It is the mid-point of winter. Imbolc to those whose church dwells in the wild. Candlemas to the Christians. The New Year to the Iroquois, Tibetans and Chinese. Tu Bi-Shevat to the Jews. Goddess festivals of light in honor of Celtic Brigid. And yes, Ground Hog’s Day in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania where as many as 40,000 have gathered to see if Phil will see his shadow, foretelling six more weeks of winter. It is, for me, the emergence from winter’s ebony cloak. My brain perceives the longer days; the sun rests hot upon my flesh. Shadows shorten; become more defined.
My psyche longs for all that is fresh. I skin the bed of covers and sheets. Wash and hang them on the clothesline to dry. I change out candles, replace the one by my bed with fragrant beeswax. It is the once-sacred bees that were worshiped on this special day. The bees who made honey and wax for candles to light the way. The dead were preserved in honey and bees themselves were a symbol of resurrection. The hexagon of the honeycomb was considered an expression of Aphrodite’s spirit as bees were thought to be the souls of priestesses in service to Her Highness. Pythagoreans, meanwhile, reflected on the honeycomb’s continuous sixty-degree triangular lattice, a hexagonal miracle considered to be the underlying symmetry of the cosmos.
This day…Brigid’s day, was dedicated to the Goddess of poetry and healing. Fire and purification festivals were held in her honor as people lit candles and fires brought warmth to the hearth; looked for signs of early spring and acknowledged the increasing power of the Sun.
So I sit, mid-way between winter solstice and spring equinox. The roadrunner cackles, coos and makes throaty sounds beyond descriptive effort. My body is like a maple that feels the return of sap to her veins…sweet life force that rises to the strengthening light. These simple markers live in our cells. Call forth a time when signs of spring and the omens thereof were essential to the cycle of life.
There is no doubt in my body…no hesitation to my spirit…they still are.