Wednesday, February 01, 2006

February 1: First Day of Spring

In the Celtic calendar, February 1 is the first day of Imbolc (pronounced Imm’ulk), the spring quarter when light starts to brighten the world for longer periods again. We modern folks recognize March 21 as the first day of spring, and it sure feels more like it usually. But I like the hope in this still dark, cold month of preparing for cleaning and clearing out, renewal and new birth.

The Celtic perspective on the seasons and calendar came to my attention in Ireland last summer. The historic and prehistoric Celts attended to cycles of planting and harvest and lunar time. For instance, they would not begin an important project (like a wedding) in the time of a waning moon, believing that the cycles of the moon, sun and stars have an impact on our goings and comings. I want to incorporate this perspective into my own.

Why do this? It sounds sort of cultish and superstitious, yes? Isn’t this associated with druids, witches and earth worship?

Don’t worry, I’m not becoming a witch. We are sometimes afraid of what we don't understand and that we might be associating with darkness and evil. Funny thing about our own calendar with months named after Roman gods and emperors: We don't worry too much that if we still follow this calendar, it means we are pagan in our beliefs!

Why incorporate this perspective? For one thing, I have very little awareness of my own ethnic heritage. I’m a “mutt” with English, Swedish and German lineage (at least). We didn%u2


lesleyanne said...

and it sure does feel like spring is closer than it should!

Don said...

I like the idea of digging for a culture to claim. It seems like the only culture we acquired in our youth was church-related, where meanings were gathered from faithful attendance twice on Sunday and deep ones showed up on Wednesday night to struggle through the concept of intercession. The cultural food was a conglomeration of swedish meatballs, mixed with baked beans and cold fried chicken at the monthly potlucks. I feel nostalgic, but I would be interested in exploring new side dishes!

Ginnie said...

Oh Don! What a riot. I think we all just need to plant another seed of getting together to see your farm during this time of spring. As usual, Ruth, you have your way of bringing this all together!

Ruth said...

Boots/Ginnie: Yes, we'll welcome you to the farm ANYtime.

Don: That new "Silver Spoon" cookbook will come in handy for a try at Italian dishes. I'll see what I can do.

Les: I wonder if February will be as unseasonably warm as January!

rachel said...

i relate to your hunger for history. i want to know more about this family, what it was like growing up with G'ma & G'pa- I want to hear stooories! i recently made a request that people share stories with me at hartville and not one person shared one. wassamatter with people not sharing stories with me?

Ruth said...

Rachel, I wonder if it's because your target seemed to be the grandkids? You asked David specifically, for instance. I think most of the grandkids are in the same boat: not much experience with g'ma and g'pa.

I wondered the same thing, though, why no one responded. Here's an idea: why don't you prime the pump! Email a story about them, and ask for more.

christina said...

What a lovely post, Ruth! I think February 1st is a great day to welcome spring. I love watching the seasons change throughout the year - so miraculous.

I just popped over from Ginnie's BTW.

Ruth said...

Christina, thank you for stopping by! I recognize you from Ginnie's blog.