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Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Groundhog Day

It seems like February 2nd is actually a pretty significant day for a lot of cultures. I had no idea. Apparently, the Groundhog day tradition comes from the German tradition of Candlemas. I have always found the groundhog story to be kind of confusing. The tradition is that the groundhog comes out of his burrow on Feb.2nd. If he sees his shadow when he comes out, he goes back in his burrow and we are supposed to have 6 more weeks of winter weather. If it's cloudy and he doesn't see his shadow, then apparently he stays out and we have moderate weather or an early spring. But see, this makes no sense to me! If I was a groundhog and I struggled out of my nice warm safe burrow to check on the weather, and it was nice and sunny, I think I would be inspired to stay out and enjoy it. I would figure we were already enjoying moderate weather and an early spring. On the other hand, if I came out and it was cloudy and overcast- I would figure I should just crawl right back to my hole. And yet it's the reverse???

Maybe it's a question of internal versus external control. Maybe that groundhog is confident enough to figure he has the power to influence the weather. If it's sunny he figures it's too early to be spring and he better get back to sleep as he obviously woke up too early and changed the winter pattern by waking up too early. If he goes out and it's cloudy he figures he better stick around and change the weather pattern to be more in tune with spring. Confident guy that ground hog. I like that. He's probably a "Cerato" type in Bach flower terminology.

Or maybe he just comes out to take advantage of pancakes as for a lot of people Feb. 2nd is pancake day. Apparently this comes from an ancient myth dealing with the solar wheel and round pancakes or doughnuts are a symbol of the sun. To properly observe the tradition, Candlemas pancakes have to be made with wheat flour from the previous harvest. Stacks of them can be prepared without fear of famine, since soon the fields will regain their golden colour. There was even an old saying that held if you ate pancakes on Candlemas, you would be ensured a good harvest in the coming year. I wonder what would happen if there was a pancake ready and waiting for that groundhog?

In my part of the world today, there is no danger that the groundhog will see his shadow. If he does venture out of his burrow he's more likely to get buried in snow or blown away. Then again, maybe he can change this storm around???

A friend of mine sent me a poem today that comes from English and Scottish tradition:

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
A farmer should on Candlemas day
Have half his corn and half his hay
On Candlemas day if thorns hang a drop
You can be sure of a good pea crop

So no matter what the groundhog discovers, I'm just going to wait for transformation in the near future. While I'm waiting, I'm going to enjoy the moment and a good ole snowy storm day!

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