Today is a cross-quarter day – halfway point between Solstice and Equinox. For those of us who experience snowy and cold climes, this has become a culturally popular day to haul out the sleeping groundhog and based on whether he sees his shadow decide whether winter will keep us in its firm grip or slink away early. But I’m pretty sure very few people realize they’re celebrating a cross-quarter day.
Cross-quarter days have as many different names and celebrations as there are groups of people who honor and follow the seasonal wheel of the year. But many celebrate Imbolc, which is of Celtic origin. It’s named for the onset of ewe’s lactation as the lamb birthing season is about to begin. But it is also associated with the goddess Brigid.
The real celebration of this time is the remembering that the wheel IS turning – that beneath the perhaps frozen ground (and is the case here in Chicago under 18 inches of fresh snow) things are actually stirring. There are noticeable shifts in the light that make a big difference to the winter weary. And while some of us are still deep in our reflecting periods the signals are now starting to be received that invite us to consider it’s time to stop the descend and start slowing moving into the ascending phase. Underground bulbs are awakening, some chemical magic telling them that soon it will be their time to pop up, perhaps poking their tender shoots through a covering of snow.
But not quite yet. There’s still time. This is the period of promise. The reminder. The invitation.
Today I’m celebrating a few things. I’m continuing with my dedication to a steady flow of outgoing love letters because I truly believe the world is a better place when we make a point to tell each other we love them. And so in that spirit I have signed up for a Month of Letters challenge.
I’ll most certainly be sending out some of these wonderful postcards showcasing Katherine Dunn’s art – her “Misfit Mail” postcards which combine her art and photography. I adore Katherine and the wonderful art and life she creates on Apifera Farm. The “misfits” are animals she’s taken on who have been abandoned and neglected, usually elderly with special needs, whom she cares for, amidst all else she has going on in her life. I encourage you to explore her blog, but do check out in particular this page with the ‘Misfits” postcards. Scroll down and look at these fabulous creatures. I’m particularly enamored of the photo of Ophelia and her admonishment to wear more lipstick. And doesn’t that sound like a perfect get-me-through-the-hump-of-winter advice? I’m so inspired to hunt for a new shade to welcome coming Spring.
Today I received an email from a company that’s getting ready to ship out blossoming floral branches, including pussywillow and tulip magnolia. I’m thinking that might be just the gift I want to give myself in this month of Valentines.
What about you? What are you doing to turn your face to sun? We still have 6 weeks of this season left – what magic can you create in that time? And do tell – do you have a fabulous lipstick color to recommend? You know I want to hear.
Lipstick shades? I got nothing for ya. Dads aren’t great at this.
I will turn my face to the sun by getting out in the sun – even if the air is brisk. I’ll leave work on time, so that I can drive home during sunset. I’ll leave for work on time, so I can drive during sunrise. And I won’t condemn the chill, because it won’t be long we wish for a cool breeze to break up the Carolina humidity.
LOL – okay Eli, I’ll give you a pass on the color recommendations. But I do celebrate your sun plans – sunrise and sunset viewing are fabulous things to bookend into your days. Thanks for stopping by – I appreciate the visit.
Happy Cross-Quarter Day! While you all are dreaming for spring, we want to relish what’s left of winter because spring brings the promise of heat following close behind…
Thanks for the wishes! And here’s to more cool for you and more warm for me. 🙂
Well I didn’t know the name of the Cross quarter day but I can tell you I have noticed the shift in the light of the day and the hope of Spring in the air.
Thanks for sharing the wonderful website of Katherine Dunn and her Misfits postcards, I smiled inside!
I always delight in noticing the changes in light – particularly when it’s headed in this direction. 🙂 And I couldn’t agree more – those “Misfits” bring nothing but smiles to my heart.
I am so looking forward to Spring! However you have reminded me of the beauty of Winter so first I will be out getting photos on those beautiful sunny winter days 🙂
Sounds perfect Kama!
I like the idea of half way there- we are thriving. What do I love to do that will help me through? Art, I think I will focus on that. Any way I can make art, grow art and that will bring bright colors to the bleak winter I am experiencing internally and externally from a foot of snow. I think I was in denial about winter, we had a mild one up until now. I will think purples and creating and know that I have 6 weeks to focus on making art.
Sounds wonderful – bring on the color and vibrancy and art, art, art! Maybe you want to show the snow you can jazz it up too and sprinkle a little food coloring all about. 🙂 Wishing you a most fabulous last half of winter.
Ooooh Deborah your posts always inspire me! From the fabulous graphic at the top to the question, “What are you doing to turn your face to the sun?” I am smiling. Today I did InterPlay to turn my face to the sun. We played with Big self, Little self and thresholds how we are stepping out into the world. Grateful for your words today.
That is indeed a wonderful way to turn your face to the sun Christine! Wishing you a fabulous month!
Here in western Oregon, spring has certainly sprung. Imbolc is not just the first hint of spring, but often a bold eyebrow-wag springward, complete with conspiratorial winks. The primroses are leaping from their leaves, the daphne is shooting off scent that makes me swoon, and our skies — usually soft with rain — have been a rollicking blue. Luckily for us, the rain has returned, though. Here’s to wet ground, full wells, and snowpack in the mountains for a well-watered year to come.
Oh goodness Harmony – you have me swooning at the thought of daphne. Right now all I’m smelling outside is snow. 🙂 Hope you get well and deeply watered.
From one whose nose doesn’t know: What does a vast quantity of snow smell like?
LOL. Well “snowy” about sums it up perfectly. But if pressed, I’d say fresh and crisp, with either a hint of powdery-ness or extra slushy moisture. Of course after a day or two fresh is no longer part of the scent signature, and when the shoveled piles are four feet high the scent is just winter dreary. 🙂