Groundhogs, Sheep, and Goddesses

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Happy Imbolc, Happy Groundhog Day, Happy St. Brigid‘s Day!

It’s all about ewe lactation and small creatures poking their noses out of holes.

Sín aduirt sise! 

That’s Irish Gaelic for, “That’s what she said!” I may actually have spelled that wrong in my notes last night, but if you want to say it aloud, you’ll say (approximately) “Shin adirt shisha!”

And I doubt the proverbial she ever said anything about ewes or groundhogs. At least I hope she didn’t.

For Neo-Pagans, today is Imbolc, celebrating the Irish goddess Brighid, goddess of fire, poetry, smithcraft, healing, and new mothers, and the very first signs of spring—including the lactation of the ewes in preparation for the new lambs. Many celebrate the day with crafts related to Brighid, spring cleaning, making Brighid’s crosses, or leaving the brat brid or bratach brid outside for Brighid to bless.

For Catholics, today (okay, yesterday, really, but let’s not split hairs) is the feast of St. Brigid of Kildare, whose eternal flame is still kept by an order in Kildare. She was an early female leader of the Church, is a patron saint of Ireland and the saint who oversees babies, children in bad circumstances, blacksmiths, poets, midwives, dairy-related professions, and a hodgepodge of other people. She’s also associated with a really cool Lake of Beer prayer.

Today is also Groundhog Day, that kooky day when the groundhog pokes his nose and looks for his shadow. For some reason this wee beastie is credited with powers of predicting weather patterns for the next four months.

So celebrate the day, have some cheese, kiss a baby, and raise a glass to small furry animals!

image via Wikipedia

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