The Promise of the Light

by: JanF

Sat Feb 02, 2013 at 16:55:59 PM EST



Today marks the midpoint between Winter Solstice and Spring Equinox. Astronomically, it looks like this:

More importantly, it means that the promise of the returning light made at Winter Solstice is being fulfilled.

On December 21, sunrise (near where I live) was 7:15am and sunset was 4:22pm.

Today, February 2nd, sunrise was 7:02am and sunset will be at 5:06pm: a gain of 13 minutes in the morning and 44 minutes at night ... a total of 57 minutes. Over the next two days, we add another 6 minutes making it more than a full hour of additional sunlight since Winter Solstice.

Of course, that is the sciencey stuff. We know that there is more to it than that.  

JanF :: The Promise of the Light
Twice a year, at the solstice holidays, Basement Cat and Ceiling Cat are locked in mortal combat over the Light. At Summer Solstice, Basement Cat prevails and the light starts receding ... gradually at first and then more quickly until the light and dark are equal at the Autumnal Equinox.

The daylight continues shrinking but then ... on Winter Solstice ... ceiling cat prevails!!

Today, as the midpoint between Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox arrives, the memory of basement cat has begun to fade ...

... as light is peeking in from every corner

... from around every doorway

... from above and below us

... popping up where you least expect it

... between every nook and cranny

Until finally, on March 20th, we will have just as much light as dark. I promise!

The promise of the light always reminds me of HylasBrook, a woman who, while no longer physically on this earthly plane, lives in our hearts. Her words:

"I love the wheel of the year - I love how it marks not only the different seasons, but on the 'cross quarter days' one begins to see signs of the season to come."

Imbolc is defined as a cross-quarter day on the wheel of the year, midway between the winter solstice (Yule) and the spring equinox (Ostara). The precise astrological midpoint in the Northern hemisphere is when the sun reaches fifteen degrees of Aquarius. Among Dianic Wiccans, Imbolc (also referred to as "Candlemas") is the traditional time for initiations. In Wicca, Imbolc is commonly associated with the goddess Brigid, and hence the Wiccan Goddess, and as such it is sometimes viewed as a "women's festival".

To all my pagan friends, Blessed Imbolc! And to everyone, may the light find you and bring you the warmth of the early spring and the promise of new beginnings.

(Crossposted from Views from Northcentral Blogistan.)

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Happy Imbolc!! (2.00 / 41)
For those of you who celebrated Imbolc yesterday, this may seem like Groundhogs Day. ;)

Words have meaning. Our words will reflect what is in our souls.


I am so glad to see this. (2.00 / 34)
Yesterday was the feast of St, Brigid, probably a Christianized version of Imbolc. In early Ireland, Brigid was about as poplar as Patrick. I have visited her cathedral in Kildare. According to the Irish Countryman, this is the time when Irish farmers begin to prepare for spring.

Happy Imbolc. I am looking forward to the victory of the light. Let's all tip our glasses to HylasBrook. Some of her kindness lives on in Celeste.


That's right! (2.00 / 32)
You have one of her cats, don't you?

Many pagans consider Brigid one of their own and celebrate her feast day with rituals and candle lighting.


Words have meaning. Our words will reflect what is in our souls.


[ Parent ]
Yes, I have her wonderful pootie, Celeste. (2.00 / 31)
A wonderful rescue group called the Grannies took Celeste after HylasBrook passed. Since I had know HB from the GOS, I just needed a note from my vet, and I was able to adopt Celeste--no adoption fees, nothing. We love her dearly.

[ Parent ]
This was very (2.00 / 33)
enlightening! Thank you!

I saw you refer to imbolc a few times the last few days and had no clue what it meant and was too lazy to use teh google.

Although I heart the more dark than light days, I am a weirdo. ;)


Shake it like a Polaroid picture.


You are just otherly oriented ... but we knew that! ;) (2.00 / 30)
You will notice that I use the Chicago sunrise/sunset chart. I refrained from referring to the times as RPT for the Zonists among us (you know who you are ::cough:: slksfca ::cough::).

I actually enjoy the dark of the morning for working and reading. This time of year, most of the light is being added at night and that suits me fine.

Thanks for waiting until I could explain Imbolc. The Googles will often lead you astray.

Words have meaning. Our words will reflect what is in our souls.


[ Parent ]
I also love the dark of the morning. Have tea (before the coffee). listen (2.00 / 11)
to music,and prepare for daylight.

