The Wheel of the Year is a Celtic solar calendar followed by those who once lived close to the land. It was a way to measure celebration, harvest and the harsh cold time of the year, a way to “read the signs of the wood” and keep track of time by paying attention to the relationship between the Sun and the Earth.
Looking for a reason to celebrate? Thursday is a “cross-quarter” holiday! Groundhog Day is a lot more than it appears. There are ties to the activity of Bears flatulating (yes really) in German forests at this time of year to indicate the forecast of a long or short winter. Staying with tradition but lacking in bears, the groundhog was an apt substitute in North America.
On the Celtic wheel of the year this date is know as Imbolc, the time when ewes start to give milk. Could you imagine the glory of having some sort of fresh sustenance in the coldest time of the year?
Also known as St. Brigid’s and Candlemas, it is a “cross-quarter” holiday meaning it falls between solstice and Equinox.
All cross-quarter holidays are celebrated with Fire! At this time in particular we light the fires to clear stagnant winter energy and celebrate the returning heat and light coming in just 6 weeks – one more turn of the wheel – the “new year” Spring Equinox, usually March 21st or so.
Spring is coming!
On this day, the May pole is one of the aspects used to celebrate the pre-beginning of Summer. In many cultures there are beautiful examples of the coming together of man and woman to create new life. This festival is about celebration and drawing forth abundance. Decorating the may pole is a clear way to celebrate the feminine and masculine aspects coming together. We can see this in India with the yoni lignum statues and the Lakota pipe. When we bring together the pipe stone and the stem, the feminine and masculine pieces we create a new being and that being allows our prayers to travel to the Creator.