Imbolc and the Groundhog Day Theory

So this post is going to be a little scattered. I’m under-caffeinated and freezing my toes off. I’m ready for spring! I’m ready for heat, really. Brrr, it’s been a long cold one, and not in a good way.

For the bulk of the population of North America and possibly Europe, February 2nd is Groundhog Day. If the little bugger sticks his head out of his den and sees his shadow (good weather), it’s another six weeks of winter for us. However, if he comes out and stays out, winter is over and spring is on the way.

Can you imagine being that species, doomed to living down being afraid of their own shadows? The reality is Groundhog Day takes its idea from a much older, more extended tradition; in Ireland, Scotland and Wales folk celebrated this time of year as the return of not only light, but of life. Oh yes, they did look for the hints of animal life as well, and usually around this time the hedgehogs and other small mammals began making their presence known once more…

Surrendering Ritual & Recipes

One of the main reasons I’ve decided to work through a bunch of recipes in the coming weeks is that I’ll be doing a six week long ‘surrender’ ritual – starting late evening on Ostara, and going through until our ritual gathering at Beltaine. Our Surrender ritual involves giving up something for the six weeks prior to a major event: for me, Beltaine will mark my re-dedication to my personal path.

This is, I suppose, similar to Lent, and not the first time I’ve done it. In 1999, when I initiated a student and dedicated to my current path, I gave up red meat for the six weeks prior to Beltaine. I’m not sure I can do that again, although it may be just what the spiritual doctor ordered. If I could get the girls to go with it, it might be a good idea for all of us to go entirely meat-free for these six weeks.

Coffee was a suggestion, as was cola and black tea. Perhaps Artemis could give up candy, and Draco could give up her x-box…. Hmmm.

Surrendering Ritual

42 white birthday candles

Every morning, light one candle and repeat: My lady, I surrender myself to your light. Please help me through this day as I surrender my desire for (insert what you’re giving up). So mote it be.

Let the candle burn half-way, then repeat the ritual in the evening before bed, using ‘night’ instead of ‘day.’

Thoughts are, as always, appreciated!

Meanwhile, we’re trying these recipes out tomorrow, to have for our private Ostara (just the girls and I) on the 19th. While I’ve made Clapshot before, it was a recipe that didn’t have turnip, and so this will be different.


6 med potatoes (red or white)
1 lrg swede (commonly known as rutabaga or yellow turnip)
1 sm onion
2 finely chopped green onions, or
1 tbsp finely chopped fresh chives
salt & pepper to taste

Peel and chop potatoes and swede into same-size pieces, peel and chop onion. Put all into a large pot, cover with boiling water and simmer until soft. Drain.

Mash with milk, butter and season to taste. Serve with pan-fried cabbage, and oven-roasted sausage.

Leftovers can be fried all together for breakfast the next day (Bubble & Squeak)!

Pan-fried Cabbage

1 pound bag pre-shred cabbage (Coleslaw Blend)
1 sm onion, cut in half, sliced thin
2 tbsp butter
small amount of oil

Put oil in bottom of heavy, deep frying pan and heat on medium. Add onion and butter, cook to just tender, add cabbage, cover and reduce heat to low. If necessary, add a small amount of water, remember to stir often.

You’ll know it’s cooked when the shreds are soft, and slightly carmelized. Season to taste.

Serve with pretty much any English meal.

Oven-Roasted Sausage

2 lbs farmer, kielbasa, pork or beef sausage
Bullseye barbeque sauce, HP sauce, or hot mustard

Pre-heat oven to 350*. Cut sausages in half length-wise, set in baking dish flat side down. Bake for 20 minutes, then remove from oven to turn and cover each piece with your choice of sauces. Kielbasa is excellent with hot mustard, bangers (pork sausage) or beef sausages are wonderful with HP sauce and of course, that leaves barbeque sauce for the farmer sausage (aka smoked pork sausage). Return to oven for 15-20 minutes, check often.