[ Parent ]
See, (2.00 / 10)
I am telling you I am a weirdo, it is the morning light that I miss!i wish it would get dark at 5pm about 8 months of the year. I'll take the longer daylight in the summer so my veggies can grow. ;)

Shake it like a Polaroid picture.

[ Parent ]
aww who cares!!! (2.00 / 27)
ai gotz mah pootee pad!
Photobucket

ya meen ai getz ta com awtta dis bocks???
Photobucket


No! She can stay in the box until spring! (2.00 / 23)
But she is definitely doing peeking right!!

Words have meaning. Our words will reflect what is in our souls.


[ Parent ]
the box is shrinking!!!! (2.00 / 25)
good sign!!

Photobucket

;-)


[ Parent ]
I must live under a rock, this is all new to me. Thanks for the (2.00 / 25)
enlightening!  Happy Imbolc!  In honor of the occasion, as a Methodist I could make you a casserole!  :)

"Pin your money to your girdle and don't talk to strangers."  My Grandmom's advice when I went away to school.  I don't wear a girdle and have never met a stranger.  Sorry Grandmom!

Pagans love caseroles!! (2.00 / 23)
Many of our feasts include pot lucks.

Words have meaning. Our words will reflect what is in our souls.


[ Parent ]
Hah, Pagans and Methodists have much in common! Bet (2.00 / 21)
we could swap some bodacious recipes :)

"Pin your money to your girdle and don't talk to strangers."  My Grandmom's advice when I went away to school.  I don't wear a girdle and have never met a stranger.  Sorry Grandmom!

[ Parent ]
Here's one (2.00 / 22)
I'm gonna try
Sounds better than mine!

"Pin your money to your girdle and don't talk to strangers."  My Grandmom's advice when I went away to school.  I don't wear a girdle and have never met a stranger.  Sorry Grandmom!

[ Parent ]
Can springtime be far off? (2.00 / 29)
Springtime in Texas Painting

It's 75 and sunny here in Texas today. When I lived in MA and NH, I was very prone to seasonal gloominess with the short days, the cold, the bleak cloudy days, the yucky looking dirty snow. I have to say, living in a warmer sunnier clime has done a lot for my mood ;-)  

I never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to read in the train.


-- Oscar Wilde


Springtime is not far off! (2.00 / 23)
That is the promise. Many of the pagan holidays get their cues from the climate in Great Britain. People in Wisconsin are not seeing the signs of impending spring like they are.  

Words have meaning. Our words will reflect what is in our souls.


[ Parent ]
Going back in time -- just be glad you weren't in Houston (2.00 / 17)
January 1978.  We had an official (NWS) total of real sunlight of 18 minutes!  It was just gloomy and drizzly for the entire month.

"I base most of my fashion sense on whether or not it itches"  -- Gilda Radner

[ Parent ]
There was a summer in the 90s where Southern Ontario (2.00 / 19)
had something like 26 weekends without sun. To the Ontarian mindset - where summer weekends and lake activities give reason for city dwellers to keep eating during the Slush Laden Winter - this is the meteorological equivalent of chinese water torture.  

John Askren - "Never get into a pissing match with a skunk."

[ Parent ]
Jeez, I remember that dreadful month. (1.92 / 12)
To top it off, I had a fifteen-month old at home.

"Do your little bit of good where you are; it is those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world." ~ Desmond Tutu

[ Parent ]
All I know is that I want to play in the dirt in my garden. (2.00 / 27)
>.<

Hurry up Spring!

"When Fascism comes to America, it will come wrapped in teh stupid and waving a gun" ~ Esteev on Wonkette


That sounds like fun. :) (2.00 / 24)
Do you have spring bulbs? This time of year they are moving around, getting ready to delight us with green shoots and and then blooms.

Words have meaning. Our words will reflect what is in our souls.


[ Parent ]
I planted sixty stinkin' bulbs last fall. (2.00 / 25)
Each and every one better show me something in the Spring.  :)

I take teh kittehs outside (Sam has to wear a harness on a long nylon cord) and they hang out and I work.

Today of course I found out I have "creeping charlie" which is apparently darn near impossible to get rid of unless you work really hard at it.  Guess I know what I'll be doing when I'm not at work.

"When Fascism comes to America, it will come wrapped in teh stupid and waving a gun" ~ Esteev on Wonkette


[ Parent ]
I did the same thing a few years ago. (2.00 / 15)
What did I get out of it? Four stinking tulips and one daffodil.

