Hidden life beneath the snow and ice… How many of us have seen vole and mouse trails under the snow? They are hidden now, but with a careful eye you might see them when the start to appear as the snow melts. I don’t know what determines how many trails they make. Do you? Some years, there are very few trails, and other years, the snow melts to reveal a Gordian knot of trails and tunnels, enough to tear up the lawn!
The life exists, hidden beneath the snow. Gathering strength, yet hidden in many ways. How long and harsh will this winter be? Can traditions of groundhogs or candles tell us? I recently saw a Pagans personalized Wheel of the Year, and they had Imbolc labelled as “Brightening”, opposite the sacred holiday of “Dimming”. I think these are great names – though the change does start at the Solstices, it’s later that the change begins to be noticeable. These and many other themes join with the making of candles and wintertime celebrations.
The Winter Thermstice is the time of the deepest cold (on average). Last year, our Earth (with an assist from climate change) brought us very deep cold at this time, with the Polar Vortex! Temperatures of 20 below zero F before the windchill, and the special temperature of -40 with the windchill spread over the Midwest here. Negative 40 is special because that’s where the two temperature scales cross, so -40 F = -40 C! Here is my Imbolc altar from last year, with the temperature outside (top temperature of -15 F is on the deck, 2nd one is a little warmer at -14 F down at the lakeshore). Brrrr!!! This year, temperatures are usually withing 8 degrees of freezing (either side), and it’s questionable if the lake can be walked on safely.
Some of the ways many of us are celebrating were published a few weeks ago, and I’m in the process of getting both the candle making supplies and ritual materials ready. My kids (and I!) are looking forward to making snow cream for Imbolc as well. However you are celebrating (including Summmer Thermstice/Lammas celebrations in the Southern Hemisphere), may your be celebration be blessed.