We are not human beings having a spiritual experience, we are spiritual beings having a human experience

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Gotta love that Punxsutawney Phil

Whenever I think of Groundhog Day, I can't help but to remember Bill Murray reliving the same Groundhog Day over and over and over again. So how did the groundhog come by this honor? Well, it stems from the ancient belief that hibernating animals were able to predict the arrival of springtime by their emergence. The German immigrants known as the Pennsylvania Dutch brought the tradition to America in the 18th century. They had once regarded the badger as the winter-spring barometer, but the job was evenually reassigned to the groundhog after importing their Candlemas traditions to the United States. Candlemas was a Christian holiday which commemorated the ritual purification of the Virgin Mary 40 days after she gave birth to Jesus.

Candlemas, like Imbolg, is one of the four "cross-quarters" of the year, occurring halfway between the first day of winter and the first day of spring. It was believed that if Candlemas was sunny, the remaining six weeks of winter would be stormy and cold, but if it rained or snowed on Candlemas, the rest of the winter would be mild. If an animal "sees its' own shadow," it must be sunny and therefore more wintery weather is predicted:

"If Candlemas be fair and bright,
 Winter has another flight,
 If Candlemas brings clouds and rain,
 Winter will not come again."

Traditionally, the groundhog is supposed to awaken on February 2nd and come up out of his burrow. If he sees his shadow, he will return to the burrow for six more weeks of winter. If he doesn't see his shadow, he remains outside and starts his year because he knows that spring has arrived early.

In the Untied States, the "official" groundhog lives in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania and his name is "Punxsutawney Phil." Every year, on the morning of February 2nd, Phil is awakened from his den by his fans whose leader is dressed in a tuxedo. Phil then whispers his weather prediction into the leaders' ear who then announces it to the wildly excited crowd. Of course, this is just for show. It is always a fun celebration! The leaders secretly decide upon the forecast in advace of Phil's arousal. As for Phil, he is enjoying a unique celebrity status as the most popular groundhog in the Country. Goddess bless you, Phil!

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