And the fattest squirrels in the Rockies. :)

"Do your little bit of good where you are; it is those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world." ~ Desmond Tutu


[ Parent ]
I did the same thing a few years ago. (2.00 / 9)
What did I get out of it? Four stinking tulips and one daffodil.

And the fattest squirrels in the Rockies. :)

"Do your little bit of good where you are; it is those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world." ~ Desmond Tutu


[ Parent ]
Twins! (1.83 / 12)
My first double post. Can you tell the squirrels pissed me off?

"Do your little bit of good where you are; it is those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world." ~ Desmond Tutu

[ Parent ]
Yeah! You were jabbing at that mouse, weren't you????? (2.00 / 12)


Words have meaning. Our words will reflect what is in our souls.


[ Parent ]
Yes, Ma'am, I poked it twice. :) (2.00 / 10)


"Do your little bit of good where you are; it is those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world." ~ Desmond Tutu

[ Parent ]
I had the same problem (2.00 / 10)
with rabbits. Still do, but not as bad as when we just moved in. This year they destroyed all of my Christmas lights that I had lining my beds. Every single line was chewed through, the little fuckers!

Shake it like a Polaroid picture.

[ Parent ]
Yeah... rabbits... they mow down my tulips nearly every (2.00 / 10)
year and a few of the hosta.  During the winter they've mowed down the lilacs.  Last year I had what was left of some lilacs removed and wagilia and wedding spirea planted and the damned things mowed several of those down too.... They also ate a bit of a branch of an evergreen tree this year as well.  I'm going to have to get the humane society to trap them and take them further out into the country.....  It doesn't help that they're damned cute.

[ Parent ]
ooh bulbs! (2.00 / 13)
What kind? I planted almost 1000 of them when I first dug my garden beds because in most of the areas I just threw them in and put the new plants and dirt right on top. I have only done them one by one in a few spots.

I love my garden the best in the early spring and fall, it looks kind of tired all through summer.

i had a really cool mix that was pink and red tulips, but unfortunately the red ones only came up the first year, and then slowly dissipated and now I get maybe one or two. You can see one lonely one in the far right side of the pic.
Photobucket

I planted these gorgeous white ones that open up almost like peonies, here is a close up. They are called Angelique.

Photobucket

This is a wild tulip, it is really low growing, but the blooms are enormous and are so bright they almost look like they have lights inside of them!
Photobucket

The windflowers I planted that year still come back too, except the junipers that they were in front of have now grown over them. They are very precious though!

Photobucket

I love my garden the best in the early spring(it's so bright and fresh) and fall(very full and vibrant), it looks kind of tired all through summer.

Shake it like a Polaroid picture.


[ Parent ]
Great pictures, kirbybruno. (2.00 / 8)
I have daylillies planted for summer. The Stella de Oro daylillies grow in bunches and there are always some blooming.

This is part of my back planting bed midsummer:

This is what I am waiting for ... crocuses in the front planting beds will be up soon:


Words have meaning. Our words will reflect what is in our souls.


[ Parent ]
Thanks Jan! (2.00 / 7)
I think it is so funny that we have the same color house, our pictures look like they were taken in the same place!!

I have a few crocuses, but the damn rabbits get those right away, grrrrr.

That is quite a clump of day lilies you have there! I never owned any until a member of our garden club sold his property to developers. He had a farm, and on the lot with his home he had hundreds of different day lilies because he collected and even made is own varieties(don't know the proper term).  He had them all cataloged in a photo album, so I chose about 10 different kinds, mostly reds,  and he took to them so I could dig up the clumps. They are gorgeous, the colors are amazing and some are so huge, but most of them don't re-bloom. This was 5 or 6 years ago, and the areas that many of them are in is now shady so they don't even bloom and are teeny tiny clumps, in fact I feel like I am letting him down, he was so concerned that his "babies" went to a good home! I had planned on finding them a new place in the yard last year, but never did. I need to do that this year!

Shake it like a Polaroid picture.


[ Parent ]
I don't like all daylillies. (2.00 / 8)
In my first house, the people who had owned it before I did had orange daylillies in two planting beds. I hated them ... they looked like swamp weeds ... and my first project was digging them out to put in something I liked. Damn, that was hard work!! I actually sweated!! (Don't tell anyone ... it will ruin my online persona).

The Stella da Oro are very easy to grow.

Words have meaning. Our words will reflect what is in our souls.


[ Parent ]
Your secret is safe with me. (2.00 / 8)
:)

Oh yeah, those tall orange ones are very weedy, they grow along the highways in fact!

Shake it like a Polaroid picture.


