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.