is a saint and her feast day, a time of purification and blessing, is celebrated today, February 1st.  In Pagan traditions, pre-dating Christianity, Brigid is the Goddess of inspiration and poetry, associated with creativity, home and hearth, and tomorrow, February 2nd, Imbolc, is sacred to her.  In both religions, this a time when candles are prepared and blessed, a time for purification rituals, and a time to let light, warmth and hope into our homes, into our very lives.  This is a wonderful time to clean up and organize your home, to have your home and hearth blessed, to rededicate yourself to your personal spiritual path, to begin new creative projects, or to begin planning your garden for the Spring.  These are all ways of bringing warmth and comfort to our spirits during the cold dark days of Winter and of looking forward to Spring and all of its new possibilities.

Tonight, light a candle to the Brigid of your religious tradition and ask her to bring inspiration, warmth, light, hope and protection to your home and family.  And, think Spring!

1 comment:

  1. I find your words positively inspiring at the end of a long, dark, and cold day. I am lighting my candles, and holding a prayer in my heart to embrace the remainder of winter with as much grace as I can muster.