[ Parent ]
I love Tiger Lillies (2.00 / 5)
the dappling sets off the color wonderfully (and they are hardy).

John Askren - "Never get into a pissing match with a skunk."

[ Parent ]
I have windflowers! I hope. :) (2.00 / 5)
And snowdrops, I think.  I got a box of sixty various bulbs via a school fundraiser.  They are mostly blue or white flowering somethings.  I guess I'll be surprised when they spring up ... or not.  :)

"When Fascism comes to America, it will come wrapped in teh stupid and waving a gun" ~ Esteev on Wonkette

[ Parent ]
And, Punxatawnee Phil says we'll have an early spring. Yes!! (2.00 / 21)


"Pin your money to your girdle and don't talk to strangers."  My Grandmom's advice when I went away to school.  I don't wear a girdle and have never met a stranger.  Sorry Grandmom!

In Wisconsin, we have a groundhog named Jimmy who predicts spring. (2.00 / 21)
He also said "early spring". So that settles it ... break out the shorts!

Words have meaning. Our words will reflect what is in our souls.


[ Parent ]
Flip flops, where the hack are my flip flops?! (2.00 / 18)


"Pin your money to your girdle and don't talk to strangers."  My Grandmom's advice when I went away to school.  I don't wear a girdle and have never met a stranger.  Sorry Grandmom!

[ Parent ]
sunset sam (2.00 / 12)
a guinea pig in utah, also predicted early spring, 'cause there's too much crap in the air for him to see the sunset.  

[ Parent ]
Early spring would be fine. But the weather has been so weird (2.00 / 17)
the past year or so, what if we go straight into August?

"I base most of my fashion sense on whether or not it itches"  -- Gilda Radner

[ Parent ]
RIP, Anne Reuter (2.00 / 24)
HylasBrook was such a special woman; thank you for remembering her today, Jan. Her obituary can be read in her memorial diary: http://www.dailykos.com/story/...

Blessed Imbolc!

"Do your little bit of good where you are; it is those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world." ~ Desmond Tutu


Imbolc will always remind me of her. (2.00 / 23)
She would usually visit my pagan holiday PWB diaries and in one she encouraged me to do the cross-quarters. This diary is an updated version of the diary which I wrote a year ago today keeping my promise to her.

Our connections to those we come in contact with, in cyberspace and in real life, are as real and as enduring as the earth's cycles.



Words have meaning. Our words will reflect what is in our souls.


[ Parent ]
Thank you for linking that diary. (2.00 / 18)


Words have meaning. Our words will reflect what is in our souls.


[ Parent ]
The Princess Pixie (2.00 / 23)
Is looking forward to warmer days. She gets cold easily.

Pixie Undercover photo PixieUndercover.jpg

"A dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world." Oscar Wilde


She looks nice and warm now! (2.00 / 20)


Words have meaning. Our words will reflect what is in our souls.


[ Parent ]
Thank you for the diary: for the cute pooties, the reminder of (2.00 / 22)
the significance of Imbolc, and for remembering HylasBrook today.

I bought a little apple tree this afternoon, not thinking of the significance of the day at the time, but perhaps it was not a coincidence that I felt so strongly compelled to get a little tree today.   :)


It is a perfect day to get a tree! (2.00 / 14)
What could be more hopeful than something new growing and especially a fruit tree?

Those pooties are very cute. Imbolc is a great excuse to post pictures of cute kitties. As if we need one!

Words have meaning. Our words will reflect what is in our souls.


[ Parent ]
Happy Winter Solistice. (2.00 / 17)
B cat v C cat- my, those are some scary looking cats.  

welcome spring (2.00 / 14)
feels like summer here, though. lol

[ Parent ]
As much as I complain about the weather, I could not bear to live where there were no seasons. (2.00 / 16)
Wisconsin has all four, although summer is pretty short.

When the equinox arrives, we will not really be in spring, ours arrives more in April. So all we really get is the light. It will do for now.

Basement Cat versus Ceiling Cat may look fierce but if you give them tooona, they will quickly forget about their dispute. They are pooties, you know. :)

Words have meaning. Our words will reflect what is in our souls.


[ Parent ]
Our son was born on the Summer Solstice in 1995, (2.00 / 16)
our Labrador on winter solstice in 2004 (or do I have that reversed?), and our older daughter a few days from Spring solstice.

So solar orbital mechanics are never far from mind. :~)

John Askren - "Never get into a pissing match with a skunk."


