Today, North Americans’ wait in anticipation for Punxsutawney Phil to appear from his den to see his shadow or not. Currently, Phil saw his shadow and Americans will see six more weeks of winter! Groundhog’s day origin evolves out of Europe. A woolly bear was used instead of a groundhog to predict the near future, weather. The weather was predicted by how wide was the bear’s dark brown strip on his coat. A wide strip predicted a shorter winter while a thin strip predicted a longer winter.
The Charming of the Plough:
‘The Charming of The Plough.’ is an Anglo-Saxon charm and celebrated still today in Sweden and Denmark. ‘The Charming of the Plough,’ dates back into ancient agriculture times, long before the spread of Christianity in Europe.
European cultures would bless the plough for a bountiful harvest. Remember, they didn’t have grocery stores back then. Pagan’s lives revolved around agriculture and they made their food and everyday household products from ‘scratch.’
Imbolc is a Celtic pagan, Wiccan, celebration to honor the Celtic goddess Brighid or Brigid means ‘exalted one.’ She is the goddess mystic/healer that is honored throughout Ireland, ‘Isle of man’ and Scotland. Imbolc celebrates Spring’s imminent restoration from winter.
Brighid oversees the hearth n home. She is the patron of bards and poets, sorcerers, healers and magicians. She is known to have these gifts. Her priestesses honor her with a sacred flame. Later the Christian church that wiped out thousands of pagans, usurped Brighid for St. Brigid which the church did to many other pagan gods and godesses of Europe. Imbloc is still celebrated each year in early February by Wiccans one of their higher sabbats.
Many Catholic Christian churches in Europe celebrate St. Brigid with ‘Candlemass’ which was taken from goddess Brighid’s ‘CandleWheel.’ Brighid’s candlewheel is circular and has candles to honor the Celtic goddess with fire for ‘hearth n home.’
O’ Brighid Gaelic Queen of ‘fire n light,’
Bless this home n hearth tonight!
Welcome Spring’s first warm kiss of light,
Banish, winter’s cold with flight.
+Berger, Pamela (1985). The Goddess Obscured: Transformation of the Grain Protectress from Goddess to Saint. Boston: Beacon Press. pp. 70–73. ISBN 9780807067239.
*Monaghan, Patricia. The Encyclopedia of Celtic Mythology and Folklore. Infobase Publishing, 2004. p. 25
*Photos and illustrations in public domain.