Groundhog Day Musings

Today is Groundhog’s day. It is a day of superstitious tradition that the extension of winter occurs for six more weeks if the groundhog sees his shadow. For those curious about the history and foundation of the practice, it is connected primarily to ancient Celtic pagan practices. In particular it stems from a festival called Imbolc and is part of the pagan concept of Wheel of the Year. There was a Catholic syncretistic festival known as Candlemas and focused on being the time when Mary presented at temple for purification and when Simeon made his pronouncement. The main themes of both the pagan and Catholic tradition are of purification, initiation, and fire. It is seen as a time of light returning and overcoming darkness. This brief history examination is to really show the shaky foundation of Groundhogs day. As with most superstitious rights, the actual accuracy is poor. The Groundhog Day results have only been accurate about 39 percent of the time. It is interesting to examine why this ritual and superstition is held and remains a part of culture. Groundhogs day is really about looking to an early end to the winter season.

The winter season is generally one of trial. It is a time when darkness is greater than light. It is a time hoping for an end and release to what is seen as suffering and trial. In life, we often look for signs or hope that suffering will come to an end. We hope the course of any trial in life is short, or runs a shorter course. It is a focus on hoping that what is not liked ends quickly. Like winter, trials have a set course, they run only for a season. Granted some seasons last a lifetime, but it is always but a moment. Ultimately, the pain and suffering can be blinding. Pain can be all-consuming and the focus becomes on just quick release. Yet, everything serves a purpose. We all suffer, just as we all face winter. It is just a matter of the differences in perspective. No matter how severe the pain or trial it can be endured and transcended. It is all about focus. It is all about connecting to the true light, Jesus. It is about seeing the pains and suffering in this world from a different perspective. Suffering is not the greatest evil in the world. Our focus on self is. Often how we deal with the trials in our life really illuminate how self-focused we are.

Here is a challenge, face each day as it comes. Each day look to Jesus first and take eyes off the ebbs and flows of the seasons of life and the ongoing turning of time. Life is far more than the empty turning of a wheel found in paganistic views, but rather each day has meaning, even the trials and pain. All true meaning is illuminated in Jesus, who is the light of the world. It is Jesus who redeems the darkness and brings true newness. Jesus is the end and beginning of the true circle of life. He is the one who bring true hope, true peace, and true joy that enables standing in the midst.

One Response

  1. Or move to the desert. hehe Anyway, interesting info on Groundhog Day, didn’t really know where the tradition came from, but I like the movie “Groundhog Day”. :p

    I don’t mind the the gloom here as much as I used to, rain all the time, not a lot of sunshine. I don’t mind winter really, I can see why people used to view winter as a trial, they didn’t have heat like we do or insulation or a sure food supply, it was hard work to survive and I can see how this could be a great spiritual metaphor, but today we have it pretty darn easy, maybe it also says something about the state of mind of an industrialized nation where everything seems easy and the only nuissance is a bit of overcast weather, lol. ::p

    A lot of people also think being in a desert is terrible, except when they are living in a place where there is a cold winter and then they go to Arizona and live for 6months, lol. But seriously, people think of it as dry and dead and often use this as a spiritual analogy, but for me, the desert IS life. Always felt energized, must be the extra sunlight? lol Seriously though, I love desert plants, and animals they are awesome! And to me, they are a lot prettier than the evergreens I stare at everyday, but I think the Northwest is beautiful too, just not my preference. :p

    I also highly agree on your points on suffering and how they highlight our selfishness. 🙂 It is very true, though I am sure there is a lot more to suffering than this, but I wont bother going in to that at the moment. lol Anyway…

    God Bless ~Amy

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