The orbital events work nicely as markers. (2.00 / 15)
Easy to figure out and pretty permanent. ;)

Words have meaning. Our words will reflect what is in our souls.


[ Parent ]
Blessed Imbolc (2.00 / 16)
A holiday of hope. Thanks for the introduction. I have much to learn.  

"Hair on fire complicates the decision of how to deal with the knot in your knickers while clutching your pearls with both hands." ~ wordsinthewind

Great hope! (2.00 / 13)
I hope you have a spring-is-on-the-way pootie pic. Or a groundhog!

Words have meaning. Our words will reflect what is in our souls.


[ Parent ]
A hopefully photo for you. (2.00 / 12)
 photo cattulip.jpg

"Hair on fire complicates the decision of how to deal with the knot in your knickers while clutching your pearls with both hands." ~ wordsinthewind

[ Parent ]
I like reading stuff (2.00 / 17)
that would have gotten me burned at the stake 400 years ago.

We've come a long way and got a long way to go.


Me too, bill d. (2.00 / 14)
There are probably still some places where writing about the pagan holidays can get you burned at the stake. But not as many as 400 years ago. Heck, 400 years ago, I might have been burned at the stake for showing the sun in the middle of the solar system! Now the only place that could happen is the House Science Committee chaired by Rep. Paul Broun.

Words have meaning. Our words will reflect what is in our souls.


[ Parent ]
Having someone say your writings (2.00 / 12)
came straight from the pits of hell would be quite an honor, especially if it came from a sitting United States Congressman. You should submit a copy of this to his office.

[ Parent ]
more light...good news... (2.00 / 17)
I'm tired of complaining about the cold...ready to complain about the heat.

"No disrespect intended, please accept my apology and disregard my previous comments."~GTP

:) (2.00 / 10)
:)

Words have meaning. Our words will reflect what is in our souls.


[ Parent ]
Blessed Imbolc (2.00 / 17)
To all who celebrate.

Today was my grandfather's birthday so it has always been a special day to me. On Wednesday, it will be 40 years since he died. I was 17 and not ready to let him go. I'm not sure I would ever have been.  


Hugs to you, 1864 House. (2.00 / 13)
I was in my 40s when my grandmother died 11 years ago and I know I was not ready to let her go. Some people affect us so profoundly that the dates which remind us of their lives never fail to move us to tears.

Words have meaning. Our words will reflect what is in our souls.


[ Parent ]
Blessed Imbolc (2.00 / 13)
To all who celebrate.

Today was my grandfather's birthday so it has always been a special day to me. On Wednesday, it will be 40 years since he died. I was 17 and not ready to let him go. I'm not sure I would ever have been.  


Have always had/served Basement Cats and like it (2.00 / 11)
best when they prevail. But, do like the dairy!!

Basement cat will prevail again. :) (2.00 / 10)
The nice thing about the wheel of the year is that it is always spinning. You are never so far away from the next thing that you can't see the signs and the promise.  

Words have meaning. Our words will reflect what is in our souls.


[ Parent ]
Make that Candlemas.... (2.00 / 8)


[ Parent ]
Candlemas is another name for the holiday. (2.00 / 10)
I can't get grumpy about any holiday that celebrates with the lighting of candles. :)

Words have meaning. Our words will reflect what is in our souls.


[ Parent ]
Nice article - thanks! NT (2.00 / 10)


"COUNTY OFFICIALS TO TALK RUBBISH"- from 'Anguished English'

Thanks for visiting! NT (2.00 / 5)


Words have meaning. Our words will reflect what is in our souls.


[ Parent ]
Thank you, Jan. (2.00 / 5)
I don't officially "celebrate" most holidays, but they do enrich my year. :-)

There are, in every age, new errors to be rectified, and new prejudices to be opposed. ~Samuel Johnson (1709-1784)

You will probably have to wait until you get your new hip to celebrate most pagan holidays. (2.00 / 7)
There is quite a bit of bonfire leaping and such. Failure to properly clear a bonfire can be very uncomfortable.

But you don't really need to celebrate them to be enriched by them. They mark the changes in the earth and as such you are part of them just by living and breathing.

Words have meaning. Our words will reflect what is in our souls.


[ Parent ]
LOL @ "bonfire leaping"! (2.00 / 5)
That seems so beyond me just now. The incongruity tickles my funny bone. ;-)

...you don't really need to celebrate them to be enriched by them.

That is JUST what I think.

There are, in every age, new errors to be rectified, and new prejudices to be opposed. ~Samuel Johnson (1709-1784)


[ Parent ]
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